Author: Bella Forrest
Pages: 2,024 combined
Is this part of a series? :Yes these are the first five books of the Harley Merlin series.
Genre: fantasy, adventure
Buy the books at the above links, or read for free with Kindle Unlimited.
Harley Smith has always known she was different. She can feel things coming from others- their emotions. It’s been useful as she grew up in foster care, going from one bad spot to another before finding a home with the Smiths. She can do a few other things too… but she tries to keep it on the down-low. At nineteen, she’s just working at a casino spotting cheats and saving up while she decides what she wants to go to school for. It’s not the most exciting life, but she’s living it on her terms…
That is, until the craziest night of her life ends with her butting heads against the hottest wizard (yeah, who knew THOSE existed) while trying to fight a monster that most people can’t see. Now that the two know each other exist, the wizard (Wade) is determined to bring her to the San Diego Coven and help her learn what it is to be a magical.
On the plus side, there’s a good group of people and she feels like she might just belong. On the bad side, there are a butt ton of rules and she finds that her family may be a whole lot more dysfunctional than most. We’re talking killers and power-hungry crazy aunts. Then there’s the fact that she has all these powers, but issues using them.
When her aunt, Katherine, comes out of the magical woodwork wanting to become an all powerful Child of Chaos Harley and her new crew have to step up and stop her and her cultish henchmen from performing five rituals that will change the magical world. Easy, right?
To start, I have to say that while this was a pretty good beginning to a series that I will enjoy, there’s one thing I hated immediately. Everywhere I looked this series is touted as a “more adult” Harry Potter. Why do we do this? If you go in thinking a series is going to be on par with one of the greatest fantasy series of our generation…. you’re probably going to be let down. It’s not to say that this isn’t a great series with good characters and an interesting plot not to mention some intense world building…. but J.K. Rowling she is not. It isn’t fair to do this to a series? On Goodreads and Amazon I kept seeing this get one or two stars… some were honest complaints about sections of the book, grammar, or the book just not being for them. That’s fair. Other’s, though, were pissed off because it wasn’t like the Harry Potter books and Facebook ads promised it would be. This is ridiculous! Can’t we just enjoy a book for itself without comparisons? I actually think that the series would have been more popular without the comparison. Ugh, rant ended. Now to actually get into the series.
Hot guys, strong women, magic, monsters and insanely strong villains. Honey, this series has all of that. I love it for what it is- a bunch of scrappy underdogs kicking ass and taking names while coming up with hilariously snarky comebacks. Forrest has created an interesting world for her magicals, and an interesting history. I actually really liked her take on things. It had some grammatical issues, sure, but nothing that didn’t seem to be in keeping with the narrative. The books began to branch out after the first one so that you got into the head of other characters. I really loved that, as it helped me learn more about Harley’s crew. I also liked that there was so much character growth. Really, the only drawback I really saw in five books was that it sometimes felt like it was taking forever for things to happen; point and case- I finished book five, but we are finishing the second ritual. Granted, the villain only needs to finish five rituals to achieve her goals, but…. seriously? Considering everything, I would give these books three stars on average, though I felt like the fifth one deserved four.
Harley Merlin isn’t your usual heroine. She’s a smart mouth, rebellious ass with a hero-complex. I love her snark and sass… but she isn’t exactly someone I would want a tween emulating, so let’s not consider this a YA series… even if it fits the bill to a lot of people. There’s a lot of flirting, sexual tension, language and violence. Even though any physical aspects of relationships are fairly tame, I would have to say this one is geared toward the 17+ crowd. On the adult content scale, I have to give it a seven.
The books are out. Have you read them? What did you think?