“Magic is all about words and believing. If you believe then anything is possible.”
Shannon McLean had come a long way since she lost her mother. A while ago she’d thought she was alone in the world, a plain Jane with no place to go. Now she knew better. Suddenly she was surrounded by relatives: a crazy talented twin brother, Ian, who literally held the keys to magic in his hands; a demonic father, Connor, who had paid a high price for a one-way ticket to hell; and a wannabe big brother, Simon, who was not only half demon but also a hit man of some sort; and herself … so not a plain Jane but a witch with ancient spells tingling on her fingertips.
Oh, and if that were not enough of a burden for a thirteen-year-old girl, her father had sent her to London on an impossible quest. Truth be told, she might have volunteered, but only because she naively believed that the world was beneath her feet and she was capable of performing a miracle as long as her brother stood beside her. She’d been so wrong.
No matter what she did, or who tried to help her, she kept failing time and time again, and time was not something she had. If she ever intended to save her father from becoming the next king of hell, she had to act fast. She had to find a way to do the impossible and save a demon. After all, every witch knows the hard truth: demons cannot be saved.
“Shann, we don’t know the right spell and we don’t have a demon as our guinea pig. We’re simply not ready.”
Simon peeked in. “Someone called me?”
“There,” Shannon said triumphantly and wiped the tears from her face. “I have the spell and I have the demon.”
Ian stared at her. He knew exactly what she was thinking but he couldn’t let her do it.
Shannon detached herself from Ian’s arms and flew into Simon’s. He glanced at Ian in surprise.
“No.” Ian narrowed his eyes.
“What?” Shannon cooed innocently.
“I won’t let you do it,” Ian continued. “It’s way too dangerous.”
“You can’t know that,” Shannon said. “Not for sure.”
“Yes I can. And so can you,” Ian said angrily.
Shannon’s eyes begged him to agree with her, her lips forming a silent plea, but he didn’t yield. He remembered only too well what had happened the last time they’d played with demons and magic. It had nearly destroyed them and without the help of their father the spell would have probably killed them. But Shannon had clearly decided to forget all that. How convenient. Ian turned to leave.
“Fine,” Shannon snapped. “Just walk away. It’s so boyish. I’ll do it by myself then.”
“What?” Ian turned quickly. “You know you can’t. It takes both of us to bind a spell like that and I won’t do it. Not without the proper preparations, if even then.”
“What’s going on?” Simon asked suspiciously. “You’re just doing a minor spell, right?”
Shannon turned her head away, looking uneasy. “Not exactly. But you’ll be perfectly safe,” she blabbered quickly.
Ian snorted loudly.
“Shannon.” Simon backed away from her. “Is it dangerous?”
She shrugged and sat on the bed.
Simon looked baffled.
She made a helpless gesture with her hand and was about to lie, but how could she? Simon had a right to know that she was far from sure about what she was about to do. Yes, she had a vague idea of how the spell worked, but that was not enough. With a spell like that she had to be sure. However, she was too proud to admit that out loud. Because saying the harsh fact aloud would equal confessing that Ian was right, and that was not gonna happen. She turned her back on them, trying to imagine they weren’t there.
Ian laughed dryly. “Still willing to be her guinea pig?”
“Shannon?” Simon was confused.
Shannon battled with her conscience.
“Shannon?” Simon tried again.
“Yes.” Shannon frowned and faced him. “It’s dangerous and I can’t ask you to do it. Not if Ian’s out of the game.”
Ian spread his arms apologetically.
“But it’s doable?” Simon asked, face hard and determination gleaming in his gaze.
“Yes,” Shannon said at the same time as Ian said, “No.”
They stared at each other, the awkward silence enveloping them.
“It’s just…” Shannon broke the moment, drooping her head. “We’ve come all the way here to learn and now we’re back at the beginning. Elowen will never treat us as her equals and we’re running out of time. Connor is changing and he’s changing fast. If we don’t act now, we might lose him.”
“I thought you didn’t care about him,” Ian said quietly.
“So did I,” Shannon said miserably. “I guess he’s gotten under my skin, sort of.”
“And this is really important to you?” Ian asked suspiciously. “I mean, you’re not doing this just to snap Elowen, are you?”
Shannon shook her head, peeking at him from under her long lashes.
Ian closed his eyes. He didn’t want to look into her puppy ones and he didn’t want to look at Simon either. He could sense Simon’s curiosity and the waking demon in him that wanted to see if the spell would work, wanted the danger and the excitement Shannon was offering and, more importantly, his willingness to do anything to please his master, which in this case was their father. And yet neither of them seemed to understand the dangers in doing something so big and the numerous chances that the spell would explode in their faces, destroying their only shot at saving Connor.
