I was lucky enough to have been chosen to review this novel after winning the "Goodreads Giveaway" that was posted. I havne't dabbled too much in the supernatural romance, or any romance genre for that matter in almost all my years of reading, however I've alway been open to trying.
The Shoppe of Spells has several exquisit features to it, however there are also many things that I feel needs work.
One of the most important things that I look for in all the novels I read are very well rounded and developed characters. Shanon nailed this. The main characters of Morgan and Dorian are incredibly well developed, and really pull the reader into the world that she has crafted. The characters are very real, very believable, and really set the pace for the rest of the story. It was becuase of this character development that I wanted to continue reading, wanted to find out what happened, and cared about how the plot affected the characters. Even many of the minor characters, Morgan's family and Jenn (Morgan's best friend) were very well developed as well...which is even more rare to find!
Shanon's writing style is incredibly compelling and very descriptive. Her words and phrases allow a reader to paint an easy mental picture of the surroundings of The Shoppe of Spells, and breathe an incredible amount of life into this small, fictional village.
Though her genre and some of the ideas behind the story isn't exactly new or unseen, little elements she adds in definitely are. For example, there are small creatures that pop up in the story called the Gulatega, which are other dimensional beings that seep the life from humans. You can tell that there was much thought put into each aspect of the novel.
As far as the romance goes, I'm pleased to say that it was not overbearing in any way. There was one aspect when the two were together that seemed a little implausable, however it was all tastefully done. The focus of the novel not surrounding on the more carnal segments of the relationships, rather than the personal. Also, I must note, I am a man, so reading about very romantic or emotional characters is very different for me. So as the female audience my thrive on this aspect of the book, it made me ask myself if people in real life really are as emotional as I read in this book.
However, as well written, and original as this book is, it does have it's issues.
Even though we have our well developed characters and setting that they play within, the story lacks two main cores to keeping readers glued to the pages.
The first is that it lacks a really solid antagonist. The first one hundred pages of the novel really build the basis of believability to the world they exist in. But when conflict is introduced to our characters, it is almost as an afterthought. When we are introduced to the antagonist and his red herring, the issues between them and Morgan are very quickly, and anti-climatically resolved.
Which brings me to my second piece I feel the book lacks, a really solid conflict with said antagonist. A woman is kidnapped, brutally raped, and beaten in this book...and only a few paragraphs were dedicated to this, and a resolution to these few paragraphs given almost instantly. Morgan is kidnapped and drugged for days in one part of this book, and within a few pages the slate is wiped clean and the character acts as if nothing happened.
There is no struggle for the characters, there is no suspense built up for the readers. It is simple cause and instant effect. Good guys win, bad guys lose.
What I would have liked to have seen, and this is more from an editing perspective, is to have the conflict spread out through the entire book. Build my curiosity until I would have been dying to know how our characters escape from their life threatening predicament.
As for the end, once I found out that each book in the series was a stand alone novel focusing around different characters, and not a continuation of Morgan and Dorian's adventures I felt the end was completely fitting. It sums up the characters well, and puts the perfect closure to their story.
Though with everything above being said, this book was enjoyable to read, and when the second one comes out I would be interested in reading that, if only to see where she takes the characters. I definitely recommend this one to fans of the supernatural romance genre, and for those who are looking for something a little new. (less)
Joe Hill rocked this novel! One of my best on the whim finds I've had in a long, long while. The characters were expertly crafted, and genuinely belie...moreJoe Hill rocked this novel! One of my best on the whim finds I've had in a long, long while. The characters were expertly crafted, and genuinely believable. The scares were subtle and horrifying, giving me nightmares...and I never have nightmares after reading horror novels.
Though The Historian started off incredibly well, I found myself growing weary of the seemingly endless amount of letters that were hastily rehashed i...moreThough The Historian started off incredibly well, I found myself growing weary of the seemingly endless amount of letters that were hastily rehashed in the following chapter, allowing me to skim, and boring talk with little progress. It was around the end of part two/beginning of part three that I resorted to skimming the entire book, and completely guessing the ending. Worth a read if you have the time for it. But be warned, this goes into almost too much unnecessary detail. They could have easily trimmed 200 pages from this book, tightened it's flow, and you would have never known the difference.(less)