As a guild bartender, I can handle pretty much anything—mages, sorcerers, witches, the occasional demon. But show me anything family-related and I'd rather run for the hills. It doesn't even have to be my family.
So I have no idea why I thought spending the holidays with Aaron's mom and pop was a good idea.
Meeting his famous parents is already terrifying enough, but I've got a bigger problem. Students of his family's renowned mage academy are being attacked on the grounds--and somehow no one has seen a single assailant? Unexplained tracks litter the nearby woods, rumors of forbidden alchemy are circulating the campus...and Ezra has been acting strangely since we arrived.
Something deadly is brewing in the shadow of Sinclair Academy, and the longer we take to uncover it, the more dangerous it becomes. But no matter the risk, we'll protect the students.
And Aaron's parents too, I suppose. If we have to.
Annette Marie is the author of YA urban fantasy series Steel & Stone, its prequel trilogy Spell Weaver, romantic fantasy Red Winter, and sassy UF series The Guild Codex.
Her first love is fantasy, while fast-paced adventures and tantalizing forbidden romances are her guilty pleasures. She proudly admits she has a thing for dragons, and her editor has inquired as to whether she intends to include them in every single book.
Annette lives in the frozen winter wasteland of Alberta, Canada (okay, it’s not quite that bad). She shares her life with her husband and their furry minion of darkness—sorry, cat—Caesar. When not writing, she can be found elbow-deep in one art project or another while blissfully ignoring all adult responsibilities.
We’re back with Tori, after seeing her for the first time through the eyes of Robin (our Demonized protagonist) and Kit (our Warped protagonist).
I’m not Tori’s biggest fan. As a main character, she’s more of a conduit for other characters’ development than a force in her own right. In this book, Tori once again takes a backseat as she and the mages head to Aaron’s family mansion for a Christmas vacation. We dive into Aaron’s pampered, privileged past and expand more on Ezra’s fraught relationship with his particular brand of magic.
I don’t always agree with Tori’s decisions either. She’s reckless, sometimes treats people who consider her a friend with zero consideration, and she doesn’t learn from her mistakes easily.
**Spoiler Ahead** **End Spoiler**
That said, I love the other characters in the Spellbound series so much that I’m happy to get to spend time with them, even through the filter of Tori’s narration.
And I do admire Annette Marie’s commitment to keeping Tori human, with no slumbering superpower to turn her into a powerful mythic all of a sudden. Even if Tori isn’t smart enough to keep her head down, the plot keeps her humble and forces her to use every little trick in her arsenal to stay ahead. I like that.
I'm giving this one a solid 4 stars. As always, the story is impeccable. I am so in love with this world, and reading these books always gives me the sense of home
So why 4 stars and not 5? I felt that the plot for this particular book was a bit cliche. One of the things I love about Annette's book is that they are completely fresh and original. This particular plot? Not as much as I've come to expect. It was a tad too predictable for my taste.
Not great, but not terrible. For whatever reason I find this series addictive. Even if the bad guy in this one was so obvious he might as well have had a flag flying over his head announcing "I AM THE BAD GUY". But maybe the secret behind this non-secret will turn out to be more interesting in Druid Vices and a Vodka. Either way, the next book in chronological order is Robin's book Slaying Monsters for the Feeble in that sister/spin-off series so I am more than happy to go straight on to that. I think I like that series even better.
My goodness. This one was a doozy! Once again, Annette Marie has surpassed all expectations. I left the last page REELING, FEELS-ING, EXHILARATED, and just plain *NEEDING* MORE of The Guild “CodexVerse.”
In this installment, we have the treat of leaving our home turf, & instead, goin’ homeeee for the holidays! Aaron’s childhood home, that is- We get to meet the Sinclairs! Squee!
His parents’ estate is also home to a school for Mages, The Sinclair Academy, THE very academy where Aaron & Kai went to school (and also where Aaron infamously rebelled from😝). So lots of Sinclair family drama, yay ! Drama, Mages, Trouble abound!
