Originally posted on Goodreads on Dec. 30, 2016
Michael Weekly’s series Mystical is a fresh take on witches, mermaids, fairies, elves, and shape shifters in an original storyline following Eliza Rose. Eliza is a 20 year old witch not yet grown into her powers who is beginning college with her best friend, Dawn and familiar, Jared (a talking cat) and trying to find out more about her powers while being kept in the dark by her mother.
The first volume of the series, The Deadly Truth, left me as a reader without much truth. While the premise of the series is a fascinating one and the creatures are nothing short of interesting (nothing like some nasty fairies out to suck your soul out of you with some killer glitter hickeys, or killer mermaids, I love killer mermaids). I was surprised by the new take on witches, having them as monster hunters instead of spell casters. I’m a huge fan of broomsticks in this universe. Instead of a tool for flying they’re a weapon fit for an assassin, an extension of the witch themselves with changing ends that become a weapon to fit the situation. However, despite all the cool things, I was left bewildered and confused by the end of the novel.
Weekly does a fantastic job of keeping his readers in the dark alongside Eliza. In fact, he does his job a little too well. While I appreciate the lack of info dump about this new world and the creatures within it I’m left wondering if I know anything at all. Eliza is provided a grimore by her mother and her familiar that seems to explain things to a certain degree, however Eliza, frustrating as she is, doesn’t read much more than the chapter on Mystics, the umbrella title for magical creatures within the story. As a reader I grew frustrated with Eliza because she never seemed to be asking the right questions, or enough of them. When she did question (rightfully I might add) about her powers and the dangers around her she was shunted by her mother, her cat familiar Jared, and later fellow witch Donovan and given almost no information at all. Most frustrating at all Eliza just accepts this lack of knowledge and instead of turning to her grimore for help just, rolls with it. That’s fine if you’re doing a midnight trip to McDonald’s or dealing with a drunk friend, but not when there are Mystics at every turn ready to kill you over your innocence, which you know nothing about. She doesn’t question the information given. Why do Mystics come out after 8? What are the specifics between those who are corrupt and those who aren’t? I’m left with no idea as to what makes on corrupt in this world. Another item of irritation was the concept that Eliza would be able to pick up fighting by “instinct”. Her mother even gets angry at her for not being able to fight despite her lack of training because it should be instinctual.
Instincts aside, another major technical issue I found was character placement. I had to reread several passages throughout the book to figure out which character was where and what they were doing. Scene changes also happened fast, with a lot of driving that isn’t ever described. I was left wondering if every place Eliza visited was on the same street due to the lack of explanation of time passage and scenery. On the subject of time I’m not quite sure how much time passed in the book. There was one instance where a month passed, and Eliza had flunked out of college for the semester due to her skipping all her classes. This floored me, because college is expensive, and she just flunked out at the first go. Her reaction was nonexistent, which floored me even more. In fact, a lot of the reaction throughout the book were lackluster. Eliza overreacts once in the book against Jared, after he reveals he is her brother, by threatening him, injuring him and running him off. There isn’t much of a reconciliation besides her saying sorry a month after he returns and him just returning to life as usual. Also, despite a lot of near death experiences Eliza and Dawn are just okay to continue with their lives, party, and chat about Mystics, but not go to class or study? Also, how are they paying for their condo since they aren’t on campus?
My main source of irritation were the male leads, Eric and Donovan. If you’ve ever seen a Korean drama you’ll be familiar with the troupe of masculine men grabbing their female counterparts by the arms and jerking them around to face them again. This troupe appeared throughout Deadly Truth and I wish it hadn’t. I do not personally know any woman who appreciates being handled in such a way and I’m still shocked that Eliza just let these two men handle her in that way, especially when she doesn’t know them. Eric began grabbing and moving her around almost immediately after meeting her a few times, and preceded to be one of the creepiest males I’ve ever read (good work on the creep ‘o meter, he hit a 10/10). The readiness that Eliza has in allowing herself to be caught in situations with these boys is astounding, and a little worrying.
At the end of the novel I was left more confused than I was in the beginning, with more questions than answers. I think the characters deserve a little more development which I hope to see in the later instalments of the series. Eliza has great potential to grow into a dynamic character and witch, and I hope to see more depth in her friendship with Dawn and her relationship with her brother as they work to develop her powers and discover more about the mystical world around them. I also hope to see the story gain more context as to the relevance of things surrounding the characters, such as the rose Eliza receives from Ms. Canary, the grimore, and the corruption of characters. All in all, a 3/5. I hope to see Weekly grow as a writer and see his characters grow alongside him in the badasses they’re destined to be.
Be sure to find Michael on Instagram! He’s super nice and keeps up up to date on his latest projects. You can also find my review on Amazon.