Review: Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Click the cover to purchase at Amazon

Book: Spellbound
Author: Cara Lynn Shultz
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release date: June 28, 2011
Source: ARC received from NetGalley

Summary: (from Goodreads) 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 Conner, 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.


First impressions: Emma is immediately likable. I loved her smooth demeanor in the face of anxiety-inducing situations. In the first few pages she's on her way to a brand new school, assigned a basement locker (the lowest of the low in status), and facing down catty remarks from the mean girl. Her response is to put the girl in her place, trust her instincts, and soldier on. Awesome.

Lasting impressions: That cool demeanor served her well in the end, and I was so disappointed that there weren't 100 more pages after the final scene. Emma is one of my favorite characters of 2011. Can she be my new best friend?

Conflicting impressions: There were a couple of things that seemed under-developed. Her scar and the car accident were mentioned a few times, and seemed like they should be important, but didn't really affect the story. Likewise, her potential as a witch didn't quite get there the way I would have liked.

Overall impressions: I'm going to admit this up front: the pacing is a bit slow. And yet, I loved this book. This only goes to show that for every rule, there is an exception.

In this story, Emma moves to New York City to live with her aunt after her deadbeat drunk of a stepdad manages to wreck the car and leave her with a nasty scar on her arm. Her mom and twin brother are dead (from different circumstances), which creates an overly complicated back story. Emma basically picks up the remaining shreds of her life and moves with hardly any of her belongings, save for some essentials and a unique necklace she received from her brother before he died.

The opposing forces she walks into at her new private school are intense. The resident blonde, perfect popular kids are mean; the quiet, smoking hot dude is nice. Emma picks up a couple of other friends along the way that tow the middle line and keep the story from veering into cliche territory. Her necklace garners some interest right away from Brendan (resident hottie) and Angelique (resident weirdo witch girl).

Emma feels way too attracted to Brendan. She's not sure what's going on there. He comes on strong, but then cools off. When she finds a drawing of her necklace in his locker, she gets really intrigued. What's with him? Or more importantly, what's with her necklace?

With the help of Angelique, she tries to find out, and stumbles upon a pretty awesome legend that ties in to her dreams, Brendan, and the necklace. It appears that her growing feelings for Brendan will only lead to death. What's a girl to do?

Emma, ever the calm and collected one, rises to every obstacle in her path. This was the main reason I loved her so much. Whether it's telling off the mean kids, outrunning mysterious events in Central Park, or simply dealing with drunk kids at a party, she's got it under control. She flirts easily with Brendan, and I could really relate to her trying to read something into his every move. Is he really putting his hand on my back or just resting it on the bar?

C'mon. Who hasn't been there?

This is one of those books where I can see the flaws other people find with it, but my love for the characters made this a favorite for me. I didn't mind the complications, and could overlook some parts where details were a bit glossed over. I just wanted to read about Emma and Brendan and see if they could find a way to make it work. Their attraction seemed honest and real, and Brendan is to-die-for lovely.

The rumor is that a sequel is on the way, so I'm hoping that I get more witchcraft in it, as it was one of the more interesting parts of the book, but didn't take up much real estate. The NetGalley ARC included some extra pages told from Angelique's perspective involving a new legend. I'm hoping that's where the next book is headed!

This book was fun, swoon-worthy, and unlike anything I've read so far this year. I highly recommend it! It's a contemporary tale with just a hint of paranormal and a kickass heroine. What's not to love?

Rating: 5/5 stars
Click the stars for a description of my rating system

Want more information on this fab book? Check out the Kismet blog tour happening right now!



Amazingly beautiful and painstakingly crafted signature courtesy of Small Review

6 comments:

ComaCalm said...

Okay, I'm finally going to dig this out of the drawer at NetGalley and read it, hopefully at some point today!

ComaCalm's Corner

The Lovely Getaway said...

5/5? new book best friend? wow. it must be good :) I'm sold! I love reading your reviews, Logan. You always give just enough info to get us hooked, but never too much to be spoilers. Will definitely be checking this book out this weekend.

Stephanie (PoetrytoProse.com) said...

Oooh, sounds good to me! I've read a few other mixed reviews, but it looks like you addressed them here, too, and it really says something that your love for the characters made up for the issues you had. I'll definitely check it out!

Baggins said...

Hi Logan!

I have this one on my wishlist and now I'm even more eager to read it! Characters make a book for me and this one sounds like it has that in spades! Great review, thanks for sharing!

Thanks for following my blog! I'm a new follower too! :-D I'm looking forward to reading your review of Clockwork Angel! ;-)

Alison said...

This sounds great. Emma sounds like she makes this book. In fact, it sounds like her strength and personality makes up for a bit of slower pacing and imperfect development.

Small Review said...

Wow! ok, here's another book that I would have totally passed on based on the cover (and even the description), but you've convinced me otherwise. Sounds like as long as I click with the characters, then I'm going to love this book. Thanks!

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