Genre: YA Fantasy/Paranormal
Luke has a dark secret. He wants the magical deck for himself. To save herself and her friends, Kassandra is forced to journey into the Tarot cards. But can she find a way out of the deck unscathed or will the darkness which follows her destroy them all?
People never talked about him dying. Instead they got all weepy and switched subjects. As if avoiding the topic would somehow make everything smiles and sunshine. It didn’t. When someone disappears, it’s like unraveling a sweater. Cut one strand, and the whole thing falls apart.
Kassandra caught a glimpse of her tangled hair in the mirror of Mom’s dresser. She looked frayed and disconnected—a lump of useless yarn who once was a girl.
Shaking her head, she scrounged through the cluttered bottles of nail polish, searching for a wadded up bill. Mom had to be good for a ten or twenty. No way was she going to borrow from Auntie Jo. Not again. Just a couple of new killer tops would make her grungy jeans work. School started tomorrow and Kassandra dreaded it. Kids never talked to the new girl. Especially the one with a lousy wardrobe.
The dresser reeked of cigarette smoke. At least if she found some money, it’d be one less dollar Mom could spend on cancer sticks. Kassandra’s fingers brushed a scrap of paper. Snatching it, her fishnet glove snagged on a bottle, sending the nail polish tumbling to the carpet with a clunk. The top popped off and red liquid oozed onto the café au lait carpet.
She scrunched her face. So not how she planned it. Kassandra eyed the crinkled paper in one hand. A lousy receipt.
Morning light shimmered off the puddle, already soaking into the carpet. Kassandra looped a blond curl over one ear and, yanking a handful of tissues from the box, dropped to the floor. Her bare knees brushed the carpet, the holes in her jeans from actual wear and tear and not fashionable rips. She so needed a new pair.
“Kassandra?” Auntie Jo’s voice glided down the hallway. “You coming, sugar?”
Kassandra’s heart kicked into high gear. She was supposed to be getting ready in her own room, not rummaging through Mom’s. “Sure, in a sec.”
The sticky bottle of nail polish went in the trash. Mom wouldn’t miss it. She had enough shades to create her own color chart at Home Depot. Kassandra dabbed at the spill with a wadded up tissue and then sat back to inspect the stain. The red blob was a stop sign smeared onto the carpet. Kassandra dumped a bottle of nail polish remover on the spot, sending up a wave of bitter fumes. The splotch, now pink, still drenched the carpet. She dragged over the throw rug by the bed and tossed it across the stain. Good enough.
Kassandra dashed down a hall lined with photos of unknown relatives and flew through her door just as Auntie Jo rounded the corner. The woman wore an Egyptian shawl draped over a wide body the color of deep mahogany. A purple scarf reigned in her tightly curled afro.
“The morning is young and thy chariot shan’t wait forever.” Auntie Jo waved one arm as if she were some kind of royalty.
I’ve always been a big fan of paranormal fiction, and this YA Paranormal Fantasy fits right in with the books I first discovered as a younger reader. I still enjoy revisiting the YA paranormal genre, and Tarot: The Magician is a great addition to my collection. If you’ve ever read any of Lois Duncan’s paranormal YA novels, this book has the same type of feel.
Kassandra has had a rough year; she’s starting a new school year in a new city with little more than the clothes on her back. Her mom isn’t around much, and Kassandra depends on her offbeat Aunt Jo (not her real aunt, but a family friend) for guidance and direction. Recent tragedies have hurt Kassandra deeply, and she struggles to fit in at her new school. And then the mysterious Tarot deck finds her, and things start to change…
The story itself is well-written and engaging. Each chapter begins with a quote from a Romantic poet (Keats, Byron, Wordsworth, etc.), as Kassandra is a poetry lover. As a fan of the Romantics myself, I liked this added insight into the character and her interests (and her emotional state). This book is a page-turner; it’s fast-paced and the author keeps the action moving. I especially enjoyed Kassandra’s journey through the cards as she tries to solve the problems she’s faced with and find her way out. And the ending gives me hope for a sequel (or a series?)
This book touches on some sensitive topics – suicide, cutting, the loss of a parent, drug abuse, bullying (although “tormenting” would be a more appropriate word). They’re not the main focus of the book – Kassandra’s experiences with the Tarot cards and the lessons she learns from that experience is the main story – but these real-life topics add realism to the paranormal adventures, and the author handles them admirably.
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~About the Author~
Tim Kane grew up in Southern California watching Toho movies and reading H.G. Wells. He has not lost faith in the sanity of the world. He studied writing as the University of California San Diego and has amused readers with many short stories. His first published book, The Changing Vampire of Film and Television, analyzes the past seventy years of vampires. He lives and teaches in Chula Vista, California, with his spectacular wife, daughter, and a dog that stands upside down. He enjoys traveling to the dark places of his mind and bringing back souvenirs. He hopes you have enjoyed this brief tour of his life.