Witch Eyes by Scott Tracey (September 8, 2011)
Braden Michaels wears his sunglasses at night. And at the movies. And in the shower. Raised by his warlock uncle and taught to use magic, he suffers from a deadly curse: the witch eyes. He sees everything that normal eyes filter out: history and memory; love and pain; magic and darkness. The mind, however, was not meant to process so much, and the power is killing him slowly. The only thing saving his sanity are the sunglasses he always wears.
And then the visions reveal a dark threat on the horizon. Braden runs away to Belle Dam, the city where the threat originated, and is immediately swept up into the town’s mysterious feud. Two rival magical families have divided the town into a personal chessboard of scheming and machinations, and Braden is their latest pawn. As he tries to avoid their manipulations, and see the truth behind his return to Belle Dam, he has a choice to make. One side, or the other. Ignite the feud, or end it. Sacrifice himself, or someone else. Live, or die.
A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libby Bray
A Victorian boarding school story, a Gothic mansion mystery, a gossipy romp about a clique of girlfriends, and a dark other-worldly fantasy–jumble them all together and you have this complicated and unusual first novel.
Sixteen-year-old Gemma has had an unconventional upbringing in India, until the day she foresees her mother’s death in a black, swirling vision that turns out to be true. Sent back to England, she is enrolled at Spence, a girls’ academy with a mysterious burned-out East Wing. There Gemma is snubbed by powerful Felicity, beautiful Pippa, and even her own dumpy roommate Ann, until she blackmails herself and Ann into the treacherous clique. Gemma is distressed to find that she has been followed from India by Kartik, a beautiful young man who warns her to fight off the visions. Nevertheless, they continue, and one night she is led by a child-spirit to find a diary that reveals the secrets of a mystical Order. The clique soon finds a way to accompany Gemma to the other-world realms of her visions “for a bit of fun” and to taste the power they will never have as Victorian wives, but they discover that the delights of the realms are overwhelmed by a menace they cannot control. Gemma is left with the knowledge that her role as the link between worlds leaves her with a mission to seek out the “others” and rebuild the Order. A Great and Terrible Beauty is an impressive first book in what should prove to be a fascinating trilogy.
Ash by Melinda Lo
In the wake of her father’s death, Ash is left at the mercy of her cruel stepmother. Consumed with grief, her only joy comes by the light of the dying hearth fire, rereading the fairy tales her mother once told her. In her dreams, someday the fairies will steal her away, as they are said to do. When she meets the dark and dangerous fairy Sidhean, she believes that her wish may be granted.
The day that Ash meets Kaisa, the King’s Huntress, her heart begins to change. Instead of chasing fairies, Ash learns to hunt with Kaisa. Though their friendship is as delicate as a new bloom, it reawakens Ash’s capacity for love-and her desire to live. But Sidhean has already claimed Ash for his own, and she must make a choice between fairy tale dreams and true love.
Entrancing, empowering, and romantic, Ash is about the connection between life and love, and solitude and death, where transformation can come from even the deepest grief.