Monday, April 7, 2014

Book Review: Daughter of Chaos by Jen McConnel

Jen McConnel will be talking about writing and will be signing books 
on Saturday at 7 PM at Schuler Books, Meridian Mall, 1982 W. Grand River, Okemos.
She will also be signing on Sunday, April 13, at 1 PM 
at Barnes & Noble Books, Southland Shopping Center in Portage.

"Daughter of Chaos" by Jen McConnel (Month9Books, $12.99) is an intriguing young adult tale that focuses on an energetic 16-year-old girl's dealings with witchcraft.

Set in contemporary times, it introduces Darlena, who's attending Trinity School in North Carolina. This isn't your typical private school; the students are learning about witchcraft.

Darlena is facing considerable pressure from her friends and parents about choosing which witchcraft path to choose, Green, White or Black. Each path emphasizes particular areas of knowledge, utility specific experience.

The goddess Hecate unexpectedly appears at her house and forces her to make a decision. Darlena nervously and impulsively chooses Red magic, not knowing anything about it.

Darlena's parents are followers of Green magic; her boyfriend Justin believes in White magic. Darlena's best friend Rochelle is dedicated to Black magic; all are aghast at her choice.

Complications quickly arise as Darlena tries to learn more about Red magic; she's kicked out of Trinity School and visited by other powerful witches, including Persephone and Aphrodite.

When she initially utilizes her magic, she's stunned at the results; later she must make more difficult, dangerous decisions. If you're knowledgeable about mythology, you may find this book particularly enjoyable.

"Daughter of Chaos" is a well-designed trade paperback that's the first of a trilogy. It's a highly entertaining, unusual, young adult coming-of-age- tale that should appeal to a variety of readers.

The author is a former Michigander who graduated from Western Michigan University and now resides in North Carolina. She is a guest speaker at next Saturday's Rally for Writers Conference at Lansing Community College, West Campus.

McConnel is also the author of "Secret of Isobel Key" (set in Scotland) and "Goddess Spells for the Busy Girl: Get Rich, Get Happy, Get Lucky."

Her poetry and other writings have appeared in numerous publications. She has been a librarian and bookseller; she teaches college writing composition and yoga. She has her own blog; her website is

Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing’s Curious Book Shop, 
has reviewed books regularly since 1987.

Find this book and other great titles
at the Curious Book Shop, an independent 
book shop in East Lansing, founded in 1969.

Curious Book Shop
307 East Grand River Avenue
East Lansing, Michigan

This review was originally published by the Lansing State Journal on  April 6, 2014.

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