Series: The December People #1
Author: Sharon Bayliss
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Fantasy, Paranormal
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Release Date: April 13, 2014
Links: Goodreads ☆ Amazon
David Vandergraff wants to be a good man. He goes to church every Sunday, keeps his lawn trim and green, and loves his wife and kids more than anything. Unfortunately, being a dark wizard isn't a choice.
Eleven years ago, David's secret second family went missing. When his two lost children are finally found, he learns they suffered years of unthinkable abuse. Ready to make things right, David brings the kids home even though it could mean losing the wife he can’t imagine living without.
Keeping his life together becomes harder when the new children claim to be dark wizards. David believes they use this fantasy to cope with their trauma. Until, David's wife admits a secret of her own—she is a dark wizard too, as is David, and all of their children.
Now, David must parent two hurting children from a dark world he doesn’t understand and keep his family from falling apart. All while dealing with the realization that everyone he loves, including himself, may be evil.
DESTRUCTION brings us the story of David Vandergraff, his family, and the new world he is thrust into. When his son and daughter from an affair he had years ago are finally found, he couldn't be happier to finally have them. But things go from bad to worse as secrets are revealed and his world is completely turned upside down by the revelation that he's a dark wizard and so is his entire family. As his five children begin practicing magic, as any child would do after learning such a thing about themselves, their lives quickly turn chaotic. And the past is coming for David and his family.
Magic is dangerous and being dark wizards makes it even more so. It has a toll and it can be a steep one. But does being a dark wizard necessarily mean they are evil? Can they do good with their magic, instead of destruction?
One of the things that I really liked about DESTRUCTION was how all the magic that they used was explained. We were told what it does, how it works, and the effects it can have. I also really liked the talisman concept about how each of their talismans protects their souls. A true talisman is a person, not an object. And you have to stay emotionally connected to your talisman, otherwise you can become unstable from the effects of the magic you're using. It's all very interesting.
It was also interesting how once David and his children learned the truth about what they are - dark wizards - and began practicing magic, that everything around them seems to become chaotic. David's family has some really powerful wizards in it and their house is swirling with magic from all the use. Perhaps instead of having an inward effect only, all that magic is also having an outward effect? Like instead of just their minds becoming chaotic their atmosphere or surroundings are also becoming chaotic?
There was one thing that bothered me that kept me from giving DESTRUCTION a 4 rating. There is a sexual assault that happens in this book, and it's pushed to the side like it's not that important. But it is, and I really hope that the issue is brought back up and resolved in future books. It also seems that abuse of many kinds is common place among dark wizards.
There are quite a few characters in this book, so I'm just going to do a simple paragraph or two about them instead of my normal character list and description.
So David basically had an affair in the early stages of his marriage to Amanda and he had two children, Evangeline and Xavier, with a woman named Crystal. When she is murdered and her husband gunned down, Evangeline and Xavier are put into a group home of sorts, and David is contacted by police that his children have been found. He brings them home with him, with no warning to his family, and his wife Amanda is furious. But she doesn't hold what happened against the children, so she lets them stay in the house, but not David. He has totally screwed up, but Amanda shows what an amazing woman she is by allowing him to live in the house to help raise the children, but they are separated and sleeping in different rooms. But while David had his secret, Amanda has one of her own. She reveals that they are all dark wizards, but she also reveals to David that she manipulated his memories. She basically deleted the years of abuse he suffered at the hand of his father. While both of them are feeling betrayed for different reasons, they share a bond that goes far deeper than they think.
Jude, Patrick, and Emmy are the children David has with Amanda, and Evangeline and Xavier are the children he had with Crystal. When these two groups meet for the first time, they immediately dislike each other. Evangeline and Xavier suffered terrible abuse by their stepfather and have been traumatized by it. They stay to themselves and are very protective of each other. The animosity that Jude, Patrick, and Emmy have for Evangeline and Xavier is mostly on their mother's behalf. They are angry by what their father did and they take it out on Evangeline and Xavier (which isn't right, by the way).