cover image Serpent’s Kiss

Serpent’s Kiss

Melissa de la Cruz. Hyperion/Voice, $23.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-4013-2396-7

This minimally engaging sequel suffers from middle-child syndrome. The cast and all their problems carry on from the bestselling first installment, Witches of East End. At the center are two sisters and Joanna, their mother—three witches who live in the charmed town of North Hampton at the end of Long Island. All three are romantically beset: Joanna is torn between her ex-husband and a new beau; librarian Ingrid, the older, is nervous about her first real relationship; and wild child Freya is forced to doubt the man she madly loves. It doesn’t help that an errant band of pixies and a trouble-prone brother with a missing trident are stirring up more supernatural strife. Dependent for its tension on the first installment, this chapter merely drifts along on leftover steam. The characters are stylized but lively, and moments like a trip in time to the witch-hunting 17th century are tantalizing. Not helping matters is the fact that these characters are immortal Norse gods, an original conceit that lends an air of unimportance to the proceedings; to an immortal, what’s a 50-year marriage, or even a 5,000-year stint in limbo, in the grand scheme of things? Agent: Richard Abate, 3 Arts Entertainment. (June)