Devil’s Playground by Heather Eagar
Publisher: Clean Reads Publishing
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Historical
Length: Full Length (224 pages)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3 Stars
Review by: Astilbe
Sixteen-year-old Elizabeth Winters may be a witch, but she doesn’t know the first thing about magic—unless you count accidental bouts of spontaneous combustion. Elizabeth’s father, a wizard himself, has forbidden the use of her powers for her own protection, but when accusations of witchcraft start flying through Salem Village, she wishes she was more prepared.
Despite her lack of magical knowledge, Elizabeth appoints herself to save innocent women from the demise the village has in store for them. Elizabeth finds, however, that she is not the hero Salem needs her to be.
She meant to save them. She cursed them instead.
Sometimes old family secrets are uncovered when you least expect them to be.
The fast pacing worked well with the premise of this book. I liked the fact that the main conflict was brought to Elizabeth’s attention as early on as it was. Sometimes she and the other characters made decisions in the spur of the moment. Since everything else was also moving along really quickly, though, these choices made a lot of sense.
There were character development issues. None of the characters learned or grew from anything that happened to them. This was something that especially bothered me when it came to Elizabeth because of what a unique place she had in the storyline. I was excited to see the Salem witch trials through the eyes of an actual witch, but her reactions to these events weren’t at all what I expected them to be. She experienced some pretty sad and horrible things without ever seeming to change as a result of them. Her reactions simply didn’t make sense to me.
One of the things I appreciated the most about the magic was that Elizabeth barely knew anything about it when she started noticing her strange abilities. Having such a limited explanation of what she could and could not do made it fascinating to explore her powers as they began to show up. I was as surprised as she was by some of them, and that was a good thing.
Devil’s Playground should be read by anyone who is fascinated by this slice of history. “