Time for a book review! The Witching Hour, Lasher, and Taltos aren’t fantasy novels, but they do have some supernatural elements or ten, so I’m gonna do it. When my family and I are done moving and I unpack my books, I’ll do in-depth reviews on each book in the series. Until then, this is just a general overview of my thoughts on the Mayfair Witches trilogy.
Okay! Let’s get started!
A Book Review
As you read this review, a bright red !Spoilers! heading will mean that spoilers are ahead. When you get to the next normal heading, it will be safe to read again.
See? I give a shit. Gimme a cookie. (No, seriously. Enable cookies on this site. I do the Google AdSense thing.)
Okay, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s start the actual book review!
So, the main plot is that Rowan Mayfair is the thirteenth witch in a long line of witches. The family sent her away as soon as she was born to live far away from New Orleans in hopes of ridding the Mayfairs of Lasher – a ghost that haunts the next Mayfair witch in line.
Lasher was a “family ghost” of sorts. When one witch died, Lasher would protect and care for their daughter instead. The Mayfair family is stinking, filthy rich with old money built up through the ages. The heir of the fortune and the head of the family is always the Mayfair witch.
We don’t know it immediately, but Lasher’s motivation is to become flesh and bone again. By the time Rowan understands what that means, she suffers a lot of irreversible damage both physically and emotionally.
But when Rowan’s mother (Deidre Mayfair), passes away in New Orleans, Rowan comes back. She discovers Lasher and her family’s eerie, bloody history. Carlotta Mayfair, a huge naysayer of Lasher and the witches, warns Rowan not to trust the “evil” Lasher, because the deaths of many Mayfairs feature him in the background.
Favorite Parts Of The Mayfair Witches Series
I loved Lasher. For anyone who’s read the book, I loved him up until Taltos, alright? I’m not that sick. But Lasher was the most interesting character out of the whole series for me up until Taltos when Ash made his appearance.
Despite Carlotta and almost everyone else in the Mayfair line telling Rowan, Michael, and readers not to trust Lasher, I wasn’t buying it. I loved this guy from the start. Maybe it was because Lasher was incredibly well developed.
Anne Rice introduces him to us in pieces and it was really like chasing down a spirit. I fell in love with him because of how deeply he cared for each of the Mayfair witches throughout their lives. He waited literal centuries to meet Rowan Mayfair and, though I ultimately decided he was no good, I was rooting for him for a long while.
Most of the first two books, I was still trying to work out Lasher’s purpose of existence and his motives. Anne did an excellent job of keeping me on the hook while still giving me enough to keep turning pages.
The Writing Style (Personal Preference)
This writing is more dense than I typically like to read. I read a lot of SFF novels aimed at young adults and new adults (although I’m now losing interest in the content of these novels).
Most YA/NA novels have shorter sentences, more dialogue, and less exposition than Anne Rice, Stephen King, and Dean Koontz’ writing. Dense writing isn’t a bad thing, but it’s not my preference. I like having a little left to my imagination.
For example: If I say, “A red rug stretches down the hall, tiny curls of gold swirling along the edges,” you and I probably see a similar but not identical rug. And that’s okay. Unless the accuracy of the description is super important to the plot, I can do without it. You feel me?
Not So Favorite Parts Of The Mayfair Witches Series
I know Rowan and Michael were supposed to be my fave characters, since they were the MCs, but…
Nope. In fact, they kinda bored me. Remember that this is a book review, though, and that my personal opinion may not agree with yours. You might absolutely adore Rowan and Michael (my sister did).
I loved that Rowan had a psychic ability to kill people by giving them a heart attack. That was awesome! But we almost never see her use her powers, not even her less lethal ones.
We see her using her powers to mend wounds in the ER at the start of The Witching Hour and she kills her pervy uncle, but that’s it. Her powers barely come into play for the rest of the series and that irritates the hell out of me. Especially since she’s supposed to be the most powerful Mayfair witch of the entire Mayfair line!
As for Michael, we almost never see his, either. He has a psychic power where he can get facts or visions about people or things by touching them with his hands. But he hates it and wears gloves all the time. (Bruh, this is the one thing that made you interesting to me. WTF?) In the end, he almost dies for the second time and his powers mysteriously (conveniently) disappear. It bothers me.
Psychic Powers of the Main Characters
Both Michael and Rowan had psychic gifts. Michael’s gift was to receive information in a psychic way by touching a person or object. Rowan’s power was to see the inner workings of the human body and heal it – or kill someone with a psychic attack.
Neither character used them much throughout the series. If they would have utilized their powers more, it would have made the main characters way more interesting.
Rowan Mayfair (13th Mayfair Witch)
Rowan was a pretty introspective, quiet person, which isn’t my favorite type of character. (Well, unless they’re the type that’s quiet and then freaking explodes. I love those types, the kind that are so well composed and then BAM! They rain down fire and brimstone on their enemies.)
Rowan never did that, though. Rowan just kinda stayed chill for the whole novel, along with her love interest. She was super right-brained and dealt with everything in a highly clinical way, and it kinda made her come off as robotic.