The first half of the book gives us a HUGE serving of character development. Character development can sometimes be slow, but this was *perfectly paced* & a downright fun romp through our favorite characters’, well... character! 😉 We find out some fun, unexpected, shocking, and even downright chilling things about the characters we love, and we also get some super exciting new developments!
FEELS!MY GOD. The FEEEEEELLLLLLLS!
Plus- more female friendship (Tori & Sin)! Yay! I really enjoy reading about Tori’s developing female kinships, so this was amazing. Here’s hoping for some friendship vibes between Tori & another main character we now know from the CodexVerse, one Ms. Robin Page, the leading lady of Demonized.
As for the second half of the book? Let me just say that I never wanted it to end. SO EXCITING! The novel was perfectly paced for the second half to be set up for a good ol’ ACTION! ACTION! SHOCK! TWIST! TURN! SAY WHAA? level of fun that we are used to from this series. It’s EPIC!
When both halves’ powers combine. . . MIND. BLOWN. Period.
Omg yes! ALSO: There is also one HELL of a revelation that had me on the edge of my seat! I love how Annette Marie handles big reveals- always unique, always shocking.
The only thing I DIDN’T like was the trope used for the villains & the ”big bad” of the novel, but that’s just a personal preference. It’s so commonly used, and it just wasn’t as fun as the new things we’ve been able to discover this far in the series. I also pretty easily guessed who the “big bad” was early on, but Marie came up with such a creative take on it all, that it was still incredibly enjoyable for me, and I believe a LOT of readers will LOVE the Big Bad of the novel.
Let me just say, my goodness, does this book leave you CRAVING more in the best way possible ! It sets us up for some MAJOR changes looking forward & gives us some major things to look forward to in the series & CodexVerse as a whole. I am in SHOCK. This could be gettin’ dark! It subtly hinted at ways that Demonized could possibly be woven in with Spellbound and I am SO HERE FOR IT.
The ending seriously has me on a never ending theory spree ! I CANNOT WAIT TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!
10 out of 10 recommend!
I generously received an advance copy of this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own ________________________
Oct. 7, 2019 RTC ! I may have been so tired last night I fell asleep writing the review. Eh, ain’t no thang... I’ll rewrite it lol
EDIT: Luckily, I did not die (as I proclaimed I may, below). Just in case you were worried. Because you all are, obviously. ________________________ Everybody stay calm, I just found out that I’m, I mean, only, getting the ARC that I kind of wanted...
JK ON THE STAY CALM THING SO FREAKING EXCITED; I WANTED THIS SO BADLY!
*takes deep breath*
O M G Y O U G U Y Z 😱☺️✨ _________________________
For the love of all that is Good & Holy, I truly need an ARC of this or I may die.
If I receive one, I probably will die too, of pure bliss- I will write a review as a ghost. I mean, obviously
I am SOEXCITED- meeting the Sinclairs?! 😱 just everything about this sounds amazing. Ahhhh!
Unfortunately, this was the first book in this series where everything felt lukewarm until the very last chapter. That last chapter did SO much for this book and my heart. I'm so glad things got better though, but boy do I know how to pick em! I've been Team Erza since the beginning and I'm putting my foot down Annette Marie! You can't do that to Erza, you just CAN'T!
Tori was sassy as ever in this novel and I love to see how her fighting skills are improving little by little as each book gets released. Though in this novel we see her show more emotion than what is considered, at this point in the stories, normal for her. My heart was breaking right along with her because this is the moment I, as part of Team Erza, have been waiting 5 books for! Things just have to go right, they just have to!
The guys have been great companions to Tori in the magical world! I love how they each have distinct personalities and quirks. Though Aaron came off as a stuck up *ss in a few parts of this story I'm glad he was called out on his BS. Erza became a much bigger part of this story than I was anticipating and I'm both elated and terrified for the next novel.
The ending. Broke. My. Heart. We were finally getting to know Erza and things were starting to look up but then that happened and I refuse to let it come to pass. Tori has to find a way to work things out. Dare I say no matter the cost! I just need the audio book for the latest book in this series to become available already.
The Audio Book:
The narration was great as always! The voices and tones were good and distinct enough for me to not get lost in conversations between 3+ characters.
