Stephanie's Reviews > Spellcaster

Spellcaster by Cara Lynn Shultz
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Jan 16, 2012

really liked it
Read on January 13, 2012

Last year Spellbound, the first book in the Spellbound series by Cara Lynn Schultz was one I picked up at the first day of the Book Expo. I loved it and read it all the first night even though my feet throbbed and I was so hot and tired I wanted sleep more than a teenaged boy wants sex. Yes, it was very "high school" but Schultz gives authentic feeling voices to the teenage characters in the book, and it is well-plotted and well written, lacking those airs of adults thinking they get teens. (MY REVIEW)

Emma finds herself in circumstances 180° from where her life was heading before it all went to Hell.
Spellbound brought it all around to a place whence the two young love interests could move on. We pick the story up about four months after the last book ended. Emma and Brandon, are blissfully happy, quite gooey in their love. But in a book early bliss indicated a rocky road ahead.

The story had many currently fashionable literary elements and some tropes common to YA Romance. One such is the above mentioned Happiness Cannot Last Because Someone Is Going to Muck It Up. In this case the muckraker is external to the relationship, but wants the power granted by their love. There are a few things that seemed ripped from the headlines and others thaI have seen in other books lately. When you do read the story I would love to know if you see these plot devices too. There was, in particular a scene in the school library that reminded me a lot of scene in the school library in Kiss of Frost by Jennifer Estep. Another part reminds me of a plot point in Chris Bohjalian's last book and that I seem to believe I also read or saw quite recently elsewhere as well. Freaky!

One thing Cara does that I like is recognize the powerful sexual urges teens have; the temptations and struggles they go through. She walks a line with Brendan and Emma, in a committed relationship but choosing self control. But she doesn't pretend it isn't there. A lot of the story involves Brandon's sexual past. Those earlier choices can come and bite you in the ass. The problem facing our young couple is a bit like an STD only magical and vindictive rather than biological. But they are dealing with magic and in the real world where today's kids live reputation, STDs or an infant are the more likely outcomes. So for parents this is a great opportunity to indirectly bring up this issue.
Just saying.

The story gives me enough in the way of suspense that I am really NOT certain what is going to happen or at times what decision will be made. The characters and their relationships grow and change as they discover their strengths, weakness and their real characters under assumptions.I particularly enjoyed Emma holding her own against Brendan, and the friendship between Angelique and Emma as well how her relationship with Brendan changes.

I am a sucker for the sentimental and a theme like this, true love and all, will get me every time.

People familiar with NYC will enjoy Shultz's atmospheric touches and I particularly enjoyed the trip to the Cloisters to see the Unicorn Tapestries.

For fans of teen PNR this is a must read, better with Spellbound under your belt though!

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