Devil's Playground

Devil's Playground

by Heather Eagar


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781621355465
Publisher: Astraea Press
Publication date: 07/10/2016
Pages: 230
Product dimensions: 5.24(w) x 7.99(h) x 0.52(d)
Age Range: 13 - 18 Years

About the Author

Heather has a bachelor's degree in psychology that she doesn't use (except to analyze those around her. So be careful...) and she enjoys racquetball, hiking, and collecting shot glasses (Which is ironic because she doesn't drink). Heather lives in Logan, Utah with her husband and two children. This is her debut novel.

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Devil's Playground 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
DiiMI More than 1 year ago
Salem, home of the infamous witch trials. Innocent people were hung, burned or bludgeoned. That’s the world Elizabeth grew up in, where one accusation could be deadly, and she had reason to fear, she was born a witch, but she knew nothing about magic or controlling it, and it could be her downfall in spite of her wanting to be the advocate for the falsely accused and to save their lives any way possible. What Elizabeth discovers is she is no heroine, her lack of control over her powers, her lack of training, is bringing more harm than good to Salem, her family and herself. Will she figure a way out of the nightmare she has secretly caused or will she be betrayed by the one boy she thought really cared about her? Devil’s Playground recounts the horrors of life during the Salem Witch Trials, where friend would turn on friend in order to save their own souls from the devil. Religious brainwashing by a zealot pastor with less than holy ideals and actions, the horrors of the times are relived in every word author Heather Eagar writes while keeping the gore to a minimum for young adult readers. Extremely well crafted, with scenes that bring the past to life from the sights to the smells, Ms. Eagar takes her readers to a an era of ugliness while giving us breathing characters, including one teen who wants desperately to save the world with her personal crusade, only to find it is far beyond what she is capable of and that even the best intentions can be deadly in untrained hands. Heather Eagar has a riveting tale to share that will enchant readers of all ages. I received this copy from Heather Eagar in exchange for my honest review.
ToManyBooksNotEnoughTime More than 1 year ago
I would like to thank Clean Reads Publishing & Heather Eagar for an e-book copy of this book to review. Though I received this e-book for free, that has no impact upon the honesty of my review. Goodreads Teaser: "Sixteen-year-old Elizabeth Winters may be a witch, but she doesn't know the first thing about magic. Her father, a wizard himself, has forbidden the use of her powers for her own protection. But when accusations of witchcraft start flying through Salem Village, Elizabeth wishes she was more prepared. Despite her lack of magical knowledge, Elizabeth appoints herself to save the innocent women from the untimely demise the village has in store for them. Elizabeth finds, however, that she is not the hero Salem needs her to be. When Elizabeth is betrayed by someone she trusts, she loses control of her emotions and unintentionally curses the village with the ten plagues of Egypt. Now, Elizabeth must figure out how to break the curse before the morning of the tenth plague—the plague of death. If she fails, Salem will cease to exist." Let's see, how to best review this book. I wish I could rave about it, but it fell pretty flat for me. Part of the problem I have with the story was my own fault, first for not anticipating that the author would pretty faithfully recreate the cause of the Salem witch trials, and second for not accurately recalling the ten plagues of Egypt. Had I remembered them I might not have felt so betrayed by what's written in the book teaser and in the book itself, for they are two different things. I suppose it could be argued that's it's simply a matter of degree, but that's not how it felt to me. But before we get to that, I'd like to talk about Elizabeth and some of the other characters. As protagonists go Elizabeth is alright, but she never quite reached me. I found that no matter how much I wanted to, I simply couldn't connect with her or get behind her emotionally. I may not have grown up in Salem during the height of the witch trials as a witch, but I certainly went through those awkward periods of not knowing how to control my own emotions, not understanding them. So I expected to have had more of a connection to her than I did. Anna, Elizabeth's younger sister, was entertaining. I actually found her to be a more sympathetic character in many ways. Her desire to be like her sister, that feeling of exclusion when she was barred from learning the same secret materials from their father - those emotions felt strong for me. They made her much more relatable, even though growing up I was the younger sibling and I had a brother rather than a sister. The Winters family was a shining point in the story, they way they hung tough in the face of danger and strife. Few other families came through the who witch trials ordeal as unscathed, and by that I don't mean physically but instead being true to who they were as a family. They never wavered from their convictions, and stayed faithful to each other and their beliefs. Only a few others could say the same by the end. The overall message of the story is a good one, and shared in an unusual and entertaining way. Though I missed some important connections with certain characters that doesn't mean other readers will. I felt that this was written more for middle grade readers than for older teens and young adults. That certainly doesn't mean they wouldn't enjoy it, just that it may hit the right notes with the slightly younger set.