For reasons I can't quite pinpoint, I wasn't as sucked into this story as I was with the others in the series. The writing is still great, but there was a lot less humour than I've come to expect (in fact, there was hardly any) and the action/drama felt a bit more manufactured and artificial than usual.
Also, in this one Annette announces that she's writing (another) new series set in this universe, which I wasn't terribly enthused about because it's from male POV and I hate that.
Mostly, I can't wait for the next book featuring Robin and Zylas... I think I might be slightly over Tory by now, though this book does have some of the romantic progression which was missing in the others. It's just that I'm really not feeling the romance either.
Tori and the gang travel to the Academy for gifted mages run by Aaron's parents. They discover that monsters are terrorising the students and step in to help hunt down the rogues. But there is something particularly wrong with these monsters and even Ezra, the most powerful of them all is struggling.
This series is quite the hoot. It's great fun. I don't even know why. There isn't anything in there that makes this series special. I've seen it all before in books that were just OK. But for some unquantifiable reason this book, this entire series is a step above all the others.
I don't normally write reviews , but OMG... This series is getting better and better..Its brilliant characters , world building, Tori is my favourite heroine ever, the humor is refreshing than other books that I have read recently. If you still reading this...start with book one and you won't regret it!!
I adore this series and it really does just keep getting better and better. Action packed, full of magic and wonder, and danger, not to mention amazing friendships and mystery, I just can't seem to get enough and will be on edge until the next release. This has quickly become one of my top ten favorites or not only reads but UF series as a whole.
The Alchemist and an Amaretto The Guild Codex: Spellbound Series, Book 5 By: Annette Marie Narrated by: Cris Dukehart This continues the story with the gang all going to Aaron's family's home for the Christmas season. There had been trouble with animal attacks and it happens at the private school for gifted teens. ( Paranormal gifts.) Not only do they have to fight the strong werewolves but find who made these. They are Not natural. Tory also may have found a way to help Ezra with the demon his body is forced to host. Excellent narration!!!
12/21/2022: Reread. (Audiobook.) 06/17/2021: Reread. (Audiobook.) 09/22/2020: Reread. (Audiobook.) 08/10/2020: Reread! (Read to my son, Maddox.) 07/15/2020: Reread!
Disclaimer: I received an Advance Reader Copy at no cost from the publisher/author. All opinions in my review are my own.
There are not any words in any language, in the mythic world or otherwise, that can convey or express the feeling that is sitting in my chest right now. Absolutely none. Annette Marie has made me hope, has given me feels, has teased me, and then she has taken it all away again leaving me in a numbish state. This book is everything, ya'll. It's going to knock your doors down and slaughter innocent bystanders. Things are really starting to happen. If this is a precursor then I don't know if I'm going to be able to handle more. Just saying.
There are so many revelations in this newest addition to the Spellbound Series. So many things come to light that the reader is left reeling. I am still trying to work this series out in my mind so that my darlings all end on a happy note. There are really so many ways Marie can take this series and I am genuinely excited to see her genius at work in future books. The way that Marie builds her plots in her stories is nothing short of masterful. I love that it is so obvious how much planning and thought went into the creation of her stories- from the plots in individual books, the overarching series plots, the characters and their backgrounds and personalities, and her atmospheric world-building. It is so easy to see that a bit of her soul is imprinted on and woven into each book that she writes. The quality is astounding.
In this particular book of the series, I was able to guess who the villain of the story was from the start even though I have honestly never found any of her books predictable before. It certainly didn't take anything away from my reading experience. Even though I was able to guess the villain, I wasn't able to guess how things would play out. I love how Marie is able to keep the reader guessing when it comes to the events and situations in her books. This book had plenty of action, as her books tend to have. I think that she is quite skilled in choreographing her action and fight scenes. They are always concise, impactful, and serce a purpose in the story.
There is a lot more character development in this book for both Aaron and Ezra. We get a few more bits and pieces of them. We even get some more background on Sin, which I loved. I adore her character and I was just waiting for Marie to give us more of her. I don't really want to give anything away about any of the characters so I'll leave it at that.
