Leah's Reviews > Revenge of the Spellmans

Revenge of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz
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's review
May 06, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: books-read-2011, favorites
Read on July 22, 2011

I’m a big fan of Lisa Lutz’s Spellman family series. I read the first book earlier this year and I loved it. It was such a funny, enjoyable book and the Spellmans are the kind of family you just love. They’re kooky, totally paranoid and I really liked them so I bought myself the rest of the books in the series and quickly read Curse of the Spellmans. Book three, Revenge of the Spellmans, is the latest Spellman caper with a fourth book already out and a fifth novel out in 2012 (woohoo, the Spellmans are still alive and kicking). The Spellmans have quickly become one of my favourite fictional families, and I can totally see them having their own TV series. Revenge of the Spellmans was just as ridiculous, just as funny and just as brilliant as the previous two books.

Revenge of the Spellmans sees Isabel Spellman in court-ordered therapy for the events that occured in the previous novel (now out in paperback!). She’s also given up being a PI for the time being, working in Milo’s bar… until a client walks into the bar asking for Isabel’s help. Despite Isabel’s self-involved tendencies, she decides now is the perfect time to dip her toes back into the waters of being a PI again and she soon finds herself in yet another muddle. The Spellman novels, it has to be said, are fairly predictable books; you know you’re going to get a thoroughly enjoyable crime caper and that the Spellmans are going to be as outrageous as ever, trying to one-up each other and spy on each other best. I wasn’t a big fan of the case Izzy worked on in the previous novel but Revenge of the Spellmans sees Izzy at her best as she tries to uncover Ernie Black’s wifes mysterious comings and goings.

My favourite part of the Spellman series, besides Izzy, is Izzy’s sister Rae. Rae is one of the most loveable characters ever. She consistently spies on her sister and brother, she negotiates to get what she wants, she always knows what everyone else is up to and she loves her sugary snacks. Seriously, Isabel might narrate the book and carry the book, but for me Rae is the star of the show. She’s hilarious. I love that she sees a 45-year-old detective as her best friend in the shape of Henry Stone. Sure, she’s manipulative, but if you look up manipulative in the dictionary it’ll read “See: The Spellman family”. It’s pretty much par for the course; if you’re a Spellman you’re manipulative, paranoid, and you tail family for free. You never know what Rae – of any of the Spellmans – are going to get up to and it’s such a joy to follow their lives, even if it is so far removed from normal.

The characters are all so real to me by now. I love the fact Isabel isn’t yet ready to grow up, despite being 31 and although I’m incredibly gutted her relationship with Henry appears to be going at a snail’s pace, it’s enough to keep me hooked. I love that she gets obsessed over her cases and is desperate to know the answers. Like I’ve already said, I love Rae. Totally love her. Honestly, once Lisa finishes with Isabel she can totally switch straight to Rae. The books wouldn’t even be similar because Isabel and Rae are totally different to each other. I love Isabel’s mom and dad, they’re hilarious. I also love the characters around the Spellman family. Henry Stone, I love him and I wish his and Isabel’s relationship would GET GOING. I really hope Henry sticks around, I’m a big fan of him. I also love Mort Schilling, Isabel’s aging lawyer. Then there’s Milo, who runs the bar where Isabel worked. It’s such a great cast of characters and I love them all, they’re so likeable, so funny.

The best thing about the Spellman books and, in particular, Revenge of the Spellmans is just how funny it is. Lisa Lutz is a brilliant comedian, she’s so good at making me chuckle. Isabel’s antics, Rae’s antics, Henry’s frustrations at Rae’s antics… it’s all just so darn funny. There’s always so much going on throughout each Spellman novel that whenever Isabel gives us a preface at the beginning of the book I start to panic and think “how will I ever keep up?” but each time I manage it easily. Lutz manages to easily separate all the different issues throughout the book and I absolutely adore the footnotes. Usually, I’m not a big fan of footnotes (usually they don’t add a thing to a novel), but here they really work. I just loved everything about Revenge of the Spellmans (though I suspect that’s somewhat obvious, no?). I hugely recommend the Spellman novels, though you do have to start at the beginning because some things won’t necessarily make sense to you about what’s happened previously. Revenge of the Spellmans is my favourite so far and I can’t wait to get stuck into The Spellmans Strike Again…

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Quotes Leah Liked

Lisa Lutz
“The next week she withheld my paycheck until I signed a document (drafted by David) in which I promised not to marry Connor. Ever. I signed the document, took the check, and had David draft another document forbidding all Spellmans to practice any form of blackmail. David tried to explain to me that a contract in which you promise not to break the law is ultimately redundant, but I didn't care.”
Lisa Lutz, Revenge of the Spellmans
tags: humor

Reading Progress

07/22/2011 page 111
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