The Final Days of Magic is my last shot at the New Orleans Witches series. And I’ve discovered that none of the characters matter very much to me. Even if author J.D. Horn writes another book in the series, I won’t be following along. I’m disappointed to be leaving the series feeling this way. But, so it is.
The Marin family of witches is a hot mess. Nicholas is a control freak, and his sister Fleur comes back to New Orleans to get her life together after splitting with her D.C.-based husband. The newer generation isn’t much better. Alice is back from being held captive in both physical and metaphysical locations. Lucy is teenager extraordinaire, who manipulates Fleur every chance she gets.
The crux of the story remains the same as the first two books. Magic is dying among the covens of New Orleans. Nicholas seems poised to stop at nothing to bring it back. And, of course, install himself as King of the Witches.
Alongside the Marins, we have Evangeline Caissy, another witch who was previously in a relationship with Nicholas. She owns a now-iconic business in the French Quarter, a club with exotic dancers and plenty of tourists. But her new relationship is tainted by her long-dead love, Luc Marin. And she’s exploring her relationship with another coven of sorts. It’s comprised of her dead mother and aunts, who inhabited this world in the guise of giant crow-like birds.
Next we have the Perrault family, especially Lisette and Manon. They have family connections to voodoo, and are trying to put their lives back together again after some tragedies in the second book.
Our last main character is my favorite, Nathalie Boudreau, who is a chauffeur and psychic. She’s involved with everyone above, but also reconnecting with her family of origin North of the city. I liked her burgeoning relationship with Alice, and also her struggle to manage her abilities.
Look at that, it takes so many paragraphs just to explain the main characters. I hardly have space to discuss the plot, which basically just comes down to witchy power struggles. The variety of characters means the story has tentacles all over the place. Honestly, it’s hard to keep track even after three books with these folks.
And, while I liked Evangeline, Nathalie, and Lisette, I didn’t appreciate the male characters at all. And no one gets enough time for me to truly fall in love with their story. It all just felt fractured to me.
Magic is also a central character and plot driver. The question is whether its dark or light side is going to dominate New Orleans. Different characters attempt to push it where they prefer. And magic is having none of that. Instead, it prefers to be in control.
For the first half of the book, I thought Horn was turning story-arc tradition on its head. Of the three books, the craziest, most spectacular event seemed to live in the first book. Authors usually hold the wildest wildness for a later book. And then I realized I spoke too soon. Horn pulls out all the crazy stops for his ending in The Final Days of Magic. Wowza!
Still, I much prefer his Witching Savannah series. The Witches of New Orleans books are all just so-so for me.
Many thanks to NetGalley, 47North, and the author for a free digital ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.