Finally, it is here! We celebrated its fine cover reveal weeks ago on the blog and now the book is officially released. So prepare to be allured.
Allure is the second installment of Lea Nolan's The Hoodoo Apprentice series following Conjure, packing much adventure, dark magic and suspense to enthrall fans and readers alike. Emma and Cooper are now together but the summer isn't yet over. Trouble is still brewing and is starting to pick up like an impending storm in St. Helena Island. Cooper's sixteenth birthday is fast approaching and before the Beaumont Curse engulfs him, Emma, with the help of Miss Delia, an old hoodoo lady practitioner and her twin brother Jack, is doing all she can to break the jinx before Cooper changes and morphs into something else, a soulless person.
On top of that, visitors descend into the island and are wreaking havoc on Emma's already crazy summer in the form of a suspicious detective of hidden force to pull some strings and an ill-mannered great-granddaughter who's got no qualms of stealing her boyfriend's attention. Already, Cooper is starting to turn distant and cold to her. But she isn't one to let go if she can help it.
Reading straight to this sequel and skipping the first book altogether allowed me to chuck down the whole starting-to-get-together arc and plunged right to the meat. Emma and Cooper are enjoying their time as a couple, and naturally, what comes next on the ladder is putting their relationship to the test and all the angst that goes with it. Though part of a series, Lea Nolan was able to tell an engaging story at the forefront while keeping the hidden cards in a slow reveal that is connected, perhaps, to a bigger story that's behind the rest of the series.
Told in Emma's point of view, it gives us a glimpse of a clever and courageous young woman still edging her way into place. She's almost a typical teenager with her insecurities and impatience (the type to have the smarts in class but isn't given second glances by boys, unless you look closely) except she's an apprentice of hoodoo magic for a while now under Miss Delia. Spending the summer with their father, the caretaker in High Point Bluff, a family estate owned by Cooper's family, they are caught in yet another whirlwind of dark forces and in the center of it is the secret of the evil curse that befell all Beaumont men for hundreds of years.
Nolan sets the mood of a South Carolina Lowcountry summer permeating the pages with Miss Delia's fragrant garden straight out of an Impressionist painting, a bottle tree, a plantation with an overgrown neglected family cemetery, and a grand kitchen that looks like an apothecary shop. It got me pretty interested the way hoodoo works. I know there's a slew of young adult books out there relating to magic and power but I like that in The Hoodoo Apprentice series, it's not about having an uncontrollable power outright summoned with but one gesture of a hand, but sort of an arcane art one must study diligently to master, keeping a vast knowledge of working with herbs, flowers and other natural things as well as invoking the help of the elements and the body's energy.
The stance of mild interest I've taken on the first half of the book was replaced by a stronger anticipation by the latter half, trying to work out the mystery in my mind. It delivered for me that way.
Apart from the unnatural flow of reactions that doesn't add up or follow through on a couple of scenes, like a supposedly sense of urgency that isn't there at all, it doesn't make the book less entertaining. While some twists are fairly predictable to my overactive grown mind, the young adults will enjoy tying up the threads on their own, stumbling along with Emma as she tries to make sense of the forces converging around her, to pin down her hunches based on her spirit guide, and to learn a few lessons; to not take shortcuts, to revere the natural balance of life, to know the power of pure love. While a few things remain unresolved, it is nice to see that it ended up with a note of certainty.
Here, I could say, I cannot wait for the next book!
Worst. Summer. Ever.
Emma Guthrie races to learn the hoodoo magic needed to break The Beaumont Curse before her marked boyfriend Cooper's sixteenth birthday. But deep in the South Carolina Lowcountry, dark, mysterious forces encroach, conspiring to separate Emma and Cooper forever. When Cooper starts to change, turning cold and indifferent, Emma discovers that both his heart and body are marked for possession by competing but equally powerful adversaries.
Desperate to save him, Emma and her twin brother, Jack, risk their lives to uncover the source of the black magic that has allured Cooper and holds him in its grip. Face with the horror of a soul-eating boohag, Emma and Jack must fight to resist its fiendish power to free Cooper long enough to join their strengths and face it together, before it destroys them all.
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Allure, The Hoodoo Apprentice #2 by Lea Nolan releases on October 1, 2013 from Entangled Teen.
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