For those of you who may or may not know, Amber Benson played Tara on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And she is the author of the new urban fantasy series The Witches of Echo Park. Amber Benson was doing a signing for the release of the first book in this new series at Challenger Comics in Chicago on January 9th.
A cool random tidbit is that we both share the same birthday of January 8th. I met her a few years ago at a convention, but in my excitement forgot to tell her this fact. But it ended up being even better that I got to tell her so close to our actual birthday! She wrote a super sweet message in my book (“Happy Birthday, Birthday Twin!”) and gave me a huge thing of cupcakes after I invited her to my party. She obviously didn’t attend (how cool would that be??? And also how embarrassing given how much Buffy memorabilia I have, ha!), but it was still amazing to meet her and take a couple selfies and profess my love. Naturally.
This novel was my first experience of her writing. I really enjoyed the way each chapter was from a different character’s POV. (This should be obvious given how much I enjoy the different POV style in ASOIF.) You get to know all of the characters on an intimate level this way. The story follows a young woman named Lyse, who travels to Echo Park after she learns that her Aunt Eleanora is dying of cancer. Through dreams, flashbacks, and these different POVs, Benson weaves the mysterious tale of Lyse learning the truth about her aunt’s powers and wrangling with not only the decision to join her coven, but also if she even believes in it all.
The novel felt mainly like an introduction into this world, so I’m curious to see where it all goes. It was basically Lyse and Eleanora’s origin story. I imagine Lyse will grow more confident over time and take the reigns as more danger comes for her and the coven. This story also made me want to visit Echo Park. It sounds like a beautiful, quaint little place. (Although I kept picturing Portland in its place since I have no visual for it, but perhaps I’m way off in that connection.) If you like magic, cooky witchy ladies, urban fantasy, and a wee bit of sexiness, you’ll enjoy this story. And again, thanks, Amber for the lovely message and selfie! You da best!
Pick up a copy of her book here or your local bookstore!