“The Line” by J.D. North is a pleasant book that keeps you guessing, even though you think you know how it’s all going to end. The story moves quickly and doesn’t dwell on insignificant points. Everything in the book is there for a reason, to drive the story.
For the most part, the writing in clean. There are some minor grammatical errors along the way, but nothing consistent that sticks out or impedes the experience. The Southern twang is there, but not offensive or cumbersome. Just enough to get across the culture and tone. The author paints a charming portrait of Savannah, with cobblestones, Spanish moss, and the old cemeteries one would expect to find in most Southern towns. The protagonist, Mercy Taylor, leads a colorful life, as a tour guide for her Liars Tour and also as a member of a prominent witch family. Mercy has no powers, and that makes her an outcast in her own family. Though her twin sister, Maisie, is the pride and joy with enough power for the both of them. The book tackles Mercy’s relationship with her sister and the rest of her family, while dealing with secrets that have been hidden her whole life. This makes for complicated and interesting character development, especially when Mercy turns to a HooDoo (VooDoo) queen for help.
As she betrays her family by asking for help from Mother Jilo, Mercy slowly begins to get pieces of the truth, until it all finally reveals itself in the final chapters. She wrestles with where she belongs, and deals with love and heartbreak, and agonizing guilt. All in all, it’s a story with many layers and conflicts that all seem to work.
My one critique is the story point that Mercy gets pregnant. Maybe this is important to the next books in the series, but I don’t see why it helps the story to knock up the main character, who is only 21 when she found out. Some of the things Mercy goes through in the book, and how she reacts to them, consistently made me think she was much older in order for it to be believable. I guess I’ll see if the pregnancy comes into play later. For now, it just seems unnecessary.