Well, my anticipation for Branna and Finbar’s story was, sadly, not met. This is the third book in the Cousins O’Dywer series and I had been hoping that it would be the one to put the others to shame. The first two books, Dark Witch and Shadow Spell were pretty dull. All along though, Branna and Fin seemed to have the best chemistry, so I had really hoped that the third time would be the charm. It wasn’t.
In Blood Magick, we find the descendants of Sorcha the Dark Witch preparing for their final battle with the evil sorcerer Cabhan; that battle was a bit…lackluster, but more on that later. Iona and Boyle and Conner and Meara have already paired off and are living in romantic bliss, so it is, of course, time for Branna and Fin to get together. The pair was an item in their youth, but split when Cabhan’s dark mark appeared on Fin. Branna couldn’t see being in love with someone who was the blood of her mortal enemy, and so they parted on not-so-friendly terms. They have spent adulthood avoiding one another but now Fin has moved home, and the resurgence of Cabhan’s evil has thrown them together with a common goal.
Fin and Branna’s unease with one another was the common thread behind the other two love stories. There was obvious tension there and I was so excited to see it finally come to a head. Sadly, in Blood Magick, that tension seemed to disappear. We quickly realize that Fin has never stopped loving Branna and wants to reunite. I appreciated that he had remained devoted to her all this time, but it did deflate some of the tension knowing that one party was already totally on board with rekindling their romance. Branna is the most reluctant but even her internal struggle seemed to give without much ado.
There were some cute scenes in this book, don’t get me wrong, but they just weren’t enough to make up for the lack of excitement. I loved Fin caring for his injured dog. I know that scene was totally fluff to make us see his softer side, but I bought into it. I also like Fin and Branna as a paired couple. I found them to be well-matched and probably the most dynamic of the three couples. However, with all the supposed hurt in their past, and the whole star-crossed lovers aspect I was craving something more. More chemistry, more torment, more something. The whole thing just fell a bit flat. The potential was there, but it didn’t play out.
Besides the love storyline, there is also the impending battle with Cabhan. He’s this great evil force that has now taken a century or so to defeat, yet I wasn’t that impressed. I thought that the final showdown would be some big, booming, thing and really it didn’t differ much from every other encounter with him.
Other than these two elements, this book is nearly identical to the others. The group comes together for countless tasty sounding, but not terribly interesting, meals. There’s lots of discussion about family bonds, love, the past, magic, etc. Yet, besides the intermittent encounter with Cabhan that usually involves fog and him being a disembodied creep, there isn’t much of interest to this story.
I wish I could say that this final installment in the series added something special, but it didn’t. Overall, the storytelling was flat and forgettable. If I wanted to read something of Roberts set in Ireland, I would pick up her Gallaghers of Ardmore series over this one any day. If I wanted something paranormal, I think her Key Trilogy is at least a little better. I stated this in my previous reviews, I believe, but I actually think the flashbacks to Sorcha’s story would have made a more interesting book than the story that Roberts was trying to tell. I found myself enjoying the tales of her and her children more so than anything about Iona, Conner, and Branna.
All in all, Blood Magick won’t be the worst book you’ve ever read. It does have its redeeming moments, but don’t expect it to knock your socks off.