Friday, 1 July 2011

review: Spellbound

by Cara Lynn Shultz
Harlequin, June 2011
young adult paranormal
received for review from NetGalley

Summary (I'm too lazy to make up my own for once):
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.
The cover:

White text on a black background is, as usual, striking, and the shards of glass flying in an almost spiral add a heightened sense of danger. However, the girl (can you even see her?) is too far away to notice, and I'm not sure I understand what that off-white bridge rail/fence thing is doing there.

The book:

The romance of Twilight meets the premise of The Eternal Ones -- that's exactly how this novel hashed itself out in my head. Since the witchcraft isn't a major element in the story, the reader's attention ends up focused entirely on Emma and Brendan's relationship, as well as the consequences and results of it. Shultz does a relatively good job at making the whole "meant-to-be-together-because-of-a-legend" situation realistic (i.e. not Edward Cullen stalker-ish), but still lets us feel the heat of their attraction.

Supporting characters needed work. Angelique is the stereotypical witchy girl, sporting black and toting around spells and charms, but her support for Emma makes her endearing and a little more carved out than a stereotype. The antagonist, though, is plain delusional. It's hard to believe that any teenager would act so insanely, first of all; secondly, he hardly seems to fit the legend which Emma and Brendan's relationship is based on.

Unfortunately, because the antagonist seemed so off, the climax as a result was simply not enough for me. Oh, and Emma's dead brother makes a (corporeal) reappearance too, which doesn't fly since the supernatural aspect of Spellbound doesn't extend beyond street lamps shattering and reincarnation. A good read for a romance, but not much else.

Rating: 2.4 out of 5