“Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales
Quick & Dirty: An unnecessary sequel that improves in a few ways on the first book — more action, tension, and romance than in Spellbound.
Opening Sentence: “They’re not looking at you.”
For those of you who thought Spellbound was a stand-alone, you aren’t wrong. This story picks up four months after the end of the first book and is very different. There’s no carry over, no “oh you thought you were free but really…”, it’s a new plot. Frankly, I wish that Shultz had left our couple alone and started a new series. Brendan and Emma deserve a break! In Spellcaster we have an unknown enemy who uses Brendan and Emma’s fears against them. Emma steps up her spell-learning lessons, which means we get to see more magic, but their enemy is still ahead of them and ready to destroy them.
Brendan and Emma’s storyline is solid. I was so, so glad Shultz added drama from outside of the relationship instead of trying to make them break up with each other via doubts and internal drama. Jealousy is overwhelming as girls who wanted Brendan hate on Emma for being with him. It was all very Mean Girls-meets-Gossip Girls and could’ve been toned down. We know they’re jealous, but I didn’t want to hear about it every few pages. What their relationship has in this novel that wasn’t in the prequel is the feeling of “We had no choice in this.” Yes, they’re reincarnated lovers who have just broken free of a cycle of tragedy — but I don’t want to feel like Brendan is stuck with Emma or vice versa. Which I did at more than one point.
Backstory is also dropped in every few pages. As in, you really, really don’t have to read book one, because Shultz tells you absolutely everything that happened in this installment. I could’ve done without having the whole thing rewritten in this book. Another writing point that really bothered me was the split POVs in Spellcaster. Spellbound didn’t split POVs — it was all Emma all the time — but this book did because Emma finds herself in situations where she can’t tell us what’s going on. We switch over to Angelique at random points, which felt like a cop out.
The tension in Spellcaster is much, much better than in Spellbound. Even though the stakes aren’t as high as they were in book one, Shultz does a much better job of bringing the story together. She also makes Emma into a stronger heroine — putting her right in the thick of things instead of relegating her to the sidelines. Part of this is that her magic helps her defend herself, and part of it is what’s going on with Brendan in this book. The villain is supposed to be a secret, but frankly the character screams “antagonist!” and that aspect of the plot doesn’t begin until halfway through the book. Unless you were a die-hard-must-have-more Brendan and Emma fan in Spellbound I say leave the characters in their happy place and skip this book.
“Let me put it this way. It’s all related,” Angelique explained. “Your attack. My feeling of dread. How tonight, I couldn’t feel certain things, as if there were holes in what I was sensing. And now, Ashley being sick. It’s all related.”
“And it’s all my fault,” Brendan added.
“You were just trying to push me out of the way,” I said, taking his hand and he ran his fingers over the Claddagh ring he gave me.
“No, he has a point,” Angelique said ruefully. “The blame does, essentially, go back to Brendan.” I twisted my head to look at him and he nodded, shutting his eyes. And that’s when I noticed that his black lashes were a little damp.
FTC Advisory: Harlequin Teen provided me with a copy of Spellcaster. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.”
“Wow. I thought that surely Shultz outdid herself with Spellbound, but I was wrong. Spellcaster is fantastic! It picks up where Spellbound left off, with Emma and Brendan dealing with the fallout from Anthony's attack. Anthony is still MIA, and the police believe that his father is hiding him somewhere in Europe. However, no one is sure where Anthony really is. Also, someone is out to get Emma and Brendan... again. These poor kids can't get a moment's peace. Spellcaster is an extremely suspenseful read. Emma and Brendan have to battle new and old enemies, and the novel is packed full of action, romance, adventure, and mystery. This is one book you do not want to miss.
Spellcaster has everything I loved about Spellbound, but the pacing is faster. Spellbound started off kind of slow at first, but Spellcaster jumps right into the action. We find out pretty quickly that something is after Emma, but we don't know what it is. Even after we find out who is behind her attacks, there is still a mystery surrounding who is helping Emma's attacker. While I had a good idea who was helping Emma's attacker, I wasn't 100% sure until it was revealed. Shultz leaves hints along the way, but she does a good job at keeping you guessing.
