Book Review: Steadfast

Steadfast (Spellcaster #2)
Published By: HarperTeen
Publication Date: March 4, 2014
Page Count: 384
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher
Audience: Young Adult - Paranormal

I really enjoyed the first installment of this series and was lucky enough to receive an ARC. I liked being able to dive right into this one without having to wait countless months. Sadly, this one ends on a HUGE cliffhanger so now I'm waiting for the next one. That wait is bound to be painful.

Like many sophomore novels in a series, this novel provides a lot of answers from the first novel and explains a lot of details. All of the information the reader receives is critical to the story, but it was a lot to take in at times. I did have to put this one down and walk away for a bit when things got tedious. In fact, the beginning was quite slow, which made me nervous, but the action picks up after the first several chapters. Once people in town started getting ill and answers I craved started to emerge, I really enjoyed this one.

Once again, Nadia and her friends are battling a powerful sorceress who serves the One Beneath. I was often in awe of how brave these teens were to take on such a huge battle. I don't know that I would have had the same amount of courage in their shoes. I wasn't able to support every decision made by these characters, but I could see how youth and lack of witch training were often to blame for the poor choices. I hope that Nadia, Mateo, and Verlaine will continue to mature as the series moves forward.

In addition to the characters I grew to love in Spellcaster, I also found myself enjoying Asa. He is an anti-hero of sorts, but I couldn't help finding him endearing. It always surprises me when a "villain" can manage to sneak into my good graces. Asa provided some much needed comic relief when things in Captive's Sound got tense. The chemistry between Asa and Verlaine was one of my favorite aspects of Steadfast.

Shockingly, I found myself annoyed with Nadia from time to time as I was reading this one. She just seemed to lack that fiery tenacity that won me over in the first novel. Granted, Nadia has a lot of stuff on her mind in this installment, but I would have liked to see her be less blasé in some situations. I felt like all the confidence Nadia gained in the first novel was forgotten as she goes around casting spells without truly thinking of the ramifications of her actions. As a result, I found myself more drawn to Verlaine this time.

I won't say anything about the plot because it would be hard to avoid spoilers, but I did enjoy the spells once again. I love Gray's take on witches and highly recommend this one to those who enjoy that paranormal variety. Steadfast reads like a witchy Nancy Drew.

One Last Gripe: I still want more answers about Verlaine - particularly about her parents. 

My Favorite Thing About This Book: I was drawn to the relationships in this novel and how they evolved. The concepts of friendship and family take a center stage this time.

First Sentence: Nearly every gravestone in the cemetery of Captive's Sound made a promise about forever. 

Favorite Character: Verlaine

Least Favorite Character: Elizabeth

Nadia, Mateo, and Verlaine have saved Captive's Sound from the dark Sorceress Elizabeth...or so they thought. Despite their best efforts, a crack opened and a new, greater evil seeped through. With Mateo as her Steadfast, Nadia's magic is magnified and she is more powerful than ever. But there is still so much she doesn't know about the craft, leaving her open and vulnerable to a darker magic...which has begun to call Nadia's name.