Jenn's Reviews > Spellcaster

Spellcaster by Cara Lynn Shultz
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Mar 27, 12

bookshelves: e-book, own, review-written
Read in March, 2012

RECEIVED FROM: Net Galley For Review


***NOTE MY REVIEWS OFTEN CONTAIN SPOILERS***


Emma and Brendan though their troubles were over, they’d broken a centuries old curse, and they were reunited with their true love. What they didn’t know was how powerful true love is for a dark witch. What they didn’t know is when their school photos, Emma’s featuring her wearing her necklace that she’d lost the night in the park that they’d almost died, appeared in multiple New York City publications because of the event, it was like posting a billboard to every threatening witch in the city that they were soul mates. The fame they’d gotten over surviving Anthony’s attack was like putting a target on their back and now someone has come to take a shot. Someone dark and powerful wants their blood for the power it can offer them and they’re willing to do anything to get it. But can they figure out who’s after them, Emma specifically, before it’s too late? And even if they do can they stop a force that evil?

Now I know I said I wanted another Spellbound series novel in my last review, but I wanted a story for Angelique. I wanted for everything with Emma and Brendan to be good for now. Instead it’s his past crimes and her past lives coming back to haunt them all over again. I’m starting to wonder if that book Hadrian’s Medieval Legends, is all about Emma Conner’s past lives. But still Shultz has offered a good story, well written fast paced and engrossing. I’ll admit at first I had a little trouble getting into it. No, I wasn’t ready to let the characters of Emma and Brendan go, but at the same time I’m not a big fan of those series where the same couple just can’t seem to win. Eventually the stories run dry with those series and you start to think they might be better off breaking up and moving on. So when I first started reading and learned Emma and Brendan had trouble again it took me a bit to get into the story. Not to mention the opening itself didn’t grip me as fast as Spellbound did. But as I got further into the story I definitely hooked pouring though pages to learn what happened. This story wasn’t really a romance, more of I guess you’d say urban fantasy. The couple has already been established and it’s not one of those roller coasters where they’re torn apart and get back together over and over again. This story focuses more on Emma coming into her powers and fighting for those she loves. It’s a story of I guess you’d say growing up. In this story Emma doesn’t rely on Brendan to protect her, she becomes a stronger person, a fighter in her own right. One thing I loved about the story is Emma’s journey to strength doesn’t cause her to lose the boy she loves. The story is told in a first person narrative, but it offers two different viewpoints. It opens in the viewpoint of the as of that point unidentified enemy before moving into Emma’s point of view. However though the story is told primarily by Emma, Angelique gets her turn telling the tale as well which I thought was really neat. Well most of the time, there’s a scene toward the end where I’d have liked to have stayed with Emma, and I feel it would have been more intense and dramatic had Shultz done so, but for the most part I liked moving into Angelique’s very unique point of view. The book is packed with magical exciting scenes filled with danger. It does include some teenage romance moments of the physical sense, however it stays in the PG-13 range with those without crossing into adult territory. While I’m a little skeptic that things would have played out that way with real teenagers, I like the moral message being sent by the scenes. Shultz makes it clear that even if you’re in love or believe you are you don’t have sex before you’re ready and if you can’t talk about it you aren’t ready. I remember being a teen and obsessing over sex but not even able to say the word, back when intercourse was commonly referred to as “it” as in doing “it” and your face turning a million shade of red if anyone actually asked you to define “it”. I think everyone has been in that stage of maturity and Shultz is correct with the old adage if you can’t say what “it” is you aren’t ready to be engaging in “it”. While some of the humor in the beginning fell a little flat with me for example when Emma tells Brendan he’s a milkshake, the book was still filled with laugh out loud funny commentary. Emma doesn’t have as much of a sarcastic edge as she did before she fell in love, but she’s still got some of that entertaining sarcasm that makes hearing the story from her point of view so entertaining. One of the things I do love about this series is the way the tales from the book are brought into reality, almost as if it was written as a warning to Emma and her friends. It’s not as good as Spellbound in my opinion but it’s still a great book. The idea was more original than the first story and almost as engaging.

Like with her first novel Shultz offers well developed and mostly realistic characters, if you accept the idea that the paranormal elements of the story are real that is. Emma may have her dream guy but she’s still got her share of insecurities. She’s still got that fear that soul mate or not Brendan is eventually going to walk away. She also experiences major character growth in this novel which was impressive. Angelique’s feelings on Brendan start to make sense and she also grows as a character as she begins to move past them. And then Brendan, who’s ancestor has made him into Mr. Perfect finally becomes not so perfect because his insecurities and regrets really start to come out in this novel. However I will say if we’re going to see another Brendan and Emma story I’d like to see something through his eyes next time. The villain is fairly well developed as well as many other secondary characters.

Overall I’d highly recommend this well written sequel to Spellbound. As with the last story it features a full story arc which leaves you satisfied at the end, but creates such a connection to the characters that you’d like more if it’s offered. I would like a third in this series, but like before I’d like for someone else to get a story and Brendan and Emma to have some peace for a bit. If you enjoy young adult paranormal stories, Shultz is not a writer to be missed.
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