Harley Merlin and the Secret Coven is the first of an as-yet incomplete series of at least nine books. In the beginning, Harley works at a casino spotting card cheats, though no one knows why she is so good at it and she intends to keep that secret. However, an after-work encounter with a gargoyle of all things leads to her meeting another person with extraordinary talents. His name is Wade and he introduces her to the San Diego Coven and the knowledge that there are magical people all over the world.

This is all new to her. She grew up in foster homes with no knowledge of the magical world. And now she learns she is just one of many. She has an extraordinary complement of powers, telekinesis, empathy, and control of all the elements. However, she is classified as a Mediocre. She has powers, but not very strong ones. Still, the teachers at the coven work with her to better control and use her powers.

Of course, it’s all not so simple as it seems. The magical beasts like gargoyles are escaping the bestiary and someone is sabotaging the coven. Harley and friends are on the case.

Someone mentioned Harley Merlin’s series as a great source for folks who loved Harry Potter. I think that does the series a disservice as it brings it into comparison with a cultural movement. Harry Potter is a series that grows over time, the characters age in the series. Harley Merlin’s series keeps the characters more or less the same age throughout, aging months, not years.

Nonetheless, the plot is exciting, there is a villain that will drive the story over several books, and they grow in their powers and their understanding of their power. The characters develop greater depth and interest over time. I enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more in the series.

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