Ian glanced at Shannon. Shoot! He hated this. She had driven him into a situation that he couldn’t win. If he walked out the door right now, she would try to do the spell on her own. Most likely she would fail and hurt herself. Even in the middle of her insanity she had to understand that a spell like that would take all of their powers, stripping their souls naked and leaving them vulnerable to anyone who wanted to hurt them.
And Simon … well, he’d unlikely be in any shape to protect them. If by some miraculous means they succeeded in exorcising every demonic part from him, they had no idea what would be left. But somehow he doubted it would be a pretty sight. After that they’d have their hands full, as that was the moment when the hard part would begin. The part where they were supposed to save the man from himself by creating his essence from the start and hope this time he would be wise enough not to bargain with the devil but stay away from him and keep his new, intact soul as far away as possible from anything slightly resembling demon magic. No, better yet, he should stay away from any kind of magic and then maybe, just maybe, he’d have a chance to live as a normal human being one day.
Sure, if he helped Shannon the probability of them succeeding would rise a lot, but the risk was still too big. So what choice did he actually have? None. Shannon was his sister and there was no way he could let her to do it alone. No way was he going to carry the burden of her getting hurt or worse for the rest of his life just because he’d walked out on her.
He let out a deep moan. “Fine.”
“What?” Shannon asked, stunned.
“I said fine,” Ian snapped. “But if it’s not working we’ll stop. We’ll go to school like normal teenagers and we’ll try to convince Elowen about our magical abilities in some other, not so deadly way. Okay?”
“Okay,” Shannon breathed.
“Okay,” Simon agreed. “What do we do next?”
“I have an idea.” Shannon smiled.
“I thought you might say that.” Ian rolled his eyes and slumped onto the bed. “Talk.”
5***** Finally it’s here!
It has arrived! The long awaited sequel to Black Diamond and finally I got to sit down and read what’s been going on with Shannon, Ian, Simon and the gang. Picking up where it left off, they are off to find a relative who will hopefully help them and be the key to saving their father, and Simon. However, a little over eager and they may end up losing the very things they hold dead. It’s a good one, and we are left hanging over the edge of a scary cliffhanger for the end, and I know I’m not the only one wanting to know when the next book will be out!
Introducing new quirky characters, this book is well written and executed brilliantly. Jennifer Loiske has once again found a way to drag you in from the first page and make it so you don’t want to put the book down until you’re done with it. I read through this in a later night session because I was desperate to know whether the twins would be able to pull off the spell they so desperately wanted, or if they would make things worse for themselves. An excellent YA paranormal with the right amount of teenage angst, drama and a few laughs here and there. I love this series and will continue to read it, but I suggest if you like YA books of this kind, then you’d do well to do the same! Highly recommended!
5***** Awesome read!
I loved the first book and have been waiting for this one to come out. This unique story continued on with the excellence and had me sitting on the edge of my seat.
The twins must learn more about their magic if they are to save their father and so journey to an old aunt, who is a witch and who might be able to help them. I loved the way they interacted with both the magical and non magical people and also the way they were growing, both in magic and in character. What is more, they were acting true to their age in a very realistic way that just added extra dimensions. I loved the magic and how well it was constructed and woven into the story, and also the way it is growing with the twins.
Simon is also fascinating in his own right, as a semi-demon guardian to the twins. I frequently wondered what he would be like if the curse were lifted from him. It is obvious he cares for his charges by his behavior so the reader is rooting for him. The tattoos he wears are a great touch.
Questions answered partly from the first book but intriguing new ones set by the second. I do hope the third book won’t be too long coming as I really want to find out what happens next. Although this is for YA readers primarily, I found it a brilliant read for all ages.
5***** Truly a Magical Read!
I’ve been waiting with some measure of anticipation for this second novel in Ms. Loiske’s McLean Twins’ Series. Needless to say, I was not disappointed. It is a wonderful and enchanting follow-up to the first book, Black Diamond.
I’m going to try not to give much away here about either book since the most fun in reading is about discovery. I will say that this tale picks up where Black Diamond left off with the twins, Shannon and Ian, and their faithful friend, Simon, off on a quest they hope will aid their father who is in deep magical doo-doo! They journey to the home of a woman named Elowen whom they believe is a powerful witch who can teach them the magical spells they need in order to secure their father’s release.
However, the twins, being teenagers, have a somewhat misguided sense of invulnerability and are oft-times impulsive and reckless with their own magical abilities. This can result in some pretty dire consequences for the folks around them, as you will see when you read the book.
Demon’s Touch is a fast-paced read and you will have difficulty putting it down! It is full of wonderfully eccentric characters, spells, magic, and the angst of growing up. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, as I did its predecessor, and would encourage you to read both of them. I can’t wait for the next installment in this series!
While the series is targeted at young adults and teens, it, like the Harry Potter books, is fun for all ages and I can recommend it to you most highly.
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