Sarah's Reviews > Spell Bound

Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins
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** spoiler alert ** I'm tempted to say this book was doomed from the start.

First there was the dreaded 'uber-optimistic' tag. Full disclosure: that label frequently spells DOOM, yet I keep slapping it around. Shame on me. :P As if that wasn't enough, there was the way I loved books 1 & 2. Surely Spellbound was destined for the same disappointment as Libba Bray's The Sweet Far Thing, which also followed on the heels of two books I adored. But in the case of The Sweet Far Thing, I couldn't help but admire Bray's willingness to "go there" -- i.e., that place beyond anything I brainstormed after Book 2. I didn't like some of her choices, but I still closed the book with a sense of satisfied completion.

Unfortunately, I can't say the same about Spellbound. It wasn't terrible beyond belief, but I just couldn't connect with it. I enjoyed the interaction between Sophie & Elodie. I'm also interested in Izzy's future with Torin -- he was rude & snarky & would make an intriguing fish-out-of-water love interest. I didn't even mind Cal's resolution, per se. That closing visual of him by the pond fits his character very well.

But the humor that sparkled in the first two books felt forced in #3. Sophie barely opens her mouth unless it's to say something humorous. True, it's a trait she always embraced, but in the past she knew when to shut up & be serious. I didn't see that here -- which is odd, given the serious undercurrent of the plot. Likewise, it doesn't seem like her relationship with Archer has matured since the other books...and I agree with another reviewer who asked why the council would willingly give her such a position of power when she's barely 17. And what's with that battle for control of her powers? (view spoiler)

Overall, this book felt rushed -- as if the author dumped all her plot ideas into one kettle, then stirred like a madwoman until everything was blended into 300-page gravy. For all that goes on in Spellbound, it should have been twice as long as the others (like The Sweet Far Thing :P), or even split into two installments. Either way, there was too much going on. The first section rushes through revelations about Sophie's mother's family (was that really necessary?), leaving barely enough time for a cameo from Sophie's dad (an insultingly wham-bam treatment of someone we spent so much time getting to know in Book 2), before inexplicably shoveling everyone back to school...only to have them escape yet again & make an utterly WTF journey to the Underworld -- the possibility of which has never been mentioned until midway through this particular book, therefore smelling of deus-ex-machina. Follow that with a spottily-described epic battle & some help from the all-knowing Tome O' Magical Awesomeness...yeah, you can probably guess my reaction. (Hint: it looked something like o___O.)

My conclusion is the author bit off more than she could chew with three fast-reading novels.
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Comments (showing 1-11 of 11) (11 new)

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Ferdy Archer or Cal?? I'm a Cal girl myself:)

Jessica I didn't realize it was out!! Still need to read the second one...

Sarah Jessica wrote: "I didn't realize it was out!! Still need to read the second one..."

Slacker. *scoffs* But I think it came out in March or something, so it's not been out long. ;)

Ferdy wrote: "Archer or Cal?? I'm a Cal girl myself:)"

That's a toughie! I really like both of them. *thinks* Archer has a dryer sense of humor, so I guess I'd lean toward him...but you can't go wrong with either. :D

Ferdy How did I know you'd say Archer..Lol, I actually like Archer but just prefer Cal a little more. Usually in love triangle I love one of the guys and hate the other but I can't help but like both Archer and Cal..I think it's because their both nice guys with Archer just being a bit sarcastic rather than a fully feldged bad boy..I know he's a memeber of The Eye but it's always been obvious to me that he's not a real bad guy.

Sarah Hahaha. Yes, I tend to prefer the snarky bad-boys. Or the strong & silent bad-boys. Either one works...I just like a bit of edginess. :D

I never bought Archer as a 'baddie' either. He was too disapproving of Elodie's bullshit to be a true antagonist. I do like Cal, though; I'm sad that they can't both have a HEA with Sophie. They're both good love interests & that's so very rare in the abundance of Love Triangles.

Ferdy I didn't like the whole Underworld deffo stank of deus-ex-machina. The first two books were better than this was like R.Hawkins couldn't be bothered anymore and just wanted to finish it..hence the lazy writing.

message 7: by Sarah (last edited May 22, 2012 01:01PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sarah Yeah, the Underworld thing could've been cool...except it was a total deus-ex-machina. I didn't even understand why they 'had' to go there -- that stupid WTF spell was going to reverse everything anyhow. And that 'epic battle' was so disappointing -- we never got to, y'know, SEE IT. But then the Brannick storyline? They served no purpose whatsoever except to shove Sophie into some lame-ass Mary Sue role.

You're right -- total lazy writing cop-out. Clearly she's already focused on her next series.

Ferdy I saw the Sophie/Brannick connection coming..and I don't get why it was kept hidden..her mum just gave some lame excuse. I was disappointed with the Underworld and the battle..I hate when books emphasise how hard/impossible/difficult something's going to be and how no-one's done it before but then when it comes to it, the characters more or less breeze through everything and suffer no consequences form doing the otherwise impossible. Like you, I only rated it higher because I really enjoyed the first 2 books..there were such fun, light reads and the characters were so easy to like but I like it mostly because there was no teenage angst..which is all you seem to get in YA series though.

Sarah Ferdy wrote: "I hate when books emphasise how hard/impossible/difficult something's going to be and how no-one's done it before but then when it comes to it, the characters more or less breeze through everything and suffer no consequences form doing the otherwise impossible. "

WORD. -____- I enjoyed the lightness of the first two books as well -- it wasn't a fluffy nonsensical lightness, but a saucy irreverance for the genre...which was severely lacking in this installment, even with all the moments of forced humor.

And I still can't get over how rushed everything was. Meh.

Basuhi I felts so too, Sarah. Like everything was forced, may it be humor or any other conversation. And I found the ending abrupt. It was like Ms Hawkins was very eager to get it done with.
Nice review.

Sarah Thanks. :)

And yeah, totally disappointing. I loved the first two books but this one was just...forced & bland & a let-down.

Have you tried the spin-off series? I've not been brave enough.

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