Monday, June 20, 2011

Review: Spellbound by Cara Lynn Schultz

Cara Lynn Schultz
June 28, 2011

Received ARC from NetGalley
Goodreads Page
Amazon Page
Grade: B

Summary (from publisher): What's a girl to do when meeting The One means she's cursed to die a horrible death?

Life hasn't been easy on sixteen-year-old Emma Conner, so a new start in New York may be just the change she needs. But the posh Upper East Side prep school she has to attend? Not so much. Friendly faces are few and far between, except for one that she's irresistibly drawn to—Brendan Salinger, the guy with the rock-star good looks and the richest kid in school, who might just be her very own white knight.

But even when Brendan inexplicably turns cold, Emma can't stop staring. Ever since she laid eyes on him, strange things have been happening. Streetlamps go out wherever she walks, and Emma's been having the oddest dreams: visions of herself in past lives—visions that warn her to stay away from Brendan. Or else.

Review: I don’t have terribly strong feelings one way or another on Spellbound. It has all the hallmarks of current paranormal - and even contemps - YA, and they aren’t arranged in a particularly new way, but even when bits of it made me think of Fallen or Beautiful Darkness or even Twilight, Spellbound felt fresher than it probably should have.

Emma’s an intriguing and well-written character who thankfully doesn’t fall into the traps of typical paranormal heroines - at first. She’s a strong, sarcastic, and thoughtful teenager who actually questions the odd set of circumstances that fate (or whatever) is handing her. There’s love at first sight, yes, but I enjoyed the fact that Emma started as simply curious about Brendan, wanting to know more about him and actually get to know him before falling in love. Sadly the later part of the part erases this thoughtfulness and makes Emma simply another girl who only focuses on her love interest.

The mythos of the reincarnation of the main characters is actually very interesting, and I enjoyed the fact that it was research that revealed it instead of a handed down letter or papers that just happened to be stumbled over in the crannies of a wall. It’s an old Buffy trick, sure, but research does hold all the answers.

Brendan’s possibly the weakest point of the book. He’s certainly described well, but his characterisation is very fragile. While Emma is developed beyond the typical paranormal heroine, Brendan doesn’t get the same treatment. He’s simply “the love interest” who appears to only exist to fulfill that role. Sadly the charaterisation of the original incarnation of the love interest is better than the 21st century one.

In conclusion, Spellbound’s a fluffy little book with engaging characters and better writing than I expected. If there’s a sequel - the galley contains what looks like a chapter or two of a sequel featuring Angelique - I’ll be reading it in hopes that some of the paranormal tropes are avoided as the author develops.

Copy provided by NetGalley for review.

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