Going Under

This is the first book I'd ever read by Lauren Dane, but it won't be the last.  The heroine, Molly, is a genetic witch who lives in a time of crisis.  When a mega-villain (the shadowy Magister, who manifests and is vanquished in a previous title in the Bound by Magick series) attacks the planet's paranormal population -- who'd previously existed under a shroud of secrecy -- their existence becomes known; they are "outed" and referred to as The Others. 


 In the wake of the fear and violence of The Magister, mistrust toward The Others rises.  Hate groups spring up and start acting out against witches, vampires and shape shifters who had previously lived quiet lives among the normal population.  A loud, vocal minority demands separations, curtailment of rights, and begins labeling Others as evil, unnatural, and a litany of judgmental terms designed to present them as "less" - deserving, privileged or human - than themselves.

Molly, a brilliant PR tactician who loses the successful firm she started to her partners -- pretty much simply for being a witch -- approaches a powerful witch clan, Clan Owen, and offers to be their spokesperson, which leads to her basically becoming the spokesperson for all Others, everywhere -- and, for the haters, The Face of the Enemy.  Hence, a huge target.

Enter Gage, a security specialist for the clan, who in effect becomes Molly's personal bodyguard, because, well, things get personal.

The sexual chemistry betwen these two is sizzling, and for a while they convince themselves it's just an affair, but as tension and intimacy tighten their bond, they have to admit to themselves and each other what really matters, and overcome fear and uncertainty to commit to their feelings for each other and a hope in the future, difficult as that is.

Dane does a truly terrific job of telling the story of a world coming apart.  Molly faces regional and national political enemies and violent mobs, and creates a network of allies from the various Other factions, as well as reasonable people who begin to see frightening parallels to historical situations that led to horrific consequences.  

Dane's pace is fast, while ratcheting the tension of a world gone awry with skill and precision.  Molly shines as the woman tasked with taking on the world, literally and figuratively, and her conflicted relationship to her own anger at the situation, and her professional need to be a voice of reason at all times is deftly and realistically portrayed.

Definitely worth a read - a touching, hot romance, and a good reminder of how quickly lives are threatened and the world can splinter when fear is allowed to rule.

Lauren Dane and her publisher, Berkley,  have generously donated five copies of the book to give away.  Leave a comment on this post by Noon, Sun Feb 24th (EST) to win one.  Sometimes I get notified of comments, and sometimes I don't, so either "like" my facebook page so I can contact you easily if you win, or be sure to check back on this post on Monday, Feb 25th to see if you've won (or both!).

Thank you, and good luck - it's a great book!

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