GRgenius More than 1 year ago
This is a magical, witchy YA debut that takes us back to days gone by. It's familiar enough to place it among those titles you may have read before (considering how many books have been written about and around the Salem Witch Trials, it's no wonder), but twisted just so as to not be carbon copied. Elizabeth is a fine leading lady, even if she is young in years. Unfortunately for her, she's about to grow up FAST thanks to events she's only partially responsible for. Hey, if what happened to her happened to you and you didn't have proper training, I bet you'd have had a similar display of unbridled power unleashed...I know I would. *wink wink* After a whispered conversation in the woods and a lot of bad acting, the situation in town goes from pointing fingers and penance to judgment and death. It seems the children are best to tell the souls worthy or not, one of which happens to be the sister of actual witch and daughter of a warlock...and the Reverend's kin. Yes, things are about to get complicated and if they're not careful, the finger may be pointed right back at them, some of which deserve it but for reasons unclear until the time if right. The cast of characters continues from Elizabeth and her family. Some are worth noting, others we'll note only to say you should dismiss them because they are BEYOND foolish, BEYOND understanding, BEYOND forgiveness (mostly) and deserve everything they're about to get. Worthy of noting would be Sebastian, Elizabeth's crush and ultimately the reason for the curse. Is he merely a boy in love? A boy confused by what he sees versus believes? A boy seeking unnatural means to cure something unavoidable? Yeah...pretty much all of the above, but he broke my heart...I mean, Elizabeth's...more often than not (especially page 123) so I have no pity for him. Distinctly unworthy of note and yet we're noting them would be the Reverend himself. Let's just say the phrase "the deserving poor" was uttered... and well, I had a hard time biting my tongue. That's all I'm saying. In the end, the story is wildly entertaining, and well told. Our leading lady's voice rings loud and clear making it easy to fall right in step by her side as the good, bad, and the ugly unfold. I applaud the author's skill in staying true to her characters throughout the work, utilizing history to pin us to a time period but not overly so as to get too historical, and just plan having fun with it. It never felt forced, it all simply flowed like the magic Elizabeth held within. **review copy received in exchange for my honest review, full post can be seen on my site**
ReadersFavorite1 More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Melinda Hills for Readers' Favorite Elizabeth Waters is a young girl with a secret in Devil’s Playground by Heather Eagar, and in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692, that is not a good thing. During the rush to purge witches from Salem, Elizabeth gets caught up in trying to protect innocent women, but unwittingly unleashes problems that have dire consequences for her family and the town. In spite of her father’s cautioning to trust no one, Elizabeth is unable to hide her magical abilities and is left trying to change the course of actions that have been set in motion. With a town preacher sure that the devil is controlling women in the town and a magistrate not caring about proof or truth, Elizabeth feels responsible for protecting people who become caught up in the hysteria of the witch hunt. Biblical plagues, self-loathing, as well as old-fashioned hatred and revenge are potent forces making people behave in ways that turn neighbor against neighbor. Trying to do what is right is not always the easiest thing, especially when confronted with surprises that provide an explanation for what is really going on. Devil’s Playground by Heather Eagar is a fresh new look at the events known as the Salem witch trials. From the point of view of a first person account, you are immediately drawn into the action and feel the pressure of keeping a devastating secret along with the frustration of feeling powerless to help. Well written with a variety of characters with their own hidden motivations, the story speeds along with hope, despair, and the threat of the ultimate sacrifice. Well worth reading, this engaging tale adds a new dimension to the standard witch hunt genre.
Lost-N-Love-N-Hopeless More than 1 year ago
YA Fantasy that will captivate your senses and take you back in time. . . I could literally feel the magic in the air. The words on the pages gave an aura of realism in each phrase. I felt line I was back in the Salem Witch Trials. I took my time reading this one but it still was not slow enough. I was done and it was all over. I eagerly await more. This was a very good YA Fantasy read. I have had the pleasure of greatly enjoying this debut offering from Heather Eagar. Elizabeth was in no way your typical sixteen-year-old. She was a witch. Not allowed to practice her craft. She was living in a time when witches were feared, misunderstood. She finds a way around the father's decree of no magic use. With the rampid accusations flying around Salem, Elizabeth found that she needed to do something. But was her something the thing that was needed by the town. Jump in to this magical read of a brave sixteen-year-old girl and her attempts to make a difference in her community. This was not your typical read that you could predict 90% of what was coming around the corner for you. You will enjoy this journey you will share with Elizabeth, her family, and the community of Salem. **This ARC was provided from Heather Eagar in exchange for an honest review.**
