Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “Hey. The stable called, they want their high horse back.”
Genie McQueen is back and ready to rock and roll in the second installment of Sierra Dean’s spin off series-Genie McQueen. Fans will remember meeting Genie in Dean’s parent series-Secret McQueen. Genie is Secret’s sister-same mom, different dad. Unlike Secret, Genie is half werewolf and half witch. Like Secret, she is a magnet for trouble. Recently made alpha of New Orleans by her uncle Callium, the King of the South, she is slowly coming to terms with her added responsibility.
When two of her pack are arrested for suspicion of murder, Genie involves herself in the police investigation to help prove their innocence. At the same time, her ex boyfriend Cash requests her help in locating some missing girls at his girlfriend’s sorority house. Plus, her twin brother Ben is in town intent on causing trouble. Using her wits and magic, Genie dives in to try and tries save her boys, find the missing girls, kick her brother’s butt, and get herself a first date with her hot new boyfriend.
Black Magic Bayou is a strong, well written sequel that picks up where book one, Bayou Blues, leaves off while helping to re-familiarize readers with Genie McQueen and her small slice of the McQueen world while introducing some new characters and setting up future plotlines. Jam packed with action, humor, romance, and some seriously scary things that go bump in the night, Genie’s first true test as the Alpha of New Orleans requires her to
Heavily character driven, Dean balances on a fine line with her latest heroine whose character and situation similarities to her sister are noticeable yet Dean admirably strives to keep Genie her own person. This likable, engaging heroine has the powers and skills, neither which guarantee she will survive whatever is thrown her way, and it makes for an enjoyable ride. I like that her magic isn’t treated as something horrible to be hidden in fear of the consequences. She embraces both sides of her nature; not seeing herself as an either/or.
It helps that Genie was raised in the pack and received training as a witch and that she doesn’t have to deal with all the extra baggage her sister was forced to drag around with her. It also helps that unlike Secret, Genie only has to answer to Callium (and possibly her grandmother).
The two conflicts ride side by side with Genie trying to solve them both, though I felt the sorority conflict was more tighter and more evolved. Dean uses one to solve the other, effectively morphing them into one with some interesting results. Plenty of twists and turns takes us on an fast paced enjoyable investigative ride that leaves you a little shocked at results. Genie’s own actions show us the surety of future issues with her dual nature as does the introduction of Santiago-a male witch who offers her some warnings. He is an interesting mixture of appeal for Genie; both in terms of attraction and power and that worries me a little. He is what Genie could be if she practiced her magic more, a powerful draw, that could lead to possibility of a love triangle. As Genie seems to have made the choice to be with Wilder, I hope this is just a feeling on my part.
The ending resolves the main conflict though we are left with some open plot lines that I’m sure will cause Genie some problems in the future. A small cliffhanger scene at the very end only solidifies that.
Black Magic Bayou gives us another McQueen to love and cheer for and I can’t wait to see what Dean has in store for Genie and the pack next.