Book Review:Spell Bound
by Kelley Armstrong
"Sexy, smart, and action-packed! Kelley Armstrong is truly one of the greats in this genre."
-Richelle Mead, author of the bestselling Vampire Academy series
"Kelley Armstrong's bewitching ability to entertain remains as strong as ever."
"Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld goes beyond standard paranormal fiction . . . moving from one set of characters to another through the books, yet intertwining their stories to provide a rich background for the readers."
-San Francisco Book Review
"Armstrong is quite deft at making Savannah simultaneously formidable, sympathetic, and real-or at least as real as a girl who flings hex bolts and has a necromancer on speed-dial can be."
-The Miami Herald
"Savannah is a gutsy, shrewd, and accomplished protagonist who will immediately capture the reader's intelligence."
"Armstrong is a master of suspense, romance, and bad girls who know how to kick a little badder-guy tail and look good while doing it. Getting a new Armstrong book is a guarantee that you're going to be up all night reading, because you're not going to be able to stop until it's done."
-The Parkersburg News and Sentinel
With reviews like this, I was eager to jump into this book and immerse myself in the world the author had created, even though I hadn't read any previous books in the series. I was hoping it was one of those books that could be read as a stand-alone, and while some might consider that to be the case, I was just...lost. I felt like I had stepped into the middle of a conversation at a party where everyone knew each other except me. The book was filled with references to people and storylines from previous books, which made me wonder several times whether or not I should finish reading this book. Still, something kept me going and before I knew it, I had finished the book. One thing in its favor is that it's a fast read. If it wasn't, I probably would have given up on it because like I said, I was lost in a conversation I knew little about and felt like I was desperately trying to play catch up.
Setting aside the fact that this is part of a very long series (this is book number 12), there were things to recommend it for hardcore paranormal/urban fantasy fans. A kickass heroine, a hero who's loyal to a fault, but still very alpha, a cast of supernatural characters stirring up trouble. All the stuff you'd need or want in a book of this type, right? Pretty much. I was disappointed that the romantic elements weren't played up that much. In fact, they were written like an after-thought to the point that I began to wonder how these two characters found themselves in a relationship. And when they did, it was just kind of...meh. No sparks whatsoever, nothing to sigh for or make the reader root for them to be together. But since I didn't read any previous books in the series, I don't know whether this is just the way the author writes her romances or if they are just after-thoughts for her and she's more interested in the story.
As to that, the story itself is rather interesting. A witch unwittingly giving up her powers in a deal with some unknown force to protect an innocent child? Sounds good so far. So then said witch, Savannah, embarks on a crusade to get her powers back and leads her faithful hero, Adam, on a wild chase that has more twists and turns than a corkscrew. Okay, still with it. But even as I'm reading, sometimes I can't help but think, Who cares? Savannah is kind of bratty and likes to get her own way a lot. She's also something of a control freak, which is what, I think, freaks her out the most about losing her powers. She's no longer in control. For the first time in her life, she has to rely on her wits and her physical attributes to get out of certain situations, rather than depend on the quick fix of being able to cast a spell. The saving grace for Savannah (and this story) is that the loss of her powers sends Savannah on a journey of self-discovery. I won't spoil the results of that journey, but I will say that it made this book worth reading.
All in all, I liked the cast of characters, the story itself was intriguing, and the writing was tight and flowed so easily off the page, sometimes you forgot you were reading a book. Those are the criteria of a good book for me. Will I pick up another in this series? Very possibly.
GIVEAWAY ALERT: I'm going to give my copy away - and hey, it came with two Otherworld tattoos - to a lucky commenter.
(Note: I received this book from the publisher for review.)