Middle books in trilogies tend to be at the point in the overall story arc where despite the heroes' and heroines' best efforts and triumphs along the way, their nemesis is gaining the upper hand.
So be prepared in “Black Moon,” the second book in Saratoga Springs author and blogger Teri Harman’s Moonlight Trilogy, for when a dark witch who should be dead uses disturbing spells in his lust for revenge and power.
“Black Moon” picks up a few months after the explosive ending in “Blood Moon.” Simon Howard and his girlfriend and soulmate, Willa Fairchild, both witches, are training with the more experienced members of their Light Covenant of good witches who have settled in Twelve Acres, Colorado, to use their magic while balancing university studies and their jobs. Willa is also trying to mend her relationship with her parents.
While each witch generally has power with one element, such as earth, water, fire or dreams, Simon has multiple gifts and is more powerful than the coven members have seen before. It also makes his magic more unpredictable, and Willa searches for answers about Simon’s magic.
Archard, the enemy who the Light Covenant members assumed was dead, quietly works on a plan to become more powerful by using some of the darkest magic known from the legendary writings of Bartholomew the Dark.
Mysterious earthquakes, disappearances and strange deaths put the dozen members of the Light Covenant on alert, but they frustratingly can’t quite pinpoint what is going on by using their usual sources and spells.
Interspersed throughout the story are flashbacks to parts of the dark witch Bartholomew’s life and the destruction he caused in the first century, as well as flashbacks to the life of young Chloe, a witch whose parents were killed by dark forces in the 1930s and who was adopted by nonmagical people. Both deftly leave clues to the twisting overall plot.
Harman has created an intriguing world where magic, which is used for both good and selfish tendencies, ghosts and moon phases are entwined in an adventure that sets up for the final book, "Storm Moon," which is due out in fall 2015.
Some background on the events of “Blood Moon” is scattered throughout “Black Moon,” but many details would be overlooked by a reader who hasn't read “Blood Moon” first.
The language is free from swearing, and the romance doesn't go beyond flirting and kissing. There are many deaths throughout the book, and while most of them are only generally described, a few, such as a woman being burned at the stake, can be disturbing along with the dark magic spells.
Harman is a regular contributor to KSL and ksl.com.
If you go ...
What: Teri Harman book signing
When: Saturday, Sept. 20, 7 p.m.
Where: Millcreek Community Library, 2266 E. Evergreen Ave., East Millcreek
Note: Places in the signing line are reserved for those who purchase a copy of the featured book from The King's English.
When: Saturday, Sept. 27, 3 p.m.
Where: Barnes and Noble, University Crossing, 330 E. 1300 South, Orem
When: Saturday, Oct. 4, 1-4 p.m.
Where: Barnes and Noble, McIntyre Center, 1104 E. 2100 South, Salt Lake City
When: Saturday, Oct. 11, 1 p.m.
Where: Barnes and Noble, Layton Market Center, 1780 N. Woodland Park Drive, Layton
When: Friday, Oct. 31, 7 p.m.
Where: Hastings, 50 E. 400 North, Logan
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