(The December People, #1)

David Vandergraff wants to be a good man. He goes to church every Sunday, keeps his lawn trim and green, and loves his wife and kids more than anything. Unfortunately, being a dark wizard isn't a choice.

Eleven years ago, David's secret second family went missing. When his two lost children are finally found, he learns they suffered years of unthinkable abuse. Ready to make things right, David brings the kids home even though it could mean losing the wife he can’t imagine living without.

Keeping his life together becomes harder when the new children claim to be dark wizards. David believes they use this fantasy to cope with their trauma. Until, David's wife admits a secret of her own—she is a dark wizard too, as is David, and all of their children.

Now, David must parent two hurting children from a dark world he doesn’t understand and keep his family from falling apart. All while dealing with the realization that everyone he loves, including himself, may be evil.

 “We do not believe that light exists in spite of darkness. We believe that light exists because of it.”

This book took me by surprise - I really didn't think I'd love it as much as I did.

The first chapter read a little awkwardly; I think the writer was finding their footing. It thankfully took off from there - fast. David had an affair and now it's come to haunt him - as he has to take custody of the two kids from that relationship. The children were kept in hiding by the mother and her abusive boyfriend, and they practiced a dark sort of magic.

The story doesn't stop with the surprises. Every few chapters I would sit there stunned, learning something new that changed the game. Changes about the children, or the main characters like David himself. The world building was creative and not like anything else I've read before. A mix between dark and light magic. It's not really in your face types, though, more of a subtle magic. Fascinating stuff.

The wife took awhile to grow on me, but I ended up liking her more later. Each kid had their own personality and current story, which became fascinating.

I can't wait for the second book to see what happens. I'm especially curious about David and the friend's parents. It didn't end on a cliffhanger per se, but definitely makes me want to keep reading.

It's not strictly a young adult, it's as suitable for the adult genre. A fantasy type story. Highly recommended if you enjoy stories with magic as part of the world building.

   Book Quotes:

“Winter," she said. "The trees are going to get all gray and spindly. And of course, there are the Pumpkin Lattes.” 

“The darkness was the foundation that everything else was built on. The garden where the universe grew. The simplest, most basic thing in existence. And it was spectacular.” 

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