Will Forest goes to interview Astrid where she is held in an underground apartment, vaulted in with surveillance cameras that have taped her and he has watched to learn of her condition mentally. Will has several questions the damaged Astrid could answer, for his boss to save others from destruction, and of his own personal thoughts for his family. All revolves around one magically powerful woman Astrid created, Sahara. How she got the collection of magical items Astrid has, and how her friend used those items to create an eco-terrorist cult.
Astrid tells her story, starting with Sahara Knax leaving her cheating boyfriend and agreeing to stay with her. Astrid told her she could stay forever, Sahara said she'd have to make life pretty interesting to keep her around. And Astrid does, without expecting to. Astrid also has her step-brother living with her in the home she inherited from her father, a house she never knew he owned. Astrid just wanted to help her 'family' - two friends in need, and keep them with her as they were her only two friends, and receive the love from them as well. Astrid quickly finds magical toys, chantments, of her fathers and tells her two best friends of them. This all leads to learning of the vitagua through any memory she can find of being with her father. The three of them take care of the business of creating and sending chantments (magiced nick knacks) to needy people. Each has their own part, but there are those her dad had mentioned that look for the magical items and will do anything for them, even kill. Which leaves Astrid wondering...was Astrids dad murdered like her mystery-solving-mailman (from the books she reads) mom believes? Why?
As we read, we view the story from two time views. This is interesting as we know what's happening, and what the result is by the different views. We get Astrids story of finding magic, using it, and how things happen and grow. We then get a current view of the world in which there is chaos everywhere with the release of potent magic into the world. Quickly I became increasingly curious as to what really was going on in the current world, and how did it get that way. I wanted both stories, and both I got as the raced together by the end of the book.
I start off with so many questions at the introduction to Astrid and ever present magic and all the tidbits of hints and clues as to what the world is like, making us wonder on the world we are getting into.
Chapter one we are in the present with an interview by Will of Astrid, which raises lots of questions by the quick reminders to Astrid and hints to the past. Then the next chapter we are in the past, the memory of the days to Astrid, which feels like we are there with her. With the help of a paintbrush and a deck of cards; playing and tarot, Astrid uses the ink on each to draw pictures of the past to go with her story, showing it to Will as well as telling it.
I felt like I was witnessing a magically induced apocalypse, gushing like a geyser back into the world. The magic! Oh, I'm a magic lover. Magic of any kind, that is well played out. Here, I loved the description of the magics existence and how or why it went into hiding. The history we know of with witches and fear of magic is all brought into play here, so we are not completely out of our element with what has happened. The Fey are mentioned as part of this history as well, but they no longer exist from the people that believe magic should not exist, and maybe those people are still present in the world, ready to hunt and burn it away.
In the end I was left amazed with the tale told. I loved the magical creation, and the way the world was left leaving us ready for the next book, Blue Magic. I liked the way the two times come together in the end, giving us a close, yet leaving the story to what will happen in the here-and-now. I will be reading Blue Magic to see how Astrid corrects the contaminated world, or how magic takes it's place again.