Emma's character has grown so much since Spellbound, and she grows even more in Spellcaster. She still has her sarcastic sense of humor, but she is much more mature. She has a lot of difficult decisions to make in this novel, and some of her decisions really surprised me... in a good way. When I finished this book, I was very proud of the character she's become. Emma is a strong heroine who fights for those she loves without sacrificing who she is. She won't let anyone push her around, and I really admire that about her.
Brendan is just as sweet as ever, and if you didn't completely fall in love with him during Spellbound, you definitely will in this book. He goes to great lengths to ensure Emma's happiness, and it's obvious that he's become her best friend as well as her soul mate. They make a great team, and their interactions show that they are growing as characters together. They have a healthy and respectful relationship. I wish more YA books had characters like these two.
A cool thing Shultz did in this book was tell a couple of chapters from Angelique's perspective. This really allows the us to get to know our favorite goth girl a bit better. Angelique has some new powers that she's learning to deal with, and her POV made the story more complex. We also find out what her problem is with Brendan and how she's working to overcome their differences. Angelique was one of my favorite characters in Spellcaster.
There is a lot more magic in Spellcaster than there was in Spellbound, and I really enjoyed that. Emma is learning how to be a witch, and while she has some problems focusing her emotions, her powers always seem to work when she needs them most. We also get to meet Angelique's cousin, Miranda, and she's an interesting addition to the book.
The plot, as I stated, is a page turner. It's quick moving, and the pacing is perfect. The ending wraps everything up nicely, but there is room for a sequel. I hope this series is at least a trilogy because I love the world that Shultz has created. Spellcaster will entrance you and keep you under its spell until the last page. ”
“Who would have thought finding your soul mate would be the easy part.
This was a suspenseful new novel that will leave you hungry for more. The imagery was perfect and helped to set the mood for the entire story. It was a very easy story to get lost in and I can’t wait to see the rest of the series.
It’s tough going through high school and discovering who you are, but things get a lot worse when you are a newbie witch. I liked Emma as a character and really got attached to her by the end of the story. Even though she has powers some might envy she still deals with many of the same situations other teenagers do and learns from those experiences.
I highly recommend this spellbinding read to fans of paranormal romance.
“Full review at theyabookworm.blogspot.ca
SPELLCASTER is the sequel to Cara Lynn Shultz's first book, SPELLBOUND. Spellcaster takes place, I believe, a couple months after the events of Spellbound. Emma and Brendan have defeated the curse but are now faced with a new threat in this book. Let's just say, a "blast from Brendan's past" is targeting Emma, her powers, and her hottie, hot-hot boyfriend. My first thoughts: What a fantastic sequel! I remember really enjoying Spellbound so I was a little scared that this book wouldn't meet my expectation- but no worries, it surpassed them !
Although I couldn't remember much at the beginning of Spellcaster, it didn't take long for me to see why I loved the first book so much. One word.......Brendan. *wink,wink- nudge,nudge* I mean seriously guys, I was hooked after reading the first line that came out of Brendan's mouth. His protectiveness over Emma (while also having faith in her to fight her battles) just made me swoon. Not to mention that Emma seems to be constantly reminding us how "good looking" Brendan is- no one likes a bragger Emma ;) .....Just kidding, brag away! My only complaint would have to be that with all the intense make-out sessions I was hoping Shultz would have given us a little bit more. sighh”
“When I saw this in NetGalley (along with Goddess Interrupted), I may have squeed. It's possible. Anyway, I read the first book, Spellbound, late last year. I totally didn't expect to like it; I mean, the soul mate plot line is so overdone. However, Cara Lynn Shultz proved to me that it can still be done well!
Reading Spellcaster after Goddess Interrupted definitely created an interesting juxtaposition. In the latter, Kate constantly whines about not being told anything and has to be protected; I don't think she'll be that way in book three, but in this one, oy. Anyway, Emma definitely does not do that. I mean, she cries sometimes and does like that Brendan's protective, but she also fights and hard for herself, her friends and her love. She doesn't just complain; she gets things done.