Theresa_F More than 1 year ago
Free book for honest review. Elizabeth Winters lives in Salem Village in Massachusetts Bay Colony in the year 1692, the year of the infamous Salem Witch Trials during which twenty-four people were slaughtered in the Puritan community on suspicion of, and fear of, witchcraft. Elizabeth is a witch, who, at sixteen years of age hasn’t a clue about her powers. What she knows is that her father is a wizard in hiding from persecution endured in Europe and that her family members are refugees living among the Puritans in Salem Village. Be that as it may, Elizabeth is curious about her powers and experiments with them even when it seems her only magical talent is starting fires accidentally. Faced with Elizabeth’s curiosity, her father begins to teach her how to control her magic by controlling her emotions. However, she is young, with strong uncontrollable emotions, and has a jealous younger sister named Anna who wants magical powers but does not have them. When another mysterious witch stirs fear of witch craft in Salem causing innocent people to be killed, Elizabeth is outraged. She protests loudly and directly and engages in a contest of wills with Reverend Parris, the Village Pastor and Judge Hathorne who has been commissioned to rid Salem of witches. Unfortunately, her knowledge of her powers and her ability to control her emotions are no match for her anger and zeal to protect the innocent. What follows forces Elizabeth to face her fears and her immaturity as she confronts Parris and Hathorne, and more importantly, confronts a stronger witch who is causing the problems; a person that in her wildest dreams she would never have recognized as a witch. This is an awesome story about a teenage girl growing up and taking on responsibility for her family and her community. It highlights the ignorance and paranoia common in that community in that age, but it has implications in any place or time in which young people must grow into responsible adults and face down ignorance and persecution of others. The characters are believable each with their private thoughts and motivations, fears and envy, and each knowing they put those emotions aside for the greater good. This story should appeal to a wide range of readers from fantasy enthusiasts to every school girl struggling to deal with real world realities. 5-stars Clabe Polk
Kristina Oden More than 1 year ago
Non-Spoiler Review - Devil’s Playground revolves around sixteen-year-old Elizabeth Winters who even though may be a witch, but doesn’t know the first thing about magic. Her father, a wizard himself, has forbidden the use of her powers for her own protection. But when accusations of witchcraft start flying through their Salem Village Elizabeth attempts to save the innocent women from the horrible demise the village has in store. I found Devil’s Playground by Heather Eagar wonderfully written. The Salem Witch trials were a dark time in American history. During this “Witch Hysteria” people feared that the Devil was trying to find ways to infiltrate and destroy Christians and their communities. The storyline was well plotted and what made it all the more scary was that it came across as quite realistic. Whether you love them or absolutely hate them, Heather Eagar’s intricate characters completely draw you in. Thank you for giving me an outstanding story with characters that have stayed with me long after the end of the book. If Devil’s Playground was meant to capture the struggle of what we view as TRUE good and evil then the author has very much succeeded.
AmberParanormallover More than 1 year ago
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review by the author. The author takes you on an unexpected, and very realistic journey filled with magic, danger, and survival. Free up your time, because this one will keep you up all night. This book was impossible to put down! I loved this book thoroughly. This book had me from page one. This read was so compelling, and I found myself so addicted to the book that I lost track of time. It was one of those books where you sink in, and don't come out of it till 5:00 am. I am amazed with this authors work already. This debut author has literally made my night/day. I am stunned by how realistic all the magic was, and everything else as well. Everything I went through in this book was nothing but pure awesome sauce. Survival, family, magic, and some really unexpected moments that left me baffled, yet totally in sync with the book. In the end it gracefully pulled itself together. Not only was this book beautifully written, but also worth way more than 5 stars easy. If I could rate it 10 stars I would.
HailleMichelle More than 1 year ago
If you love the reading about Salem witch trials and the book the crucible, then this is the book for you. This book was amazingly well written, and I love the characters. While the characters are flawed and have issues, the fit with the story and setting really well. This story kept me on the edge and kept ms turning pages the entire Time. I loved it. Highly recommend to everyone