My review contains spoilers and they're are mostly my thoughts as I went with the book...
The Water Witch for me, was a bit disappointing. Romance was still quite lacking and Callie was pretty clumsy throughout the story, missing obvious clues about things and being attracted to whichever guy made a move on her. I still couldn’t connect to her. But the story overall was enthralling as usual. JD kept me hooked till the end, because now I just need to know what’s gonna happen next!
If you haven’t read Demon Lover, you should since this series is very intertwined and you’d probably feel lost not knowing what happened to Callie and how she has found herself in the midst of all these supernatural hullaballoo.
In a short recap: Callie always was attracted to the lore and mythologies, and she thought it was only because her now deceased parents made her addicted to fairy tales and other stories. She even dreamt of a Prince charming, not knowing that prince charming was actually an Incubus. As Callie grew up, she never felt that she can love anyone. Then, she graduated doing a paper on the sex lives of Demon Lovers. In reality, Callie was having nightly visits from an Incubus which would leave her... umm, let’s just say that in the morning, she felt as if she’s had real sex. Later, Callie takes up teaching at the small town of Fairwick, at their college. There she finds one trouble after another; all are supernatural kinds. But she also gains some supernatural friends; Dean of the college, Ms. Book (a witch), her partner Diana, the owner of Hart Brake Inn (a deer fairy), Soheila Lily, a professor at the college who is also a succubae but doesn’t feed on human anymore and Franck Delmarco, who is a professor too, and later we learn, also a witch. There is Brock, her handyman, an ancient Norse divinity and his brothers. There are more supernatural creatures, such as some vampires, more witches and fey, even a lederc! She met Fairy Queen (whom I called The Queen B*tch for her rude and snotty behavior), Fiona Eldritch. This queen is the one who took the Incubus from the realm of human to the Fairy. Callie gradually learns of her inheritance; her mother being a witch and father, a fey. Her blood is considered tainted by some uppity witches since these two races aren’t supposed to intermarry. Anyway, all of them are ancient beings, have been on earth almost since the beginning of... everything. Callie gets to learn that she’s a doorkeeper to the Fairy and Human world and that, the house she bought so impulsively, the Honeysuckle House, and its honeysuckle thickets is the last remaining door. The house enchanted and attracted Callie since the beginning. She got to learn more about the Incubus and the fact that he is obsessed with her. He simply wants her to love him back because he loves her already… if only she’d love him back, he can become human again.
But Callie couldn’t. She tried to banish him once, but that didn’t work out. Callie wants more and the Incubus is determined to win her. He returns later as a professor of poetry, an adorable man in my estimation, Liam. He thought this way he can win her. They even struck up an affair as soon as Callie’s long-term relationship ends. I didn’t like Callie for many reasons in the first book. One definitely was her inability to love Liam back. Call me crazy, and knowing that a human and Incubus love doesn’t have any middle ground (either love back or die since he’d suck up your essence), I still wanted her to love him. Liam was sweet and super sexy, as was the Incubus. Even though I guessed, Callie had no clue to that. And when the students of the college became ill, and she found out the Incubus was back, Callie blames him for it and becomes determined to banish him to the Borderlands. It was just horrible for me to read. I cried for Liam, and his pain, even though everyone kept telling Callie that he knows how to manipulate his victims for his own gains. There were other mysteries; some of it was solved, some obviously wasn’t and we’re left with a cliffhanger. But the Incubus does save Callie from certain death at the end, proving his love (or obsession) for her.
