From the BLURB:
Persephone Alcmedi has been persuaded to compete for the position of High Priestess of the Cleveland, Ohio, coven -- now that the former priestess, Vivian Diamond, has strangely gone missing. Unfortunately, there are a few small problems with the idea. Not only does Seph know rather more about Vivian's disappearance than the other witches realize, but the epic struggle she's just survived has left her with some highly unusual powers -- ones that could be dangerous to reveal. Despite her reluctance, she agrees to participate, if only to prevent snooty Hunter Hopewell, an obnoxious but talented witch, from ending up in the winner's circle. Can Seph hide her secrets -- including her connection to the master vampire-wizard Menessos -- from the terrifyingly wise judges? Plus, there's her rock 'n' roll werewolf boyfriend, Johnny, and some angry fairies to deal with....
Once the competition begins, a finalist turns up dead. It looks as if one of the contestants is willing to do anything -- including murder -- to win. Suddenly Seph has even more on her plate than she thought: from solving a murder to working out what her new powers really are...and exactly why they're creating so much havoc in her love life.
This is the second book in Linda Robertson’s ‘Persephone Alcmedi’ series.
I liked the first book ‘Vicious Circle’, but felt Robertson put too much emphasis on past relationships that weren’t established but often referenced. I think this second book works much better because those relationships are now familiar to readers.
First there’s the romance between Persephone and biker werewolf, Johnny. In ‘Vicious Circle’ Johnny was already enamored of Persephone, but she was wary of his tattooed appearance and lycanthropy. In ‘Hallowed Circle’ Johnny is still infatuated with our girl Persephone, and he turns his flirtation up a notch – preferring lewd puns over the gentle courting of book 1. Persephone is still wary of her feelings for Johnny, but she is at least willing to admit to them.
“The right thing to do would be for you to acknowledge that you feel something for me that’s remotely close to what I feel for you. I’ve asked for only a single grain of sand from you, Persephone, while I’m the whole fucking beach at your feet. You want to appreciate me but your thoughts are always turning to him!”
In ‘Hallowed Circle’ Linda Robertson dabbles in some smutty writing – and it’s good – my only complaint is there’s not enough! A lot happens regarding the Johnny/Persephone relationship – but it’s all at the very beginning of the book. Robertson hits us with several romantic developments in the first half of the book, but then she puts the romance aside and focuses on the witches plot in the second half.
The nuts and bolts of the plot is wonderful – one of my favorite things about ‘Vicious Circle’ was all the references to Wiccan culture, and it’s amped up in ‘Hallowed Circle’. There is more of those wonderful witchy chants and rhymes and a closer examination of witch politics. ‘Hallowed Circle’ almost has a ‘Harry Potter: and the Goblet of Fire’ feel to it as Persephone enters into a competition to decide the new witches coven leader.
The other major relationship development in this book is between Persephone and vampire, Menessos. I would have liked more focus on the progress of this relationship – Robertson heats things up and drops little tidbits, promising deeper examination in future books – but those hints are so delectable I wish there’d been more focus in this book.
I loved this second instalment; ‘Hallowed Circle’ is further proof that ‘Persephone Alcmedi’ is shaping up to be a very promising fantasy series. Persephone is a wonderful heroine, ballsy and upstanding, but prone to bouts of foolishness and bull-headedness. There’s a wonderful blend of Wicca, lycanthropy and vampirism that ticks all my favourite supernatural boxes. I really look forward to the third book, ‘Fatal Circle’, to be released June 29th this year.