Then again, she was a doctor, so maybe she was compartmentalizing? I dunno. I just like to have more emotion, like what I saw with the other Mayfair witches. Tragedy, grief, pain, suffering, passion! Thankfully, the rest of the characters more than made up for my indifference to Rowan.
Michael is Rowan’s love interest and he had the gift of psychometry. His main goal in the series was to get back to being normal and gift-free.
So basically Michael’s goal was to be boring again? But that’s my personal opinion. You might actually love him.
All I know is I’d be out there finding a way to put my psychic powers to use if I was Michael. Rowan put hers to use and built a career around it.
For the most part, I thought Michael was a little bit of a coward and I wasn’t a fan. I shipped Lasher and Rowan hardcore for two straight books, if that tells you anything. I wanted Rowan with anyone except Michael. Michael was just too boring.
And yeah, Rowan was boring, too, but not when she was with…other, more compelling characters. (I don’t wanna do another spoiler heading. Haha)
Why You Should Read The Mayfair Witches Series
“Well, Lynn, if you didn’t love the main characters. then why the hell should I read this series?” – Random Citizen
Great question, Random Citizen!
The history of Lasher and the Mayfair Witches is reason enough to start reading these books. I still re-read my copies on occasion, despite my apathy for Rowan and Michael. They really aren’t that difficult to ignore, since the Mayfair backstory takes up most of page space.
Anne Rice takes you all the way back to the first Mayfair witch (the first sighting of Lasher) and shows you the rich backstories of every witch since.
And let me tell you, that was a freaking ride!
The Talamasca is a group of psychic detectives/scholars who track mysterious and/or supernatural events around the world. Their slogan is: “We watch. And we are always there.”
Now that I’m thinking about it, that slogan is a restraining order waiting to happen, though.
Anyway, I loved reading the Talamasca’s reports on the Mayfairs. Aaron Lightner, a member of the Talamasca, was my favorite human character. He is the one who approaches Rowan to explain Lasher.
“Hey, girl! You haunted as hell!” – (not) Aaron Lightner
That would have been funnier if you read the book and knew Aaron. He’s super chill and classy. The word “debonair” comes to mind. Go read the series and then come back and appreciate my joke.
As you read about all these Mayfair witches and their lives in different periods throughout time, you’re gonna fall in love with a dozen women. And all twelve of them are already dead by the start of the book, which makes it so much worse. You fall in love with them and then read their death scenes. Yay for constant, repeated heartbreak!
Badass Mayfair Witch
My favorite Mayfair witch was Stella Mayfair.
Because of course it is. Stella is the spirit of the roaring 20’s. She was carefree and independent and did not give a single flying f’k about conformity, convention, or what was “proper”. This b*tch was here to have fun and she did it! I adored her and I was on the brink of tears when I read of her death.
Other Notable Humans
Aside from Aaron Lightner, there were two other human characters with whom I felt a strong connection. Mona Mayfair and Yuri (I don’t believe he has a last name). It was kinda weird to read about Mona. She was, like, fourteen, but…
Prepare to be shocked by most of her personality. That’s all I’m gonna say. She’s very mature for her age. She’s also damn near a genius.
Yuri is an orphan kid who joined the Talamasca. He doesn’t do too much in the actual series, but his backstory will make you just wanna scoop him up and take all his pain away. Poor Yuri.
There are depictions of rape throughout this series. There’s also incest (the Mayfair family tree doesn’t exactly fork at times). Aside from the rape and incest, there’s also events of a pre-teen engaging in sexual behavior with grown adults. And nobody seems to think this is a matter in which to involve Child Protective Services, for some reason.
It’s “consensual” and if you don’t know why I put that word in quotation marks, then I just don’t know about you. The only reason I thought to mention the word is so that you aren’t worried about violence against a kid. No children are forcibly assaulted or violently harmed in the series (that I remember).
Yeah, boy! We got rep for lesbians, for bisexuals, and for gays in this series! It’s introduced naturally in the story without apology, which I think was pretty damn progressive for a 90’s book.
So, to recap:
- The best part about the Mayfair Witches series is the backstory. And that’s fine, because that’s the bulk of the first two novels. The third novel is when the real action picks up.
- The main characters could have been better. But that’s my opinion. You might adore them for all I know. It’s important to note that even though I didn’t really like the MCs, I never thought this series would be a DNF (did not finish). What it lacked (for me) in likeable MCs, it more than made up for in history and mystery. (Ha! That rhymed.)
- Trigger warnings. There’s rape, incest, and a bunch of other questionable scenarios.
- LGBTQ representation. There’s a few characters in this novel that engage in same-sex relationships. Some are women, some are men, and it’s all presented in a natural, welcoming way. This is very important to me and I know it’s important to many other readers, as well.
(Of The Mayfair Witches Book Review)
Exits are on your left and right, unless you wanna check out these tips for fantasy writers before you go. Let me know what you think of this review and what else you would want to learn in a post like this.
If you feel like reading the Mayfair Witches series, you can buy the whole set for under $20 right here. I hope that something in this book review stood out to you, because this series is one of my favorites.
If you liked this book review, be sure to share it on Twitter or Facebook so your friends can check it out! And tell me your favorite part of this review in the comments! What made you most excited to read my favorite SFF book series?
Find out why this book review exists. Read the series!