This story, told from Callie’s POV again, picks up 4 months after Liam’s banishment. Callie is missing Liam but trying to move on too. One day, he’s back in her dreams. He always told Callie that only because she wanted, is why he could take up a human form. And now, in the dream, he tempts her; she can have him back, only she has to will it to be so. Callie is ever in confusion about her feelings that at times it just grated on my nerves. After everything, she still doesn’t know what to do. Super hot Incubus sex is all good, but love? *crickets*
The Water Witch starts with Callie, Dean Book, Diana and Soheila going for a rescue effort through the woods of Honeysuckle House. Being a doorkeeper, only Callie can open and close things and there are some young undines in the river Undine who need to be saved. Now, Undines lay eggs that hatch in every 100 yrs. Due to the dwindling undine male population, they need human male to accomplish the fertilization process (yes they can have sex like human female though don’t ask me about the process, since I don’t know and don’t want to know lol). So when it’s mating time, some undine female venture towards human world. One such occurrence happened 100 yrs ago, when a fisherman fell in love with an undine. They married and later, she laid some eggs that hatched recently to young undine females (there are mostly females). Of course, Dean Book, Soheila and other supernatural peeps know about this incident, but not the normal humans of the town. Now they need Callie to lead them to the Fairy world for their survival.
Callie agrees to this because she knew it’s her job and she’s eager to do it. But, she’s so new into it all, it was equal to a journey unknown. Also, it came as a surprise that there is another door to the fairy. I’m still a bit confused about this watery door since it was said there was only one remaining door. Anyway, I liked the way JD portrayed the undines, so vulnerable and trusting, as one of the ladies said that they don’t possess a mind of their own. They copy you like a kid. When Callie is led to the place where she can do her job and open the portal through the water, one of the undines yanks her into the water. Callie is scared but soon she finds she can breathe like them. The undines take her as something akin to a foster mother and start following her blindly. Callie’s instincts lead her to the Fairy after battling with darkness and some creepy things on the way… Trust Liam to come to her rescue, yet again. When they’re finally in the Fairy, Callie finds that she had bound Liam to this watery grave. She dreamt of water and drowning, feeling that this must’ve what Liam is feeling there. As the undines run into the green meadows of the beautiful Fairy land (and forgetting Callie altogether), Callie finds Liam. His suffering and the bruises his bracelets gave him makes her sad. She unlocks the the bracelets for Liam (or did he manipulate her?) because Callie kept the keys with her on a chain.
Afterwards, they meet some of the occupants there; mostly undines that came to greet the new arrivals. One thing that caught Callie was that some aged looking undines finding back their coloring and youth by touching the new ones. Liam explains, it’s all due to Aelvesgold, a kind of fairy mana that is addictive, can give you great strength, youth, beauty but can also be quite bad like any drug. Every supernatural being feed on Aelvesgold. Since the undine eggs are laid on Aelvesgold, the new undines have it in them. But the undines who lived in the Fairy for so long, are losing their touch. They need to mate and have Aelvesgold too. The new ones can’t provide forever, and so, they have to return to the human world, at least to mate. Callie also learns that the mature undines can’t mate, the reason I’ve explained earlier. She notices some humans, one particularly sad-looking dark haired man, not interested in any undines.
Callie and Liam fall into each-other’s arms again and have sex somewhere in the Fairy. Liam was still trying to convince her about their relationship. Callie finds that she had knots like Celtic knots forming on her body when Liam tries to touch her. And sometimes they yank at her heart too. I can see why she’d be so confused, not knowing what’s happening to her. Liam explains that they’re true lovers and that’s why they are bound together. Callie is still hovering somewhere between wanting to believe Liam and not doing it particularly well. She becomes mad that Liam has done this to her without her consent. Hot Incubus sex is all well, but love?? *crickets*
Callie meets this crazy older undine called Lorelei, who is rude and vicious. She needs to mate and she’ll venture into human world anyhow. Callie gains her utter disfavor by telling her the truth; that she’s not fit to be with the humans. Lorelei goes mad, twisting up a storm and throwing Callie away. Liam comes to her rescue again but can’t help her entirely. When she’s back in the human world, Callie finds she’s badly injured, her spinal cord broken. But it’s no trouble for Dean Book or Elizabeth, Diana and Soheila. There is a cure for everything, and Diana uses a spell to knit back her spine! Callie feels weird about the whole thing.
