Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Book Review: Spellcaster by Claudia Gray

 Young Adult
March 5th 2013 by HarperTeen
borrowed from library
My Rating:
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.
 Nadia Caldani is a witch but she never learned all of the craft because her parents divorced and her mother took off in the middle of her training. Her dad, her little brother, Cole, and she move to Captive's Sound for a fresh start. But she quickly realizes that there is something strange about the town and some of it's inhabitants. She can feel an ancient evil deep beneath her chemistry class, she befriends a girl with gray hair, and learns that a boy in town is rumored to be cursed. What is going on in Captive's Sound and can Nadia stop it before something terrible happens?

I'm a big fan of books about witches; particularly about the Salem Witch Trials, but modern 'witch' stories have some ties and often have at least a little bit of backstory about ancestors that had something to do with the trials. Overall, it's just a theme I enjoy reading about. I like that 'the craft' can be construed as many different types of things, from 'magic' to 'herbalism' or 'midwifery'. You can read a story about a witch that casts an outrageously fictional spell or you can read about someone who has a particular bond with nature and has the ability to manipulate the elements. The possibilities are nearly endless and are all tons of fun.

This particular 'witchcraft' novel was not the historical fiction that I tend to love. It was a very modern take on witchcraft which I feel that I need to read more of. I enjoyed the new spin (to me at least) on the craft with the 'steadfast' and ability to see magic and curses. There were a lot of interesting things going on in this book.

There were a few things that I found to be a bit off, though. It seemed like a big deal was made about Verlaine, the girl with grey hair, and it was like they were on the brink of discovery about her hair more than once, but then the story ended without any resolution about it. I now understand that 'Spellcaster' is possibly the first in a series but why bring it up multiple times if you aren't going to follow through? It was like the author just forgot to finish writing. I was also a little iffy about the insta-love but liked how it took a long time to become anything. There were a few other kind of outrageous unexplained moments but I don't want to give too much away.

Overall, it was a pretty enjoyable read with a predictable premise but was still pretty surprising.