Devil's Playground


Young Adult - Fantasy - General
235 Pages
Reviewed on 04/07/2016
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Heather Eagar currently resides in Logan, Utah where she strives to balance her love of writing with raising a husband and two kids. Devil's Playground is her debut novel, but it will not be her last. She is currently working on the second book in the series. Heather is also a book reviewer and you can find reviews for Middle-grade fiction through Adult novels on her website, www.heatheraeagar.com.

    Book Review

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.

Heather Eagar

I want to thank Readers' Favorite for this wonderful review! Devil's Playground was so fun to write and my readers have made it even more fun. THANK YOU!!!

Colleen O'Felein

If you liked THE CRUCIBLE, you'll love this YA re-imagining of the Salem Witch Trials.

Elizabeth is sixteen, and she and her family have been hiding the fact that she's a witch her entire life. There's a good reason: they live in Salem, and it's the late 1600's. Theocracy rules, and any citizen who stands out seems not only peculiar but suspicious. The town is religiously extreme, isolated, and one false accusation of witchcraft away from mass hysteria, which is where DEVIL'S PLAYGROUND opens.

Ever wonder what would've happened during the Salem Witch Trials if there actually WERE a witch in town? I know I did. DEVIL'S PLAYGROUND serves up some well-imagined supernatural justice without destroying the emotionally unsettling mob-mentality phenomenon in 17th century Salem Village. With all of the historically accurate figures playing their role, Eagar injects into the town an actual witch, whose most "supernatural" facet at times is ironically, her reason.

With a touch of romance, plenty of action, and more than one heart-rending betrayal, DEVIL'S PLAYGROUND is a great supernatural YA read that had me glued to the pages.

For me, DEVIL'S PLAYGROUND fixed something emotional that THE CRUCIBLE had broken. 5 stars.

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The Book Junkie Reads

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.*

juliesbookreview.blogspot

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.

Cozette

I love love loved this book! I started it and couldn't stop. I just stayed up all night reading it. My iPad is on 5% now! The characters are interesting and 3 dementional. I would recommend this to anyone! Now to bed!

Levi

I enjoyed reading Devil’s Playground (although at first I was hesitant to read this book, due to the name of the title), it was a nice young adult novel. As I began the book I thought it was okay and I was able to easily put it down (as perhaps with any book, as one begins to get to know the characters and the setting). However, the more I read, the more I needed to keep reading because I wanted to know the whole story. The plot of a young witch learning more about witchcraft and trying to protect her family had many twists and turns. I felt I had the ending figured out, but I was wrong, it surprised me. I was happy with the ending, but I was also torn by what did not happen. I felt the characters of the book were genuine or consistent with who they were. It was also fun to see this world of magic and learn of its rules. I read some other reviews who mention the language is modern, which is true and it was a bit distracting once in a while, but I was fine with that. Overall I enjoyed this book and recommend it as a fun, enjoyable young adult read.

R. Child

I was given this book for an honest review. I'm an avid reader and love the super natural genre. This was a really fun refreshing take on the Salem witch trials, in which the real witch is actually a good god-fearing person, that seeks to help the accused. You fall in love with Elizabeth as she seeks to learn more about her magic and the trials she endures along the way to try to stop the trials from happening. It seems that chaos ensues no matter how hard she tries to do good, but no matter what happens she keeps trying and learning along the way. I loved the storyline, as it felt new in a genre that has been repeatedly done.

I'm giving it 3 stars because I felt that I needed to be taken back to the era a little more. I felt like the speech and tone was a little too modern. I also wanted to love the romance between Sebastian and Elizabeth more, but just had a hard time connecting with it. Overall, it was a very enjoyable, clean YA read. I think this is a great first book from author, Heather Eagar and eager to see what more she comes out with!

Angie

I received this as a gift and was so thrilled that I did! I absolutely loved this book.
I adore historical fiction and since this book took place during the Salem Witch Trials, I couldn't put it down. It has referenced to true-life people, and it got me thinking about possible situations that could have actually happened in their daily lives.
The writing was so descriptive and vivid, I was able to clearly see in my mind what the author was portraying. It was so fun to get to experience what the 16 yr old Elizabeth Winters was able to experience. Her discovery of magic and her family's history in magical things.
Is she truly a witch? READ IT!!!
I had dreams about these characters, they became so real in my mind and heart. I grew close to Elizabeth's family and felt her emotions. Truly gifted author. I anxiously and IMPATIENTLY await the next installment.

Kristina

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.

Ly G

I sometimes find it difficult to read historical fiction because my brain has trouble forgetting the history of an event and losing myself in the fiction part. It can be especially hard with something like Salem when you know that people were hung and crushed to death and now it is part of a book you are supposed to enjoy reading.

All that said I did actually enjoy this book a lot. Elizabeth is a hot mess. She's 16 and has hormones and magic and no control over either. After she accidentally sets a church pew on fire her father finally agrees to try and help her learn control. Unfortunately, she might not ever actually learn it, and until she does everyone she loves is in jeopardy.

Elizabeth makes a lot of mistakes but always has a good heart. She is bumbling through, but trying to do her best to make sure that every one is taken care of, even if they might not deserve to be. I don't know how you can not love Elizabeth. Her journey is well worth the read and written well enough I forgot to be horrified that it is historical fiction and not just a fun jaunt.

*I received this book through Clean Reads in exchange for an honest review.

Amber

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.

Haille Mckown

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

Anna

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank You!
This book was amazing, and I wished there was more of it! I hope there is a sequel. I cannot get over how fun of a story this was I enjoyed it very much. I love the Salem Witch Trials so I knew how the accused Witches were killed, I found this book to be decently accurate.

Kris Saluga

This is one of the best books about the witch madness of Salem I have read in a long long time. I had a flood of emotions as I was kept on the edge of my seat. Told through the eyes of a true 16 year old witch, the Witch Hunt of Salem takes on a new life and perspective. I want more by this author!!!! Give me more please!!!!

Kristina R.

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.

Janice Sommer

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Devil's Playground. It is fast paced and well written. She developed the characters well and made me care about what happened to them. It kept me wondering what would happen next with some twists and turns that I did not expect! It is a fascinating subject that even though was fiction, pulled me into the story from the first page!