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(Spellbinder #1)

3.13  ·  Rating details ·  1,016 ratings  ·  78 reviews
There is magic in the big city…literally. New York City has a small, and by preference discrete, population of witches and wizards who live and love and go dancing just like everyone else. Holly McClure is one of them, a successful writer who tries to ignore her heritage, except when the local Magistrate needs her special gift in his coven. Holly is far more interested in
Hardcover, First Edition, 396 pages
Published October 17th 2006 by Tor Books
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Average rating 3.13  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,016 ratings  ·  78 reviews

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Jul 15, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: insomniacs
Shelves: abandoned
Ok, truth is I didn't finish this. I got bored with it. I got bored with long scenes that were packed with apparently pointless detail and dialogue. Yes, the lead characters ore totally smitten with each other (it's been 2 weeks since I stopped reading this, and I can't remember their names). Do we have to keep getting hit over the head with it? repeatedly? again and again? So back to the library it went, and I'm not even slightly interested in what happened.
Michelle Lam
Jan 05, 2017 rated it did not like it
Hated it - gave up part way.
May 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: modern fantasy lovers
Recommended to Paula by: picked it myself!
Shelves: 2008-reads
If you pick up this title expecting it to be like her Fantasy series, you deserve to be disappointed (so stop giving it such a low rating). It got me hooked, despite the first chapter being a little too detail heavy. Melanie Rawn has written three fantasy series that I also re-read (Dragon Prince, Dragon Star, Exiles) and am waiting on the third in one series and getting a little p*ssed that she kept writing other stuff and not returning to this series. Finally decided to pick up one of these ...more
Jul 29, 2012 rated it liked it
This is the first Melanie Rawn book I have read, and I enjoyed it. I gather from other reviews of this I've seen that it's a big departure from her other books, and older fans didn't care for the new direction, but since I didn't have any history that wasn't a problem for me.

This is a combination of action, romance, and magic and there is a good plot and character development. I was engaged with the characters, and I wanted to root for the good guys and find out what happened to them.

I would
Aug 15, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-in-2010
darkpool's review pretty much hit the nail on the head for me:

Ok, truth is I didn't finish this. I got bored with it. I got bored with long scenes that were packed with apparently pointless detail and dialogue. Yes, the lead characters ore totally smitten with each other (it's been 2 weeks since I stopped reading this, and I can't remember their names). Do we have to keep getting hit over the head with it? repeatedly? again and again? So back to the library it went, and I'm not even slightly
Feb 13, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: chicklit, fantasy
Melanie Rawn, stop following the urban fantasy freight train and go finish your series.

Totally unimpressed. Rawn's strength lies in the building of a lush and immersive setting. She creates worlds and cultures that hold up to thousands of pages of story. Wasting her talents for a generic paranormal romance novel is a shame.
Luis Odicio
Mar 03, 2008 rated it liked it
Nice story, my first book by Melanie Rawn and certainly not my last.

It's my first book in which witchcraft was set in the modern era, since most fantasy "swords and sorcery" sorta have their own witchy "spells" to it.

Good characters, good development, believable situations and th ups and downs of a good romance novel mixed with... well, magical interruptions.

I liked it.
Dec 19, 2008 rated it it was ok
I don't know what to say about this book. I really thought it would be great. Now I can't believe I wasted my time reading the 400 pages. It took me 2-1/2 weeks which shows I wasn't real motivated to read. It was very boring to read.
Elena Johansen
DNF @ page 159. I'm bored.

The most fundamental problem is that none of the things I expect from a Melanie Rawn novel are present here. My teenage and college years were spent reading the Dragon Prince and Dragon Star trilogies, and rereading them quite frequently. I loved the first two books of the Exiles series, and like many fans, became somewhat resentful when it was made clear that Rawn was never going to go back and write the third book, giving us both the ending it deserved and the closure
Catherine Labadie
Sep 19, 2018 rated it did not like it
This was a 498 page book that should have been 200 and sold with the $1 romances. I liked Rawn's Dragon Prince series. I also enjoy occasional sappy quaint romance. I was in the mood for some witchy reading. But this book was cheesy, with every scene drawn out pages and pages and PAGES past its due date. many casual and unnecessary talking scenes. For real. Also, the getting together insta love and breaking up and getting back together...when they made up I decided I valued my life too ...more
Angel Ludwig
Oct 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A bad scan of a Really good book

This looks like they scanned a hard copy of the book to get a digital version, but didn’t do a good cleanup afterwards—lots of L’s replaced by T’s, skipped hyphens, words smushed together, etc.—which I know weren’t in the hard copy, as I own it. If you can ignore that, the characters are believable and mostly likeable, the story is engaging, lots of detail on magic, theology, etc. that is great if you’re into it (I am), and a well-fleshed out world.

