Charlie Logan’s sinister obsession with Ivy Grant has ruled his life. When he discovers a book of dark magic during a burglary, he decides to return to Oak Hill and use his newfound power to gain control over Ivy.
Ivy and Violet, with help from their grandmother, need to practice their magic to overcome the evil seeping into their lives. A battle is coming, and Ivy’s life is not the only one at stake.
*May Contain Spoilers*
Dark Designs by Stefanie Spangler sets two sisters against a demented man who tries to use dark magic to satisfy his sick obsession. Pitting good against evil, this novel offers a family of witches a chance to save one of their own, assisted by a few open-minded members of the small town police force.
Violet and Ivy are the main characters of this book -- twin sisters who seem more different than alike. Violet has always been an outdoorsy, homey, girl who enjoys life on her grandparent's farm. Ivy, however, isn't really sure where she fits in. After her recent college graduation, she's feeling a little lost, feeling outside of both city and farm life. The main connection that readers will have with these girls rests on the inappropriate incident Ivy had as a young girl. Though nothing happened, the character of Charlie Logan is represented as both demented and perverted. If it hadn't been for Ivy's grandfather, who knows what Charlie would have done to Ivy. With this emotional connection, the book flashes forward to the girls as young adults and recent college grads. However, Charlie has never forgotten Ivy or his feelings for her, and after stumbling upon a book of dark magic -- he now has the means to force her to be his. This set-up aligns the reader with Ivy from the beginning giving them a reason to root for not only her success, but her survival.
I think the main connection that readers will have with Violet is her blossoming relationship with a police officer, Kevin. This relationship dynamic adds another layer to the story line as Violet and Kevin move toward being a couple. Their relationship also adds a little thrill and nervous energy to the plot as Violet is uncertain how Kevin will react when he finds out that she's a witch. With these details surrounding the two characters, readers will be intrigued and interested in how their relationship plays out after Charlie returns, searching for Ivy.
The plot of the book focuses on Charlie's devious plans for Ivy. Though they are never revealed, they are undoubtedly sinister and it's up to Ivy, Violet, and their grandmother to stop him. Especially when Charlie accidentally (or intentionally) calls some sort of demon to live in his body and finish his plans. Though there are several dynamics and mysteries brought up in the book, the plot moves pretty quickly. However, not all the mysteries are solved, leading me to believe that there could be a sequel soon to follow. The book overall is very enjoyable with a few close calls and a pretty climactic ending, though the build-up was a little more than necessary compared to the short battle at the end. Regardless, I do think readers will enjoy this paranormal fantasy, even though I felt like the magic of the main characters is a bit downplayed. Still, I am very interested in the mystery surrounding the twins' parents and would be excited to read more about that if there is a sequel.
Rating: 3.5/5 Cups