RECEIVED FROM: Net Galley for Review***NOTE MY REVIEWS OFTEN CONTAIN SPOILERS***When Emma Conner begins her new life living with her Aunt Christine in New York and attending the exclusive Vincent Academy all she wants to do is fade into theRECEIVED FROM: Net Galley for Review
***NOTE MY REVIEWS OFTEN CONTAIN SPOILERS***
When Emma Conner begins her new life living with her Aunt Christine in New York and attending the exclusive Vincent Academy all she wants to do is fade into the background, finish high school and as she puts it move to Siberia. What she gets instead is the teen mean queen targeting her, the school playboy hounding her and an undeniable crush on the hottest boys in school Brendan Salinger. When she finds he’s interested in return she thinks thing might be turning her way, that is, until lights start exploding around her and she gets realistic nightmares about dying in past lives. It’s then that she learns of a thousand year old curse that she and her new love are destined to reenact, a curse where they fall in love only for her to die. Will her new love interest be her blessing or her death sentence?
Maybe you can call me sappy, but this is the kind of fated magic love story that I can’t help but adore. I recently saw a somewhat similar plot about soul mates parted for a thousand years where she keeps dying and he keeps repeatedly losing her. So I can’t say it’s totally original. But the difference is here he isn’t the same guy, but also a reincarnation so it’s not like he’s been stalking her reincarnations all that time. And in this portrayal of the idea of star-crossed soul mates it doesn’t seem creepy in the way it did in Evermore. Why do I think that Schultz did it better even though the love story did happen just as quickly in Spellbound as it did in Evermore? First of all the discovery of the curse was something that both participants learned about on their own. They’re on somewhat equal footing in that regard. When things finally start emerging about this curse each of them is filling in the blanks for the other. Secondly neither of these characters just goes with the flow on the soul-mates thing. It’s something they instinctively fight against initially and over time they just stop fighting and decide that regardless of what comes they deserve to be happy for what time they have. Finally Evermore comes across more as a greed tinted kind of love. I mean yes we do have another girl in the picture that wants Brendan and she is the stereotypical high school mean girl. However he isn’t blind to her nastiness they way Damon is with Drina in Evermore. And while Damon saves Ever from death by making her immortal because he doesn’t want to be without her, Brendan is willing to sacrifice his own life to keep Emma safe. Damon comes across as greedy and stalkerish at points in Evermore, while Brendan even though he also seems to have it all puts Emma first. Their doomed soul-mate love is more about sacrifice and real caring than Evermore. It’s impossible not to see the plot similarities between these two book having read Evermore so recently but the ideal of doomed soul-mates is one that has been around forever so I’d hardly say it was pulled from Noel’s series. What impressed me so much was that Schultz took a well known idea and retold it with class. It was skillfully written with compelling characters and I thoroughly enjoyed this book from beginning to end. No I can’t say everything about the plot is original, obviously. But Schultz did add her own original embellishments and I personally don’t believe that every story needs to be a completely unexpected, unheard of idea to be a good novel. What matters is not if it’s been heard before, it’s how well you can tell the tale and how well you can take that tale and make it yours. Schultz has done that with exceptional skill in my personal opinion. The plot had a logical and interesting flow from beginning to end.
Do you know what my very favorite part about this young adult novel was? THERE IS NO LOVE TRIANGLE! I am getting so tired of reading books by young adult authors where whether there seems to be a need or even a real reason for it they have to throw in a love triangle. Yes when well done it can be a nice plot point, however when it’s forced it actually detracts from the story. I absolutely loved that Schultz didn’t see the need to throw in some extra guy or girl for one of the character to obsess over making a choice about. Nobody has to get emotionally hurt in her love story and there’s not some character that we as readers kind of feel bad for in the end. She may had had the psychopathic popular guy showing an interest in Emma but from minute one Emma wasn’t the least bit interested. I personally think we should be applauding Schultz for not including the extremely over popular love triangle and not making our female lead initially interested in the bad guy as well as the good one.
The pacing on this novel is I guess you’d say quick paced, it’s not quite completely fast paced but it’s closer to fast paced than it is to slow. It was fast enough that it’s not a story you want to walk away from once you begin reading it. But I also wouldn’t compare it to an Indiana Jones movie in pacing either. Schultz writes an excellent first person point of view in Spellbound keeping us very much in Emma’s head while still managing to make other characters more than one dimensional.
I like how she lightly skims the edge of the paranormal genre without making it a focus. Yes she has a few elements here and there, but I wouldn’t really call this a paranormal romance. It’s got enough of the elements that as a person who prefers the paranormal and fantasy genre it catches my interest, but the focus of this novel remains the love story. Everything else is secondary. The only thing that really puts this into the paranormal genre is the breaking of a legendary curse, her having some witchy powers which is more a blip in the novel than a plot point and the dreams she has where she receives messages from her dead twin. I know that sounds like a lot of paranormal romance flashy lights, but if you read the novel I think you’ll find that they really aren’t played up in the way most paranormal romances are.
I liked most of the characters and fell they were well fleshed out and while some did come close to perfection they weren’t quite Mr. or Ms. Perfect, having just the right amount of flaws to make you sigh but still believe in them. I loved Emma’s sarcastic wit as well as her insecurities. Many of her comments had me laughing out loud. I thoroughly enjoyed the pop culture references though I do feel her teens more behave like 90s teens than teens from 2011 or at the very least early 2000s. Emma’s favorite band is Blink-182 which I remember listening to as a teen and as much I’d rather it not be, that was a while ago. She has references to characters from The Ring, which was released in 2002. Yes they all have cells and such, however they’re more into things that occurred in the past referencing bands like Slayer then referencing recent popular icons like Justin Beiber. Of course being that I’m not a teen anymore it’s probably just another thing that helped me relate so easily to these characters.
I think this book will find a home both with young adult readers and adult romance lovers. It’s skillfully written, extremely engaging and let’s face it the kind of love story that makes sappy people like me sigh. Though I didn’t see any indication on Goodreads that this novel is part of a series I really hope that it will be. No I don’t want to keep repeating dangers for Emma and Brendan like we see in the Ever series of which this novel bears many similarities, however seeing them as secondary characters and delving into more of the awful fairy tales Hadrian’s Medieval Legends and bringing those tragic characters a happy ending much like Emma’s and Brendan’s. I really liked these characters and I would definitely enjoy seeing more of them, though I don’t want to see the same main characters as in this novel because I’d like to think the Emma and Brendan have their happy ending, now it’s time for them to help someone else get one.
Overall as you can see from my rare five star rating I loved this novel and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good love story....Continua Nascondi