Overall, this book is going to change the pace for the series to come. By the end, it will have you drowning in an ocean of feels. You won't even know how to proceed with your day once you finish that last page. I am so grateful to have discovered an author that really gets me. One that makes me feel every emotion imaginable through her breathtaking stories. These characters have been ingrained into my soul and their stories are my stories too. I think that all readers feel that way. There has never been another author that can make me feel so much. This is a book, a series, and an author that I cannot praise enough! I recommend this book so much. Just pretend that I am standing on a rooftop screaming my lungs out because I totally would for this author. Annette Marie is a breath of fresh air when it comes to the fantasy genre and I will follow her until the end of days. (Which I can only imagine will happen the day that she decides to retire from writing books. Seriously, the entire world...scorched earth.) Have fun with Annette's newest release and I'll see you all for the next book!
This is fifth in the Tori series and you don't want to skip around in those. It's sixth in the broader series but so far, there isn't much crossover.
As ever, you mostly know what you're getting in this story because you've been reading the others. The worldbuilding has settled down a bit, I think. Or maybe I'm just used to it.
But the plot of this one doesn't hold together very well. Lemme see if I can explain without giving stuff away. Let's say you have a class of highly trained people called, oh, balloonists. And you find that there is a very talented balloonist at the heart of the bad things going on. Fortunately, you have a local balloonist who is very famous, so you pull him and his apprentice into the investigation. Conservation of story dictates that either the famous dude or his overlooked apprentice are at the heart of the mystery. It just doesn't work any other way without adding more possibilities to your suspect pool. So having all the good guys in charge completely ignore investigating, or even asking hard questions of, these two baloonists is a huge, giant, swirling hole in your plot.
I mean, you can't get past them as suspects. So you might as well take the plot seriously enough to have some questions asked. Right? I found this very frustrating because the plot doesn't have much heft to it in the first place. So it really couldn't afford this giant hole.
There was some personal relationship stuff that was interesting. But it was offset by Aaron's family drama, which I found deeply uninteresting. We already know Aaron is a powerful scion of a powerful family and seeing him bend himself into pretzels trying to avoid confrontation with them wasn't fun. I did like seeing Kai and Ezra take him in hand. Marie understands male friendships/partnerships very well, I think, to have shown both the development of Aaron's problem and their solution to it.
I also liked Tori's developing relationship with Ezra. Her maturity is still very recent and sort of fragile, so her self-denial isn't frustrating and having others around who help her was fun. Offsetting this a bit is Etteran, Ezra's demon. Tori . This is made way, waaaaay worse when events in the end made it moot and she still clings to the decision she made in original ignorance. This problem needs .
So this doesn't have the oomph to get into my rating tiers. So no rating on this one for . . . reasons. It's complicated. Which is why there's a link...
A note about Chaste: I love the relationship developments with Tori and Ezra. I like how fraught it is given Ezra's personal . . . challenges. It's ultra-slow burn, but it's there and it's solid and I am enjoying it very much. There isn't more than a kiss or two in this one, but it's very satisfying.
This installment of the Guild Codex: Spellbound series sees Tori along with the 3 “hot” (her words not mine) mages Aaron, Kai and Ezra head to Aaron’s Family Estate for the Christmas Holidays. The family estate is also a school for gifted mages and Aaron’s family is very well known in magical circles. Completing the group on the trip is Tori’s friend and fellow Guild member Sin (who we find out is really named Cindy Lou). We also get insight into Tori’s physical training since the guys have decided she needs to develop physical skills to help her protect her self (they recognize she has a habit of getting into the middle of things. I also appreciate that Annette Marie keeps Tori "non-gifted" meaning she does not have inherit powers, she uses magical artifacts and her Guild classification is a witch.) The guys are also teaching her how to kick butt.
This time it’s werewolves, and not just normal werewolves but werewolves on steroids due to them being dosed with a recipe developed by a diabolical alchemist..... I know.....I know what this sounds like….we all probably watched “Creature Features” when we were kids….the thing is this all works with this story line. Annette Marie has a gift for these story lines they are interesting, are able to create a suspension of belief on the part of the reader, and produce some humorous /feel good moments that enhance the enjoyment of the book. There is also a new character introduced, Eterran a demon who I suspect will feature in the next book in the Spellbound series.
