Book Review: Spellcaster

Published By: HarperTeen
Publication Date: March 5, 2013
Page Count: 389
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Audience: Young Adult - Paranormal

Witches are one of my first paranormal loves. I have always been drawn to stories about witches, but after reading so many, I am difficult to impress. I always want an author to take traditional lore and put their own spin on it. Claudia Gray sticks to tradition in many ways, but I was excited to see that her spells work differently than others I have seen in the past. I really liked that strong emotions and memories are needed for spells to be effective.

I enjoyed the creepy setting of this one. Captive's Sound, Rhode Island is not the sort of town that I would want to live in, but it's the perfect fictional town. There is dark magic that blankets the town and sinister forces are at work. I kept trying to figure out this town's secrets. This was one of the major strengths of this novel.

In addition to the setting, I enjoyed the characters - even the villain. I felt like all the characters were realistic and I genuinely cared about their fates. Nadia, Verlaine, and Mateo were my favorites. Each of the characters is dealing with some pretty difficult family issues. Nadia's mother recently abandoned the family; her father decides that the family needs a new start in a new town. Verlaine's parents died when she was a toddler and she feels like nobody outside of her family sees her. Lastly, Mateo's mother committed suicide and he lives under the burden of a family curse. Being a teenager is difficult enough, I cannot imagine trying to navigate the teen years and deal with these difficult issues.

Lastly, I enjoyed the villain. She's so dark and evil. Witch novels are typically a battle between good and evil. That certainly makes a strong appearance, but I liked that the evil aspect wasn't cut and dry. The villain is complex. I didn't feel sorry for the villain because it was their choices that led them down this path, but I could find glimmers of possibility.

Overall, I enjoyed this one and I'm excited to dive into the next one. I did feel like this one was reminiscent of The Secret Circle trilogy by L.J. Smith, but that only enhanced my enjoyment of this one. 

One Last Gripe: I was slightly frustrated that it took awhile for the momentum to get going.

My Favorite Thing About This Book: Watching Nadia gain confidence in herself and her abilities

First Sentence: Before anything else, Nadia felt the chill.

Favorite Character: Nadia

Least Favorite Character: Kendall

When Nadia’s family moves to Captive’s Sound, she instantly realizes there’s more to it than meets the eye. Descended from witches, Nadia senses a dark and powerful magic at work in her new town. Mateo has lived in Captive’s Sound his entire life, trying to dodge the local legend that his family is cursed - and that curse will cause him to believe he’s seeing the future … until it drives him mad. When the strange dreams Mateo has been having of rescuing a beautiful girl—Nadia—from a car accident come true, he knows he’s doomed. 

 Despite the forces pulling them apart, Nadia and Mateo must work together to break the chains of his family’s terrible curse, and to prevent a disaster that threatens the lives of everyone around them. Shimmering with magic and mystery, New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray’s new novel is sure to draw fans of the Hex Hall and Caster Chronicles series, and fans of the hit CW TV show The Secret Circle.