Even the soul mate thing could be really disgusting, like it is in a lot of YA books, Shultz deals with it gracefully. I actually like Emma and Brendan, and their relationship. In spite of the soul mate thing, they do have issues. Plus, I like that they're not rushing into everything. Even thought they've been through so much at the beginning of this book, they still haven't had sex, because Emma's not ready yet. I love that Shultz is showing that every relationship is different and that, no matter how in love two people are, that doesn't mean they're ready for that step. It's such a good, non-preachy message.
Much as I do like the characters, what really makes Shultz's books shine, though, is her fresh, funny voice. I laughed so many times during this book. Pretty much every quote I marked as I read through was one that made me giggle or snicker, as did the one I finally selected as my favorite. (Gotta love a heroine who knows her grammar!) The characters banter like real friends do, and I love it so much. Plus, Shultz's humor keeps the whole soul mate thing from being too serious, because even Emma and Brendan know it's kind of ridiculous, just like life.
Spellbound is an incredibly clever, humorous series. If you're looking for some fun YA books, look no further.”
“Three Stars: Freed from the lovers curse, but happily ever after is not in store for Brendan and Emma as dark enemies seek to destroy their happiness. Spellcaster, drops back into Brendan and Emma's lives four months after the neat resolution of Spellbound. The book opens with a cryptic email to an unknown addressee at the Vince A Prep School. The anonymous emailer is bent on unleashing revenge on Brendan. Meanwhile, the lovebirds have settled back into school. Emma is working with Angelique to hone her witchcraft. The two novice witches attempt a simple spell and end up with a dire prediction. Something black and malicious is coursing toward Emma and Brendan, intent on destroying their bond. A hate so malevolent that it could possibly eclipse the true love of soul mates. Severely shaken, Emma attempts to push the dire warning out of her mind. The next day, what starts as a typical day, turns ominous as Brendan is hauled to the office under accusations of drugs. He is detained, unable to accompany Emma on the school field trip. At the end of the excursion, Emma wanders off into the park and is attacked by a masked, knife wielding assailant. The attacker wants her blood, but Emma fights back. This is just the beginning of a series of horrible events that drags danger to Emma and Brendan. Can the pair once again stand together and fend off the blackness that threatens to destroy them?What I Liked:
*Brendan and Emma are back, and their sizzling, hot romance is just as heated. I again enjoyed the electric chemistry between the pair. Together they are passionate and deep, but yet they show restraint. I appreciate that Ms. Shultz lets the sparks fly between them, but they show maturity regarding sex. Meaning, they choose to wait until an appropriate time. So, those of you who prefer not to have sex in your YA, this has plenty of simmering scenes (kissing etc.) but no actual sex scenes.
*I appreciated that this time Angelique comes into focus and you get to know her better, in fact there are a couple of times where she takes over the narration. Angelique is full of surprises. Cisco also is more prevalent in this book, which I liked since he is one of my favorite characters.
*I liked the way the author drops little clues and small tidbits that seem inconsequential at the time, but then later they resurface and become important. I enjoyed following the trail and seeing how they all fit together. Almost everything has a place in the story.
*I mentioned in my earlier review of Spellbound, that this series has the ubiquitous mean girl. While I hate the inclusion of the tormentors, at least the main characters take a stand against the bullying. I admired the way that Emma admonished herself when she stooped to the low tactics of the mean girls. She sees the error in her actions and chooses to rise above that nasty type of behavior.
*I appreciate that this series stays away from the horrendous love triangles and the dreaded cliffhangers. Both books center around the smoking hot romance between Brendan and Emma, and they both resolve nicely. I applaud Ms. Shultz for endeavoring to refrain from my two most hated nemesis in the YA genre.
*I love Emma's voice, she is just a touch sarcastic and a bit edgy, which leads to some fun dialogue.
*I liked that the author included at the end of both books a downloadable playlist of songs on Brendan and Emma's ipods. A fun little addition to the books.