These are fun books to read, and they stand up against many of the series that are currently popular. (and if you have Kindle Unlimited they are available). I did feel this one dropped off just a little , (1/4 a stars worth). but it was probably because a lot of the minor characters in the story were upper-crust snobs and it changed the flavor of the story.
Next up in this revised reading list of the Guild Codex series is “Slaying Monsters For The Feeble” the second book in the Guild Codex: Demonized series. So it’s back to Robin and her Demon Zylas, who recently joined the Guild The Crow & Hammer that Tori, Sin, Ezra, Kai and Aaron belong to. Hmmmm
I need this book like NOW!!! I read the other ones in a day or two per book. I love love love them. Just tell me there will be a little kissy kiss kiss between tori and ezra.. a few times I would have appreciated a kiss on like the forehead or on ezra's scar on his eyes when he is all unsure and vulnerable.
*Read under POPSUGAR READING CHALLENGE 2020 for - A book with more than 20 letters in the title.*
I am way too much invested in this magnificent universe created by Annette Marie, way more than what should be considered healthy.
I have read so many books in this series one after the other, Demonized included, that it's now hard for me to give an elaborate review for each one.
It was pretty light compared to the previous book, until the end at least. The book starts off with Tori, Sin and our three mages going off for Christmas vacation to the Sinclair Academy. I personally loved this because I just loved the idea of these guys enjoying and going off for a vacation. A plot less tenser for a change. Compared to the last book that was pretty serious, I liked reading something lighthearted where the focus was more on bonding than fighting for once.
And that's exactly what happened. Not that there was not enough action, there was plenty and pretty serious one as well. But there was a lot of space devoted to relationships. It's no new news that I am absolutely in love with the friendship theme of all these books. That's probably my favorite part of the series. It makes me so happy to see how strong, close-knitted and genuine these friendships are. I love how if one of them starts acting like a dick, they would never hesitate to call out on their bullshit and get some sense into them. But at the same time, they would never abandon each other under any circumstance. It was fun to see Sin bond with the boys as well.
Then there was a lot of other stuff going on, for example, Tori having a major crush on someone.
And Sin might have one as well.
Yes, I am shipping Aaron and Sin.
It was lovely to see the girl bonding solidify even more in this book.
Also, in the romance department - FINALLY. SOME MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS. I have been waiting for this for so long and my ship has sailed, kind of, it's not completely there but still. This book made me so happy.
The ending, though predictable, broke my heart. But I am sure, Tori and the boys will figure something out soon and ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>
Buddy read with RHR. Read in order so this one comes after Robin and Kit. The romance is cranking up a notch with Tori and Ezra and a pixie. Aaron is awful until he gets the sense knocked back into him. I felt sorry for Sin, but it was nice not having another sick/dying Tori book. She's found her feet and can take on two shifters at once. I couldn't remember if it was Brian or Kelvin that was the bad guy. Kelvin overshadows with his ego.
October 2019 Kindle edition
Ezra and Tori are breaking my heart. This one is away from the Robin and the chaotic safety of the guild, straight into danger. A little mystery, a lot of stuck up jerks, pushy parents and bittersweet romance. Another great instalment that starts off light-hearted but deals with a lot of issues. I didn’t like Aaron for a bit in this one. Guessed the culprit so yay me. No cliffhanger but need to read the next one. So many Ezra/Tori moments. Makes me so happy. My favourite series.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Great non stop action from start to finish. Interesting to see another side to Aaron. I find Tori quite annoying some of the time, but she’s fierce about her boys and her feelings for Ezra are growing stronger.
The Alchemist and the Amaretto is the fifth in the Guild Codex: Spellbound series by Annette Marie. It's the holiday season and many members of the guild are out of town to visit relatives. The Sinclair family always throws a holiday party at the world-renowned mage academy they run. Since Aaron invites Kai and Ezra to join him every year, Aaron also invites Tori along so she won't be alone for Christmas. Things seem normal enough until students start being attacked on school grounds, unexplained animal tracks are found in a nearby woods and rumors of a rogue alchemist begin circulating. Something deadly is brewing in the shadow of Sinclair Academy.
