Monday, December 19, 2011

Crimson Wind (Horngate Witches, #2) by Diana Pharaoh Francis

     "A war for what? About what?"
     "Magic--the very existence of it. Once it was everywhere--like the wind and rain. But then humans came along and started finding ways to kill it. Bit by bit it has disappeared. Many Uncanny and Divine creatures have died off or hidden themselves deep underground or inside magical pocket realms. The way things are going all magic is going to disappear forever. The Guardians have decided that they will not allow this."
     "The Guardians? As in mythical gods?" Max asked in disbelief. They were the bogeyman stories of Loch Ness monsters--constantly seen but never existed. 
     "They are not mythical, and no one is all that sure that they are gods, either."...
     "To prevent the destruction of all magic," Giselle continued, ignoring Max's barb, "the Guardians will raise armies. They will unleash a maelstrom of magic so that the earth itself strikes against humanity. They mean to slaughter most of the people and let magic return to the world. (From 'Bitter Night' - Horngate Witches #1; pages 75 - 76)

In 'Bitter Night', Max was warned by a Hag that war was coming, and Giselle confirmed and clarified the vague warning. In 'Crimson Wind', the war comes into full force and the race is on to save Max's real family (with Giselle's blessing). She's going home for the first time in over thirty years. She's both excited to see her family again and nervous as to how they'll handle her return. For years she stayed away from them to protect them from the world she lives in. For she'd never wish this life on anyone, not even herself.  But right before setting out on rescue mission, Magpie gives the following ominous prediction to Alexander, "The amulet is coming to you. It will give you your heart's desire. You will be Prime." While Alexander knows what amulet Magpie is referring to, he fears that it means Max won't survive the rescue because he vows to never take the position of Prime from her.

In 'Crimson Wind', the second of the Horngate series, Max and Alexander get closer. Alexander reveals his feelings for Max, and with all that is going on, Max really doesn't have time to analyze her feelings. She knows she's attracted to him, but she has no idea what her future with Scooter, the godlike creature Giselle had "gifted" her to, will hold.

We finally get to meet Max's family. When she disappeared from college over thirty years ago it was thought she'd been the victim of a serial killer. Once she'd been made into a Shadowblade, Giselle threatened to kill her family if she made contact with them. Now that magic is out of the bag, so to speak, Giselle has agreed to allow Max's family sanctuary at Horngate. 

With the Magic war going into full force, it appears to be the end of the world as we know it. Lives will be lost as well as saved, just as the Hag predicted. Max will learn things about her family she didn't know and, while attempting to save her family, pick up some additional strays. This seems to be a habit with Max.

Why is the book entitled Crimson Wind? I believe it has to do with this verse, "They'd have to run for the coast and hope they got there before the crimson wind trapped them in the valley." The crimson wind was basically wild magic unleashed by guardians upon the world.

I gave this one 4 out of 5 roses. I am enjoying the sexual tension between Alexander and Max.
Order of series:

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