Book Review: Allure

Allure (The Hoodoo Apprentice #2)
Published By: Entangled Teen
Publication Date: October 1, 2013
Page Count: 304
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via NetGalley
Audience: Young Adult - Paranormal

I should have known that this would be a difficult read from the tagline: Worst.Summer.Ever. It surely wasn't a story that was fun and uplifting. Poor Emma! Not only is she racing against the clock to save poor Cooper from losing his soul to a nasty curse, but she's also dodging questions about a museum theft and trying to care for the ailing Miss Delia. To make matters worse, Miss Delia's great granddaughter, Taneea, has come to town and she has her eyes set on Cooper and Miss Delia's hoodoo book. Can Emma save the ones she loves and still manage to come out unscathed?

The sense of urgency in this one begins in the first chapter. There is very little down time between the end of the last novel and the beginning of Allure. I felt this incredible sense of panic as Cooper's birthday draws closer. He is one of my favorite characters and I didn't want to think about this sweet boy losing his soul to a dark curse. It just wouldn't be right. I kept encouraging Emma and Miss Delia to figure out how to break the spell before it was too late. This sense of urgency and foreboding had me reading at a frantic pace.

While I was invested in this story and the characters, I didn't enjoy this one as much as the Conjured. I believe part of this can be explained by Cooper's actions. For a majority of the book, he is not himself. He's acting differently, dressing differently, and pushing Emma away. This is not Cooper nor did I enjoy this version of him. Like Emma, I was put off by his behavior. I kept reading quickly though, hoping that somehow his strange attitude and behavior would be explained. Eventually, the reason behind Cooper's sudden personality change is made clear.

I also felt like Emma lost a bit of herself in this one. She's not the strong girl we see in the first novel. She's scared and frazzled. Emma also begins to long for the way things used to be which leads her down some depressing paths as she tries to figure out everything that is happening around her. I understood why she was feeling these emotions, but I missed the Emma I had grown to know in the first book. There are moments when that Emma does shine through, but there is so much stress and chaotic activity that those moments are few and far between.

My biggest complaint with this one was the pacing. Some moments seemed to race by while others meandered along. Some scenes seemed a bit too long and a bit too laden down with unnecessary details. I prefer novels that show rather than tell. I don't recall this being such an issue with the first novel. I still enjoyed the read, but not as much as I enjoyed the first one.

One Last Gripe: I've already commented on my issue with the pacing which is my only complaint about this one.

My Favorite Thing About This Book: I love the lore and culture.

First Sentence: A stiff, hot wind blows across the Beaufort River, carrying the scent of parched sea grass, mucky earth, and belly-up red fish* through the car window.
* = my best guess at what this word should be, there were some odd issues going on in this e-ARC which I am positive were fixed before publication

Favorite Character: Emma

Least Favorite Character: Taneea

Worst. Summer. Ever.

Emma Guthrie races to learn the hoodoo magic needed to break The Beaumont Curse before her marked boyfriend Cooper's sixteenth birthday. But deep in the South Carolina Lowcountry, dark, mysterious forces encroach, conspiring to separate Emma and Cooper forever. When Cooper starts to change, turning cold and indifferent, Emma discovers that both his heart and body are marked for possession by competing but equally powerful adversaries.

Desperate to save him, Emma and her twin brother, Jack, risk their lives to uncover the source of the black magic that has allured Cooper and holds him in its grip. Face with the horror of a soul-eating boohag, Emma and Jack must fight to resist its fiendish power to free Cooper long enough to join their strengths and face it together, before it destroys them all.