Yet another enjoyable time spent with my favorite mages and their fiery redheaded bartender. This story has a more subdued tone as the humor was toned down. I think I've also read too many themed books in a row so some of the plot felt a little predictable. Tori continues to give sass and kick ass, both literally and figuratively, which never gets old. The story ends with a great set up for book 6. I can't wait to find out how Tori solves that tricky situation!
At this point the author has also started a spinoff series, Guild Codex: Demonized. Given events in the last two Spellbound books I could easily see the two series be either intertwined or at least contain information important to Tori's story. I'm going to start mixing those books in between the audio releases for Spellbound.
writing a review for this book is hard because everything i want to talk about is SPOILER and everything else is just hard to put into words. but i just? i loved this book? it's so easy to fall back into this series, into tori's head, and all the danger and wonder of this world.
first things first: the female friendship!!! i am always yelling about this because it is just so important. i was always a little sad that at first that tori didn't have a close relationship with any of the girls in the guild, but i'm so thankful that's changed. sin is wonderful and she plays a significant role in this one and i loved seeing their friendship on page. i love tori and the guys! i love their relationship but with sin it feels different because they can talk about FEELINGS.
well, as much as tori can anyway, lol.
anyway, second: it's christmas time and we're with the sinclair family and it means a lot of things. there's a different side of aaron when he's with his family and i was... surprised? shocked? to read it. i really loved it. because it, a) once again proves just how tightly knit this trio is with each other, and b) adds so much depth to the characters. of course, i can't say much so it's limiting me here but my goooood. these guys? they have each other's back come hell or high water and it amazes me every single time.
third: [endless screaming into the void] [distant sobbing] leave me here to die.
i am unsure of what's going to happen next in this series and it's making me highly nervous but also very excited. annette surprises me each time and i'm finally seeing how this series and the demonized series are intertwined. here's to surviving the wait until druid vices.
If there's one thing The Alchemist and an Amaretto has taught me about my audiobook experiences, it's that I'm picky as hell with my audiobooks.
I was personally not a fan of the narration (at first). Being used to slower audiobooks all the time and with little experience, I felt like Cris Dukehart's narration was like someone spinning in circles around me. Look, Hoopla doesn't give me the option to speed up the ones that are slow so I'm spoiled now. Get to OverDrive's level, Hoopla. It took a few hours listening to The Alchemist and an Amaretto for me to think, "actually this isn't bad at all." Getting used to the speaking speed like the noob I am, though, I liked the distinct character voices bringing the story to life from the pages.
The Alchemist and an Amaretto give us a sneak peek into the elite of the Guild Codex Universe. In the fifth novel to The Guild Codex: Spellbound, Tori and her friends go to Sinclair Academy, owned by Aaron's family and where everything begins for Aaron and Kai. There is so much drama surrounding this place, friends, and some of it gets spilled in the pages throughout the course of the book. We finally get to see Aaron's and Kai's past, where they began their friendship and eventually leave for the Crow and Hammer. We've always gotten snippets in previous books, but we get much more information here.
This book focuses more on Aaron and what kind of person he was before we meet him in Three Mages and a Margarita because we find out he's still struggling despite leaving and his friends are the sole reason why he has become who he has become. Not only that, but we get to see Tori's and Sin's friendship develop as well, and how Tori has become an important person in their lives. I am definitely here for all of this.
We also get some more clues to Ezra, a continuation of the plot from Demon Magic and a Martini. Ezra has quickly become one of my favorite characters and I just??? have questions??? He's truly a Cinnamon Roll and I want to protect him but we all know I'm the one who needs protecting from this world. Annette Marie reveals another big secret that leaves fans of the series wanting to know more, and there are so many feels involved. I swear if a hair on his head gets touched I might just cry in a corner.
I can't wait to find out what happens next, though, but I don't know if I'll be picking up the audiobook for the next book and putting my Kindle Unlimited to good use. I know that I really want to catch up with the rest of the series, though!
