Thursday, February 23, 2012

ARC Review: Spellcaster

Title: Spellcaster
Author: Cara Lynn Schultz
Genre: YA Fantasy, Romance, Paranormal
Release Date: March 27th

Finding your eternal soulmate - easy.

Stopping a true-love-hungry evil - not so much…

After breaking a centuries-old romantic curse, Emma Connor is (almost) glad to get back to normal problems.'s not easy dealing with the jealous cliques and gossip that rule her exclusive Upper East Side prep, even for a sixteen-year-old newbie witch. Having the most-wanted boy in school as her eternal soul mate sure helps ease the pain-especially since wealthy, rocker-hot Brendan Salinger is very good at staying irresistibly close....

But something dark and hungry is using Emma and Brendan's deepest fears to reveal damaging secrets and destroy their trust in each other. And Emma's crash course in ├╝ber-spells may not be enough to keep them safe…or to stop an inhuman force bent on making their unsuspected power its own.

Spellcaster has all the makings of a great story--romance, drama, action, and the supernatural. What most particularly strikes my fancy is the backstory, the reincarnated soul mates, and it makes for a cute modern love story.

However, this is where it starts to fall apart for me, too. I like the premise, and the story itself is engaging and enjoyable--but the characters almost destroy it on my end. I wanted more “oomph” from them. There were annoyances, and things I couldn’t understand other than petty excuses.

To start, I was generally surprised overall. I thought that Spellbound--the first book to this new series by Cara Lynn Schultz-- was going to be a stand-alone since it had wrapped up so nicely (and honestly, it would be nice to have the occasional stand-alone in the sea of series in YA from time to time), but it was late 2011 when I found out about its sequel, Spellcaster. I couldn’t help but become curious as to where Ms. Schultz would take the storyline after the solid ending of the first.

I will say that this being the sequel to Spellbound, it was better I think as far as the writing and action went--but the characterization was not any better. I had hoped there would be more pick-up and focus on the characters for this one, and while it seems the author was trying to focus on them more for Spellcaster, it just ended up falling flat for me. I tried so hard to understand Emma’s motives, but more often than not, I couldn’t half the time. During some of the major dramatic moments, the annoyances were that Emma would lose focus and be concerned about making Brendan mad or keeping something a secret from him, etc… I couldn’t help but wonder a few times if that relationship sounded healthy. Speaking of the relationship in general--even from the first book, Spellbound, I still felt disconnected between the two of them. After finishing Spellcaster, I still felt like I didn’t know either one very well, other than the minimal descriptions and the fact that Emma thinks Brendan is “soooo hot” and he deejays sometimes at clubs and events. This really bothers me. Does the boy like to read? What’s his favorite color? Does he have any strange quirks or flaws?

Angelique is another tough one to follow with. She hates Brendan. It’s said so constantly. But why? Because he’s hot and rich? That’s just petty and too simple in my opinion, and I think the author did a bad job of building this tension up sorry. I would have liked to know more about this and why she hated him so much, or I would have rather not heard about it at all. At one point there is a small explanation other than the “hot and rich” point, and I get it so-so, but it’s quick and it’s not a full explanation to her hatred of her best friend’s boyfriend. I do like the growth toward the end where they FINALLY build somewhat of a friendly interaction and start to get along. This was a nice resolution and I was satisfied with that.

The villain(s) didn’t give me enough “creep” factor or make enough of an impact to leave an impression. I did like the author’s idea behind attacks with the witchcraft build around the storyline--it made for drama and action, so it wasn’t terrible at all.

So yes, I have my nitpicks. Is it a bad read? No.
Would I recommend it? Yes, most particular to teens ages 13-18 and anyone who enjoys the genre or read the first book, Spellbound, and enjoyed it.

I still read through this one quickly. It engaged me. I flipped through the pages with ease, wondering what was coming next.

Hmm… maybe it cast its own spell on me.

3 stars!




  1. I have this one from NG. I'm glad you liked it, but bummed you didn't love it more. I hope I enjoy reading it. Thanks for an honest review.

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