March 22, 2013

Review: Spellcaster

Spellcaster First in a trilogy
By Claudia Gray
Available now from HarperTeen (HarperCollins)

When Claudia Gray's EVERNIGHT first came out, I saw it on the now defunct HarperTeen First Look sight.  But I didn't pick it up then.  I picked it up last year, when the e-copy was free and the series was complete.  And let me tell you that series worked beautifully when I could read the books one after another like six heaping handfuls of popcorn.  I was a little nervous reading SPELLCASTER now because what if I wanted the next book immediately?  I'd have to wait a year!

I will totally be waiting.  Gray manages to pull the rug out from under the reader at the last second, setting things up for an even bigger confrontation in the next book.  But what is contained within SPELLCASTER is a pretty fantastic handful of popcorn.

Nadia and her family are in a car wreck the instant they come to town, but luckily the extremely hot Mateo is there to save them.  Oh, to be a YA heroine.  Nadia and Mateo both have secrets.  Nadia is a witch and now that her mother has abandoned the family she'll remain untrained.  Mateo can see the future and is going to go insane just like everyone else in his family.  Also, there's something horrible inside the town strangling it from within.  Okay, maybe I don't want to be a YA heroine.

I'd tell you all about my favorite character, but I've forgotten all about her.  So does everyone else.  It's kind of a thing.  And I adore every time she pops up and goes, "Guys, I am still here.  Stop making moon eyes at each other."  She is the best and sadly pushed to the side all the time.   Luckily the narrative realizes that sidelining her is horrible - even when Nadia and Mateo don't - and is clearly angling to let her be noticed by book three.

If there was one thing I didn't like about SPELLCASTER, it was the villain point of view.  I would've preferred learning the information in those scenes when Nadia did instead of having it handed to me.  The villain scenes felt like a crutch.  Plus, they took away from the villain.  They were revealed to be so petty and fallible that they didn't seem as formidable as they should have.

But that's a pretty small quibble.  SPELLCASTER is the type of paranormal romance I can gobble down easily.  Friendship and family life balance out the thrill of meeting someone new.  The danger is rarely forgotten and not easily defeated.  And the heroine is willing to trust herself to find a way to triumph.  Also, Gray's twist on spellcasting is really nifty and poetic.  So, when is book two going to be available again?


  1. This is a great review, and I loved the bit about the forgotten character - sold! It's always a risk when you have the villain point of view, sometimes it works and sometimes it just doesn't.

    1. I love a good, chilling villain POV but I wasn't feeling this one.

  2. I almost never like villain POVs--they rarely add anything to the story. I actually DNFd this one because there were too many POVs for my enjoyment, actually, though I do like this author and will keep trying other books. I liked Evernight, too, although so many of my friends did not.

    I'm glad you enjoyed this, though!

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

    1. I would've liked Evernight for the twist alone.

      I can deal with a bunch of POVs, but I definitely think Spellcaster would've been far better if it just cut the villain POV. (Which would've left it at three narrators, I think?)


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