And The Not So Much:
*This book explores Emma's newfound powers as she begins to accept that she is a witch. For some reason, I just don't feel like the whole witch concept is thoroughly explored and explained. Some of the spells just don't make sense. For instance, it becomes evident that powerful spells can be performed if the caster has a personal item, so why then would the characters agree to give blood to get the attacker to back off? A sample of blood is one of the most potent ingredients, usually to perform a dark spell. The witchcraft, just didn't feel realistic to me.
*Again this book starts off slow. It takes a good while before the true plot unfolds, and the action doesn't kick in until at least half way. The book does build and build to a big dramatic finish, but you must be patient.
*This book has a darker tone in comparison to its predecessor. I found that I had a harder time staying engaged in this plot, it may have been just me, but I thought the focus on the romance in the first book was fun, this time the story revolves around a dark predator bent on breaking up Emma and Brendan. Perhaps the reason I wasn't as entertained by this book was that the plot lacked the originality that was present in Spellbound.
Fans of the Brendan and Emma, soul mates, will delight in the return of their spicy hot romance. This book delves into the paranormal world of witches and spells. Angelique steps forward and adds her unique voice to the book, a lively addition indeed. I can recommend this book to anyone who is looking to read outside of the typical triangle trios and escape the pain of the cliffhanger. This is a good read, but in my opinion not quite as unique as its predecessor.
"I thought at the time---she'd had so much Botox for the grand opening of one of her husband's hotels that her face was about as flexible as brick."
"So I could think of better ways to pass the time than discussing his past, like slamming my face into a drawer---repeatedly."
"I rolled my eyes at her. "You watch too much porny latenight TV."
"Looks like someone put on her pervy pants this morning."
"Which left me standing right next to Kristin, the Creamsicle---colored harpy. I felt like the chained-up goat from Jurassic Park, just waiting for the T-Rex to come and bite my head off."
"I sat on the rim of the bathtub in his messy bathroom, blowing my nose into a continuous roll of toilet paper like the sexy beast I am."
"You're a diamond and she's a....Twinkie wrapper."
"He thought her tan made her look like she bathed in nacho cheese."
"The empath in me was hit with such a display of he-man testosterone swagger I was worried I'd feel like trying to write my name in the snow."
"Overlooking it all like an eye in the sky was the moon, a deep rust color bleeding into its side as the lunar eclipse continued its progress." ”
“After the happy ever after of finding her soulmate, Brendan, Emma though her life would be a lot calmer than it has been in recent months. Never mind her budding powers as a witch, she just wants to be a normal sixteen year old going to prep school, with a yummy boyfriend to boot. However, she should have known things wouldn't have stayed so easy. A malevolent force who makes Emma's witch skills look like parlor tricks, has set its sight on Emma and Brendan. It will stop at nothing to rip them apart to steal their power for its own dark purpose.
The previous book was rather mediocre to me, there just wasn't anything that grabbed a hold of me. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it, but in the end it wasn't something that would leave an impression on me. However, when I saw there was going to be a sequel, I knew I would still like to check it out to see where the characters went next. Unfortunately they didn't really get far at all, as there didn't seem to be enough forward momentum or point to really warrant anything. I guess I am just disappointed because I feel the story wasn't really added to with this installment, so I have to question the necessity of it all.
Several times throughout reading Spellcaster I became quite exasperated at the characters' behaviors. Emma and Brendan were both so protective of the other that they kept trying to keep the other one out of danger, and only wound up hurting each other instead. A lot of the angst in this book could have been prevented if they had of only opened up. Then you add in Emma's witch friend Angelique who takes Emo to a whole new level, yet she somehow gets all giddy happy in the face of danger. I also had a hard time believing in the strength of the threat since the girls were so emphatic about keeping Angelique's mother out of things, but then again it really doesn't surprise me as they are teenagers, and with maturity comes the wisdom to know when to ask for help.
I found myself easily distracted while reading Spellcaster to the point where I had a lot of difficultly picking it back up, and I almost didn't finish it. To be honest, while I would still read something else from this author as I see a lot of potential there, I highly doubt I will continue on with this series if there are anymore installments. That being said, if you liked Spellbound more than I did, then Spellcaster will probably be pretty enjoyable as well, and you will definitely want to check it out.
