Friday, March 25, 2011

Review: Spellbent

Just finished reading Lucy A. Snyder’s first novel, Spellbent. You just have to love that cover. And here is le blurbé:

In the heart of Ohio, Jessie Shimmer is caught up in hot, magic-drenched passion with her roguish lover, Cooper Marron, who is teaching her how to tap her supernatural powers. When they try to break a drought by calling down a rainstorm, a hellish portal opens and Cooper is ripped from this world, leaving Jessie fighting for her life against a vicious demon that's been unleashed.

In the aftermath, Jessie, who knows so little about her own true nature, is branded an outlaw. She must survive by her wits and with the help of her familiar, a ferret named Palimpsest. Stalked by malevolent enemies, Jessie is determined to find out what happened to Cooper. But when she moves heaven and earth to find her man, she'll be shocked by what she discovers—and by what she must ultimately do to save them all.

This book was great. The humour, the action, they were both spot on. You know those times where you don’t know what you’re looking for until you find it? *Points at this book*. Lately I’ve been suffering through some formulaic urban fantasy, most of which is really paranormal romance masquerading as something it’s not. I’m a (straight) guy, and so I start to sulk when I come across books where romance (usually of the his-butt-was-so-tight­-I-wanted-to-slap-it variety) hijacks the storyline. I don’t mind it, but if I’m reading urban fantasy then I want more urban fantasy than hot male bodies and sex. Fortunately, that isn’t an issue in this book. The romancin’ in Spellbent is kept to a minimum, even though Jesse Shimmer’s love for her master-cum-lover Cooper is the driving force behind the story. You get enough to give you a good feel for why she’s so determined to see Cooper out safe, but it doesn’t blow the plot off its rails.

One of the main reasons this book is a winner is that Jesse is a really likeable character. She’s smart, she’s determined, and she doesn’t spend much time wangsting like some main characters are wont to do. Even when she does angst, she has a pretty good reason for it. She isn’t perfect though; she even makes a pretty big mistake around the start of the story… but you never feel she’s been given the Idiot Ball. There’s also Palimpsest, her ferret familiar. Here’s another likeable character if I ever saw one. I found myself looking forward to the parts in his perspective, just to find out titbits about him and his past.

The magic system of ubiquemancy (or ‘Babbling’) was also pretty intriguing, along with the different beings introduced and the idea of personal hells. I won’t give away too much because discovering these things is part of what makes fantasy so interesting ;)

Now, the bad stuff. Where the story falls short for me was the main antagonist. Some of his actions seemed a little over-the-top with regard to his motivations. It’s not a deal breaker, but I felt there could have been something more realistic serving as a propellant. The book also ended quite abruptly, leaving me with a lot of questions, but I suppose it could also be seen as a good thing – it didn’t drag on for longer than it had to.

All in all I’d give this book a 4/5 (that’s 8 out of 10, folks!). While it’s a great read, it isn’t life changing or miles deep. But who says all books have to be? I really, really suggest you give it a try. I’ll definitely be reading the next book in this series, Shotgun Sorceress :)


  1. The phrase 'Shotgun Sorceress' is fucking awesome! I'm jealous. And it seems you had the same issue as my review with poorly drawn antagonist.

    I may have to check this out. :)

  2. Oh cool, I never saw this comment ^_^ I hope you do read it, it's pretty good :)