ES: switching
Jan 20, 2011 rated it did not like it
Since this is mostly a love story, it is extremely important that I like the main characters. They are obviously the focus here, and I have to say, the male love interest rubbed me the wrong way from the start. For some reason authors continue to portray cops as chunky, stubborn, womanizing idiots, and this seems to be quite the same. Oh, and did I mention close minded and biased? Anyway, I certainly have no interest in Evan in this book, yet the main character is infatuated with him for some ...more
Mar 01, 2017 rated it did not like it
I just really didn't get into this book. Not sure why, but just didn't catch me. I'm sure some people might like it, but it just wasn't my thing.
Lori Whitwam
Nov 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: paranormal
I'd have to say 4.5 stars. I wavered between 4 and 5.

Holly is a witch. Her powers are only mediocre, but her value is that a drop of her blood will make the spells cast by others way more powerful. She's valued within her Circle, but there are others who want her for darker purposes.

This book is subtitled "A Love Story With Magical Interruptions," and it is definitely a love story. Holly, who is a best-selling author of medieval biographies and historical fiction, meets Evan, an Irish federal
Mar 17, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: urban-fantasy
As the author herself acknowledges in her note at the end of the book, this story is very different from anything else she's ever written. Rawn has, up until now, always been more of a classic fantasy author, all her stories taking place in worlds very much not our own. This book does still have magic, but the setting is modern day, and as the subtitle suggests, the fantasy aspects are the real focus of the book.

I confess that I had very serious doubts about this book even before I picked it up,
Althea Ann
Jun 09, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A terribly disappointing book. I've read and enjoyed everything else that Melanie Rawn has ever published, and enjoyed them all, but this book was a major departure - and really just not good. Rather than epic fantasy soap-opera (like her previous works) this is a modern-day supernatural romance - with the emphasis on romance. I've noticed before that Rawn has a distressingly conservative streak regarding relationships, but it's easier to excuse when the characters are living in a ...more
Jun 22, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: urban-fantasy
More needed to happen in this book. It seemed to focus more on general themes than on the story.

Almost every interesting event was glossed over in favor of fixation on the details of ritual or endless (and often pointless) talking and introspection. One chapter ended with a pretty exciting cliff hanger, and it was followed by a different pair of characters discussing the interconnectedness of New Yorkers. Talk about a disappointing transition!

Many of the main characters shared the same traits, a
Sep 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Holly McClure is a successful writer living in Manhattan. She’s also a witch, but one with a unique ability. Holly’s a Spellbinder, which means her blood has the power to strengthen any spell, for good or evil, and evil definitely wants her. But Holly has protective friends, including a gorgeous new lover who works as a U.S. Marshall. She also has a special group of witches, two of whom are surrogate uncles. But are these people enough to protect her? Holly’s also made a powerful enemy or two, ...more
Sep 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Melanie Rawn is one of my favorite authors.

That being said, I think that "Spellbinder" is not one of her best books. Though Rawn is an experienced and incredibly talented writer, she makes some amateur mistakes. The book is slow at many points, especially in the middle. It also feels as if Rawn is simply flaunting her knowledge on many subjects, which is not in and of itself a bad thing, but it is not subtly included but almost forced in the reader's face.

On the other hand: Rawn so carefully
Jul 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I have to say that subtitle is quite accurate and I was very happy with this novel.

The main story is about Holly McClure, a spellbinder. Her very existence is a closely guarded secret because her blood can power spells or make spells even more powerful. She mostly avoids her heritage except when called upon by magical Magistrate (who is also a legal Judge). Her best friend (Susannah) introduces her to Evan Lachlan and it is not quite love at first sight, but damn close. Evan is a Federal
Kristen Koster
Apr 02, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
This is the second time I've read this book. I swear DH bought it in hardcover, but he says we only read the first chapter or so in a bookstore. Nope. Read the whole thing. I'd forgotten how preachy it got at the end (and I'm not even talking about Rev. Fleming here).