Back at home, she finds that the storm Lorelei created has reached her house too. Things were looking bad when suddenly, Callie finds Brock unconscious. Later they learn that Brock has died or his spirit has left his human body to wonder into the borderland. His brothers and family would have to work on him to bring him back. It’s a very dangerous process and more often than not, doesn’t work. Brock might as well be called dead. Callie feels very guilty and no less sad than Brock’s family. As she meets this circle of witches and 3 Norns, Norse equivalent of fate, Callie learns more about them. There is also a family called the Stuarts who later are found to be the guards of the woods or something like that. Either way, Brock’s family has been keeping the people of Fairwick and the world at large from harm by weaving a net of spells that keep various creature venturing out of the woods through the door. The first meeting doesn’t go well. Callie wanted to help, but ends up messing things, which led Elizabeth and the others decide that she needs training to work on her magic.
In comes Duncan Laird, someone having highest degree in magic and all that concerns magic and supernatural. Callie is instantly attracted to the handsome and intelligent Duncan. He’s the same. With Duncan’s help, Callie begins to train. She learns to shape shift into different animals, runs with magical deer and owls, Duncan alongside her. It was a bit odd for me to imagine exactly what Callie was feeling while shape-shifting, but the description of her POV was very engaging. In between, Duncan would try to make moves on her, more than once, when those bonds would wound up. Callie would feel pissed at Liam, since according to her, she can’t ‘move on’ for those. I simply wanted to kick her for these thoughts about Liam. I mean still, after everything? WTF??
Then there was her new handyman, Bill, who was replacing Brock for the moment and took care of the problems of Honeysuckle house. Bill is a big guy, yet soft spoken and seems a bit on the shy side. Trust me when I say that the more I read about Bill, his enthusiasm to help Callie and make her happy, his looks towards her etc., the more I was convinced he was THE ONE, and NOT Duncan. Duncan just never seemed to me as enigmatic as Callie seemed to find him. He was easy going and all, but I didn’t feel anything for him the way I did for Bill. Well, just a hunch, which obviously Callie missed throughout the whole book.
At times I found these descriptions of places and views that were very confusing and yet, very intriguing too, since those got me into the story even more. After those shape-shifting scenes, there were some just before Callie meets someone named Lura. One day, she comes across this shabby little cottage, but in her mind’s eyes, Callie thought she saw how the cottage must’ve looked liked once upon a time; beautiful and neat. She meets Lura soon thereafter. The river Undine flows near the cottage and Callie finds something winking in the water; turns out it’s a chunk of Aelvesgold. Then she finds this woman holding a rifle at her and asking her to leave that alone. Now Lura is the human daughter of the undine and the fisherman. Those undines Callie helped migrate to the Fairy, are Lura’s sisters. Lura is very old and lives the life of a hermit. It was a very sad existence IMO. Rumor has it, she was to be married 80 or so yrs. ago but her betrothed, Quincy jilted her on the wedding day. Some says he vanished in the woods, never to be seen again. This incident sort of broke Lura mentally and she has been living alone ever since. The other supernatural entities do look after her in their own way since Lura herself won’t let them. Later we find that inside that cranky, old body, there’s a soft heart which has gone numb in the years of misery. She and Callie struck an odd kind of friendship.
Lura gives Callie the Aelvesgold after all. It was necessary for the process of bringing Brock back, and the circle was thinking where to find some. Callie is very excited to be of help. It’s said that she needs to guide Brock back to the world of living, and that it’s a very dangerous task since if something goes wrong, she’ll probably be wandering in the Borderlands all eternity. But Callie wants to help no matter what, which she does. The narrative of this whole process was also as engaging as it was mysterious. I was really engrossed by Callie’s views of the places and things she was seeing here. She even saw her mother, alive and talking to her about her powers, which kind of made me emotional. She explains to Callie the reasons why she can’t love, and why her powers are so imbalanced that makes her a Water Witch. Callie finds Brock in a place of his imagination, sitting there. He tells her that Dahlia (the Gothic writer who owned the Honeysuckle House before her death… story in book 1) told him about this place. Callie leads Brock back to the human world successfully.
