Author: Cara Lynn Shultz
Release: June 21st 2011
Genre: Magic, Paranormal, YA
#1 in the Spellbound duology
Sequel: Spellcaster (#2)
What's a girl to do when meeting The One means she's cursed to die a horrible death?
Life hasn't been easy on sixteen-year-old Emma Connor, so a new start in New York may be just the change she needs. But the posh Upper East Side prep school she has to attend? Not so much. Friendly faces are few and far between, except for one that she's irresistibly drawn to Brendan Salinger, the guy with the rock-star good looks and the richest kid in school, who might just be her very own white knight.
But even when Brendan inexplicably turns cold, Emma can't stop staring. Ever since she laid eyes on him, strange things have been happening. Streetlamps go out wherever she walks, and Emma's been having the oddest dreams: visions of herself in past lives visions that warn her to stay away from Brendan. Or else.
This book is seriously conflicting. I'm not quite sure how I feel about it.
On the one side, I was hugely annoyed. Spellbound has some really good elements working for it, and it seemed to be a nice story as I began. I liked it. But as the story progresses, it just keeps on going downhill. It started out good, but ended horribly.
I think the deal breaker here was the absolute predictability and how uneventful the plot was. I was enjoying myself with this book when I noticed that I was already 60% in and still nothing near a climax had happened. Shit, I thought. That's a huge fucking problem. And not soon after, it got extremely dull. Now that the romance was turned full-on, there came generic scenes after generic scenes. Like shopping for prom dresses with the girlfriends, or heck, the whole prom idea in itself. Although, I have to admit, it wasn't Generic Prom Scene #1903923.
Anyways, let's talk about characters, shall we? I instantly liked Emma, because she seemed to be an okay girl, you know, humble but confident, with an awesome taste in music. But. Then. She looked into the eyes of her "soulmate" and all was lost. Okay, I'll admit that at this point, she could have still saved some of her dignity, but she didn't. While she didn't outright stalk him like some heroines do, or even follow him around and pine after him, her constant chase of Brendan made me roll my eyes one time too often. Not that Brendan was much better, though. However, despite their cheesy romance and sometimes nerve-grinding actions, they were okay. Not a set of characters I was invested into much, but at least I didn't have anything against them. They had voices of their own and a bit of characterization, which actually kind of surprised me, but alas, they were simply stuck in Mediocre Hall. Angelique was awesome, though.
Now, structure was on a hot date with plot, because neither of them showed up for this party. There was no beginning climax, no middle climax, and the end climax was too predictable to pull it off correctly. Emma is being a fucking idiot and thus getting into the villain's trap, and while I was still reeling from Emma's idiocy, the reveal of the villain wasn't very shocking. Nor was his appearance. Add to that the sheer ridiculousness of the villain's motives, of why he has something against Brendan and Emma, and it was almost laughable. Not to mention that he, as a simple human and no ties to the barely-there paranormal world of this series, didn't pose such a huge threat as he, maybe, could have. Now, plot ... there simply was none. There was an idea of "hey, how about we try breaking this curse?" but there was never any initiative taken to actually begin that quest and try to really find some answer. Never. So yeah the whole book is actually simply romance and fluff and all that stuff.
And I liked it. I cannot deny that I really enjoyed reading it. Maybe it was because, when they weren't too sappy or being freaking morons, the characters were actually okay. Maybe it was because I liked the story of Lord Aglaeon and Gloriana and the whole curse situation. I don't know, but this book truly wasn't bad, it was simply mediocre.