Once again he put it down after about 2 chapters, but I plowed my way through it to the end.

The book is subtitled, "A Love Story with Magical Interruptions". Ok, nice tip of the hat there, but it's a bit too literal for me. The
Aug 14, 2012 rated it liked it
This is a second read for me. I read it when it was new, remember liking it and looking forward to a sequel, and then it seemed nothing ever happened so I gave up. About a year ago, I came across the sequel in a Borders closing sale, but figured I needed to remind myself what happened in the first book before starting the second. I'm finally getting around to that. I still like it, but I can't say I loved it. I really like the characters and their interactions with each other, the witchcraft ...more
Oct 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
I really enjoyed this book. It's extremely well written, with beautifully crafted characters. This was to be the first book of three, but according to TOR's website, book 3 was cancelled. Pffftttt!

This book is set in modern day, and introduces Holly McClure, a well known, published author who happens to be a Witch. She one of many, and she comes from a particularly strong line of Witches. It also introduces a parallel judge and jury system in place for witches. In a neat twist, one of the Witch
Jan 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
Many years ago, in fact enough years ago that I really don't want to admit to them, I read Melanie Rawn's Dragon Prince etc., and enjoyed them. This book's afterword explains why she took so long to write something new, depression can be ugly.

This is an interesting story of a group of magicians, the focus is Holly McClure, whose blood can "fix" spells and make them more potent. Her boyfriend and her coven have to fight evil in New York City, and it's an interesting mix. Yes, it has romance, but
Sep 21, 2009 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 25, 2012 rated it it was ok
I picked this up from the library because I won another book of Melanie Rawn's and wanted to see how I liked her writing. And honestly, it wasn't bad in any respects, but it didn't WOW me. One of the two villains was just ridiculous (like the villains in half of Nora Roberts' books--cookie-cutter, one-dimensional, and you have no idea WHY they do what they do and what their motivations are. Just, oh they're a nutter and do bad things!) and that served a lot to lower my rating of the book. The ...more
Jun 18, 2009 rated it did not like it
If I could give this book a half a star I would! I found it in the bargain section of Barnes and Nobles and no wonder it was so cheap! I wasn't expecting much, I mean the cover says it all, a love story with magical interruptions! That alone makes me cringe! I know, why then one asks read the book? Well I looked inside the sleeve and read the plot and it didn't sound so bad. Oh but I was so very wrong! Weak characters, weak plot, very bad writing! I've never read such a terrible book before. I ...more
Dec 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is the first and only book I've read by Ms. Rawn, but I doubt it will be the last. The characters are well-defined, the action a nice mix between the paranormal and the mundane, and the language fluid and engaging.

While not perhaps the most innovative example of the genre, the author clearly did her research and crafted a very complete tale with no discernible plot holes or confusion. The book is a nice read, neither predictable nor too complicated to follow easily. The romantic element
I honestly tried. Got about 3 chapters in, then I had to give up. The dialogue was really stilted and forced and boring and large mass of characters introduced in a short amount of time with no idea who the protagonist was and no clue who you were supposed to be rooting for and the jumpy plot from scene to scene to scene and the confusing relations between the characters -- too much. Gave up.

This was the first title I've read by this author, and I don't anticipate wanting to try any of her other
Laura El Fin
Jul 22, 2012 rated it did not like it
I am sure there is a good story here, but it is hard to find. Rawn's writing style is confusing, jumping from memories to present to dreams to thoughts to flashbacks, all without ever really developing the characters or plot. Not to mention that these little escapades take place in a font and type size that is very difficult to read. I skipped ahead a lot, waiting for something to happen and it never did. I rarely don't finish a book, but I kept picking this one up and putting it back down until ...more
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Melanie Rawn received a BA in history from Scripps College and worked as a teacher and editor before becoming a writer.

She has been nominated for a Locus award on three separate occasions: in 1989 for Dragon Prince (in the first novel category), in 1994 for Skybowl (in the fantasy novel category), and again in 1995 for Ruins of Ambrai (in the fantasy novel category).

Other books in the series

Spellbinder (2 books)
  • Fire Raiser (Spellbinder, #2)