Title: Watch Me Burn
Author: Sharon Bayliss
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Publication date: January 5th 2015
Buy at: Amazon
David Vandergraff lost his home, his job, and contact with his oldest son, but remains determined to be a good husband and father despite being a dark winter wizard.
His resolve is tested when a flyer for a missing girl–who happens to be a summer witch–begins to haunt him. David believes a spell needs to use him to save her, so he follows the magic’s command and looks into her disappearance. His teenage daughter Emmy resents him for caring so much about a random stranger. But when she uncovers some disturbing evidence close to home, she begins an investigation of her own.
David and Emmy quickly learn that the mystery is not only about a missing girl they barely know, but a deeply personal story that impacts everyone they care about. As their world crumbles, they fear the warning may be true—never mess with summer wizards, because the good guys always win.
Watch Me Burn is the sequel to Destruction. Although I have a feeling you can understand Watch Me Burn‘s story without reading the first book, I highly recommend doing so before diving into this novel. It’ll grant you a better understanding of The December People‘s world, as well as give you an extra amount of feels that will only make your reading better.
By the end of Destruction, David may have got two very important things, an understanding of magic, and the merge of his two families into one. But he lost nearly everything: his job, his house, and one of his children. David tries his hardest to do good, but making everything work is nothing short of a nightmare. Not to mention that his mind has been plagued by the need to find a lost stranger. A teenage girl. A summer witch. Winter and summer wizards are supposed to stay apart. Their magic is too different, their minds too oppositional. But try as he might, the girl won’t stop haunting him. The only way to stop it is to find her. When his daughter Emmy decides to give a hand, and they draw closer to the truth, their world starts bursting at the seams.
Just like with its predecessor, Watch Me Burn is extremely hard to put down, and whenever I did so, I’d carry the story in my mind as I tried to figure out what would happen next. More often than not, I was pleasantly surprised with the twists and turns of the novel. There were only a couple of points that were predictable, but it could not have been any other way.
What’s more, the characters continue to be their usual flawed selves. They don’t have anything put together. They’re still learning how to walk, how to behave, how to be a family, and all the while committing mistakes. Be it something as simple as refusing to talk to someone, to keeping a potentially harmless secret, to wandering in dangerous woods. As much as one wants to shake them for their decisions, it’s hard not to root for them. After all, they are only human.
Bayliss has also further developed her magic system to show us more than the winter magic we had been introduced to in the previous book. We get a glimpse of summer magic, which we learn to be just as destructive as winter magic, just in a different and very interesting way.
The December People continues to be a great take on the fantasy genre without limiting itself only to the fantasy itself. It continues to be, overall, a story about a misshapen family who does its best to stick together and to fight through whatever else magic throws at them next.
The book in a quote
“The darkness was the foundation that everything else was built on. The garden where the universe grew. The simplest, most basic thing in existence. And it was spectacular.”