I'm still thinking Tori should just tell the three guys: Hey why choose? You are all mine. But sadly I know this won't happen. I enjoyed The Alchemist and an Amaretto, because we get to see a lot of Aarons background and other sides of the guys. I liked that Kai and Ezra went after Aaron because he treated Tori badly.
Premise: Tory and the guys go to spend Christmas with Aaron’s family at the academy. When they arrive, they discover that there have been animal attacks on Academy grounds. These attacks quickly become more dangerous and frequent and the ramifications could have deadly consequences.
Although not as fun or funny as the previous books in the series, this book advanced the Ezra/demon storyline a tad. Progression with that particular story arc has been very gradual, so any movement at this point is appreciated. I don’t trust the demon, but I do think he may actually want Ezra to be okay.
With regards to Tory and her *romance* arc, it’s one lovely step forward, and a subsequent leap back. *grumble grumble* I’m ready for more in that department.
I do love that the friendship amongst the four characters is still strong and secure, to the point they called Aaron out on his shit. It’s amazing how much a person can change based on who surrounds them. I’m glad Aaron doesn’t see his family and their friends more than once a year. I don’t like *their* version of Aaron.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
I was so excited to dive back into the Guild Codex world and return to Tori and the guys. I'd missed them! Yep, I'd missed fictional characters but, you see, Annette Marie's writing is so good that they don't feel like fictional characters, they feel like friends and it's been so long since I had a catch up with these guys (re-reads don't count) that I couldn't turn the pages on this book fast enough!
And what a book it was! The opening is full of fun and quirkiness. It made me smile, it made me laugh, it felt so good to be back with the Crow and Hammer crew and I was ecstatic.
Then, the gang (Tori, Ezra, Aaron and Kai) alongside Sin set off for the Sinclair Academy to spend Christmas with Aaron's parents... And things changed. Yes, the book was still fun, the banter was still on point, there was action and there were developments in the romance department (woohoo!) but their time at the academy felt heavier, more serious, than the tone of previous books.
The developments and revelations... They broke my heart. Completely and utterly broke my heart. I cried. I actually cried! I was not expecting the punch in the feels that this book presented. And maybe I should have been.
This is book five, we're just past the halfway point. Things will be starting to come to a head. I should have expected my anxiety to start rising, I should have expected hard choices and some heartbreak but I didn't. I one hundred percent didn't. That's why I finished the book feeling utterly heartbroken! There was just so much pleasure and so much pain! Everything I've been hoping for only for it to be shattered... I know it'll all work out okay, in the end for I have faith in the author, but right now I'm hurting right along with Tori! The gut-punching reality that had me in tears in the last chapter has lingered and left me both desperate to see what comes next and heartsick.
Let no one say this series isn't going to provide one hell of a ride! We're at the top of the rollercoaster now and true to form my heart is in my throat and my stomach is in an anxious ball waiting for the fall and the euphoric rush that comes with it.
If I've said it once, I've said it a million times, I love this series and I highly recommend it for the magic lovers amongst you!
This is the fifth book in this series, Guild Codex: Spellbound. Tori and her guys, along with Sin (!), are on a visit at Christmas time with Aaron’s parents, but as always, something happens to ruin their fun…besides Aaron’s parents trying to rule his life. I just loved the glimpse into the group dynamic, and I love that Tori now has a girlfriend. Many authors don’t do that, and I think it’s a waste. Most girls need another girl to do girly stuff with, or to help to do girly stuff with. Not only that, we learn more about Ezra’s demon, and Ezra and Kai’s past with Aaron. There were many great moments, but the mystery was the least of it. I kinda figured it out pretty quick. However, this was still a great book, and I really can’t wait to see what’s going to come next…and to see more of Alice and Tori together at some point! I highly recommend this book! I was provided a copy which I voluntarily reviewed.
I didn't like Tori in this installment. At all. She's arrogant, secretive when she shouldn't be, and at the beginning of the book, a mean girl to Robin. That right there pissed me off and set the tone for the rest of the book. I'm 100% over Tori. 3 very reluctant stars