Book Review: Persuasion

Persuasion (The Heirs of Watson Island, #2)
By: Martina Boone
Published by: Simon Pulse
Release date: October 27, 2015
Genre: YA southern gothic
464 pages
Buy it at Amazon, IndieBound, Book Depository, or Barnes & Noble
Source: ARC kindly provided by publisher

If you haven't yet read Book 1, Compulsion, I highly recommend you put that baby on the top of your tbr pile. It was one of my favorite books of 2015, was also a favorite of both of my teen daughters and several friends, and has received glowing reviews from many established, reliable sources.

It's a much harder task to write a middle-of-the-trilogy book, because the original book's plot arc is fairly complete, but the series' arc won't conclude until book 3. Creating new tension and conflict that is exclusive to the second volume, but that fits into and doesn't interfere with the series, is tricky. This is where this book didn't quite live up to my hopes for it. There were definitely things happening and new elements being introduced, but the tension didn't feel like it was growing for me, and the conclusions I thought that could have wrapped up this volume didn't happen.

This doesn't mean that I didn't like the book, however; I did, and I absolutely will pick up the third, no question about it. I still love these characters and this setting. I still love the magic and the mystery happening on this amazing little island, and unquestionably want to know what happens.

Barrie and Eight are featured on the cover, and for me, they are the best attribute of this book. That relationship, the complexity of one person knowing what the other person wants and wanting to give it to her, and the other person knowing how to find lost things, and feeling like he is the thing that she's been missing but is no longer, is unique and yet universal. That dynamic makes any situation that the author throws them in feel authentic and personal.

There are new storyline elements that are really fun. The appearance of a mysterious stranger, whose motives are unclear even to Eight, is a great addition. The discovery of more history on the family plantations adds to the already established lore, giving the southern gothic feel even more richness. Eight's sister and a few other supporting characters fill out the points of view. There is a funeral scene that is not to be missed, and a midnight romantic meeting that will leave the reader breathless.

Persuasion is the means to an end: I am steadfast in believing that book 3 is going to be stellar, and that readers who stick with the series will be elated that they did. Even though book 2 is good rather than great, patience will pay off, it's the road to get to the series conclusion.

Beautiful Creatures meets The Raven Boys in the spellbinding second novel in the Heirs of Watson Island trilogy that “skillfully blends rich magic and folklore with adventure, sweeping romance, and hidden treasure” (Publishers Weekly, on Compulsion).

Grieving the death of her godfather and haunted by her cousin Cassie’s betrayal, Barrie returns from a trip to San Francisco to find the Watson plantation under siege. Ghost-hunters hope to glimpse the ancient spirit who sets the river on fire each night, and reporters chase rumors of a stolen shipment of Civil War gold that may be hidden at Colesworth Place. The chaos turns dangerous as Cassie hires a team of archeologists to excavate beneath the mansion ruins. Because more is buried there than treasure.

A stranger filled with magic arrives at Watson’s Landing claiming that the key to the Watson and Beaufort gifts—and the Colesworth curse—also lies beneath the mansion. With a mix of threats and promises, the man convinces Barrie and Cassie to cast a spell there at midnight. But what he conjures may have deadly consequences.

While Barrie struggles to make sense of the escalating peril and her growing and forbidden feelings for Eight Beaufort, it’s impossible to know whom to trust and what to fight for—Eight or herself. Millions of dollars and the fate of the founding families is at stake. Now Barrie must choose between what she feels deep in her heart and what will keep Watson’s Landing safe in this stunning addition to a series filled with “decadent settings, mysterious magic, and family histories rife with debauchery” (Kirkus Reviews, on Compulsion).