Soon, bad news arrives fast. One was, Lorelei on the loose! Another was, the Grove is trying to close the door, citing it’s too dangerous for everyone to keep it open. But this is going to bring a lot of trouble. Callie’s friends and other supernatural entities who are living here for centuries, would either have to return to the Fairy or wither away here. There is no middle ground. Also, there would be no supply of Aelvesgold. They would probably have to leave the human world for good. There were other problems too. Callie knows she has to break the news of what she promised to her Grandmother. She knows it’d hurt her friends but Callie hasn’t yet done anything to betray them. Indeed, Elizabeth is a bit shocked but understood her wish to help Nicky out of the curse. Callie now needs to find a way to keep the door open and she knows she will do anything for it. When she finds this spell to bind the door to her heart, Callie takes a risk on her life yet again. Brock returns healthy, but it seems like Callie’s power isn’t really improving. They all, by now, realize that Callie is much more powerful than they initially thought. But Duncan isn’t helping much. He has tried a few times to seduce her but was unsuccessful here too. How lame!
The Lorelei problem was solved pretty easily IMO, after all the trouble she caused, attacking Callie a few times and harming Brock, creating storms etc. Callie and the others find her in Lura’s house. She has never been a mother to Lura as I’ve already mentioned and my heart just went out to Lura when she decided to return SO FREAKIN’ EASILY, never even bothering to care say goodbye to Lura. I could see a hurt girl, a hurt woman. It made me wanna slap Lorelei hard. She already managed to, umm, fertilize her eggs with some guy and when Callie gives her reassurance that her eggs will be under Undine’s water soon, she just leaves. Later Lura and Lorelei returns to the site to deposit the eggs. Lura was washing her face with the water when she begins to look really young with the magical water. Callie could see that she was a pretty girl. Then suddenly Callie notices someone in the water… a dark head and a pair of soulful eyes. Callie immediately recognizes the sad guy from the Fairy. She helps him out of the water, and then, OMG, Lura sees him and is shocked. For me, this was one of the best scenes of this book. I had such happy tears! I simply felt happy that they found each-other and decide to return to Fairy together. I liked that Callie took the responsibility of the eggs, however long she can.
Then the suspicions begin, that the Incubus has probably returned, again. But who is he? Callie, of course, thinks it’s Duncan. She learns a spell from one of the spell-books she had in her house, which reveals the true identity of someone masquerading. Callie dresses herself up the way Liam loved to see her, and when Duncan is there, she uses it. That was some scene! Duncan is a... nephilim! Oook, loved these twists because I wasn’t expecting that! But Callie never gets to see his face then because he attacks and wounds her beforehand. Bill comes to her rescue and takes her inside. He takes care of her wounds too. He stays the night too, and they end up having sex. I wasn’t amused BTW. Her whole relationship with Liam/Incubus was so weird that it gave me a lot of headache. Next day, Elizabeth and the others are here for that meeting with the Grove.
Callie tries her best to help when her b*tch of a Granny did everything to stall her. By now, Callie was sure of Duncan’s true identity; perfectly angelic, good-looking men, and yet, they aren’t what they seem. The meeting doesn’t go well though and the result is- the door will close. Callie runs to the door... everyone is there and the climax ensues. It became clear that the nephilims are working with the Grove to rule over the other supernatural beings. Worse, they think they’re entitled to it! The lack of Aelvesgold when the door closes will force these entities to come to them, begging for it. The Grove isn’t scared of running out since the nephilims make Aelvesgold in their body.
Ook, need something for that headache I was talking about!!
I did like the ending, though it ends in another cliffhanger; this time, a big one. I felt for Bill when he dies under Duncan’s attack to save Callie. But was Bill really the Incubus? It wasnt really clarified. This leads to a revelation too; Callie finally begins to feel that she loves Liam/Bill/Incubus, the knot in her heart giving away. She’s saddened for losing him again (that was entirely your fault woman!), saddened because her friends had to leave too. Callie has a bigger fight coming in the next installment. And I hope the book is out soon enough because I really need to know what happens! 4 stars.
This ARC was provided to me by Ballantine Books via edelweiss which didn’t influence my review and rating in any way.