“Spellcaster picks up a few months post Spellbound. Emma and Brendan are in love and inseparable. That is until Emma gets attacked at field trip to a museum. She, thankfully, was able to fight off her attacker and with the help of witchy friend, Angelique, they are able to discover that the blood of “true lovers”, like Emma and Brendan, is an incredibly potent ingredient used in spells. As more people, around Emma, become endangered, they must try to find who is responsible and figure out how to stop him/her.
Spellcaster tries hard…but it just doesn’t have that “sweep you off your feet” kind of feeling that Spellbound did. I like Aimee Carter’s writing, but feel Spellbound should have been a stand alone book rather than the beginning of a series.
There were a couple of areas where we shifted to Angelique’s perspective, which kind of felt like “filler” to me. We didn’t learn anything new or exciting about Emma or Brendan. Emma consistently kept info from Brendan, Brendan repeatedly asked her to include him, and Emma would continue to lie and go off without him. I did enjoy the introduction of Angelique’s cousin and her knowledge of magic…plus her incessant flirting with Brendan made me chuckle.
“I loved Spellbound, and I loved Spellcaster even more! Ms. Schultz has created characters you can really relate to despite their paranormal abilities. Emma and Brendan speak and act like normal teenagers which is what I love the most about them. The relationship between Emma and Brendan feels genuine and real. I never once doubted their feelings for each other in either book. As most of you know, I tend to lean more toward the action in books and treat the romance as just another plot point or obstacle, but in these books the romance is what drives them. This is a romance series that I can proudly stand behind. It’s real, and that’s what I love about it.
In Spellbound Emma and Brendan lifted the curse that plagued them for years — a curse which forced them to be reincarnated and to fall in love over and over only to have Emma ripped away from Brendan. With the curse officially broken, the only thing bogging down these soulmates is the media attention surrounding them after the brave heroics of Brendan in the first book. That, and the snotty mean girls at their posh private school, but those are minor things. This all changes when Emma’s friend Angelique does a spell which reveals that Emma and Brendan are in grave danger. A malevolent force is out to destroy them, and if they thought breaking the curse was difficult, they are in for a huge shock this time around.
What I love most about these books is that the first book could have easily been a standalone. I didn’t feel like I was left hanging, though I definitely wanted more of these two. This book contains a whole new mystery that does build on the first book, but it is a story of its own.
I particularly love Ms. Schultz’s writing style. She obviously cares deeply for her characters and she knows them well. They are so well-drawn. I also love how the story flows — pieces fall into place at exactly the right time and I never felt like it dragged at all.
Spellcaster is a well-written tale of romance and mystery and I highly recommend it. If you’ve not read Spellbound I urge you to check it out.”
“The story picks up a couple of months after Spellbound. Emma and Brendan are semi-celebrities due to Anthony's attack on them, and all seems rather well. A little sickeningly, I have to admit. Although it did set the mood for what was to come later.
As you may have guessed, the happy ending was certainly not permanent, because the oh-so-doomey-doom was nearing on the horizon. And I'm not even kidding concerning the dramatics because the whole book is quite dramatic. Spellbound was as well, so maybe it's just the author's style. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, because there is enough fluff and funny scenes to balance out the drama - somewhat at least.
Now, I found both Emma and Brendan too sacrificing for normal teenagers. Yes, I know eternal love, fated soulmates and whatnot. I guess that is the explanation for it. It just felt off to me nonetheless. Sure, dreaming of such a love is nice and well. But again, the image this sends to tweens and teenagers? It's okay to die for your boyfriend, to deliberately hurt yourself for you boyfriend? I would not be comfortable in recommending this to a young girl.
However, it was exciting, it kept me turning pages. In the middle, I think it's kind of slow for a while. I thought a couple of times "Well, that's it?" because the reader is led to believe that the conflict is already resolved. As soon as those few chapters are over though, the action starts again believe me!”