Author: Claudia Gray
Genre: YA Paranormal
Series: Spellcaster (Book 1)
Publication Date: March 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover, 370 Pages
ISBN-10: 0061961205 (HarperTeen)
ISBN-13: 978-0061961205 (HarperTeen)
Reviewed by: Michelle
When Nadia’s family moves to Captive’s Sound, she instantly realizes there’s more to the place than meets the eye. Descended from witches, Nadia can sense that a spell has been cast over the tiny Rhode Island town—a sickness infecting everyone and everything in it. The magic at work is darker and more powerful than anything she’s come across and has sunk its claws most deeply into Mateo . . . her rescuer, her friend, and the guy she yearns to get closer to even as he pushes her away.
Mateo has lived in Captive’s Sound his entire life, shadowed by small-town gossip and his family’s tormented past. Every generation, the local legends say, one member of the family goes mad, claiming to know the future before descending into insanity. When the strange dreams Mateo has been having of rescuing a beautiful girl from a car accident actually come true, he knows he’s doomed.
Despite the forces pulling them apart, Nadia and Mateo must work together to break the chains of his terrible family curse, and to prevent a coming disaster that even now threatens the entire town, including Nadia’s family, her newfound friends, and her own life.
Quick & Dirty: A young girl with unharnessed power must go against a centuries old witch with perilous power.
Opening Sentence: Before anything else, Nadia felt the chill.
Claudia Gray knows how to write paranormal for young adults. In Spellcaster, her latest paranormal series, Gray writes about magic controlled by women. The lore in which Gray created the magic is fascinating. It reminded me of older historical stories of witches, charms, and generations of power.
Nadia and her family relocate to Captive Sound after her mother left them. The beginning of the story begins when Nadia becomes aware of a surge of power while driving into town. An accident causes Nadia to temporarily black out, only to be rescued by a boy, Mateo. Her power is unleashed, and she never fully learned how to control the Craft. Nadia’s mother was also a witch, and her teacher, but with her mother’s absence, she will have to endure on her own.
A powerful, dark force has caused the decay of Captive Sound. Nadia is faced with battling the evil deep within, while understanding to control her magical power. Nadia has help. There’s Mateo, the boy who rescued her. He has visions through dreams. The dreams are a curse, and has driven family members to their death. Mateo is filled with dark secrets, but is lured to Nadia in a way that he cannot explain. The attraction is dangerous, and dare I say filled with doom.
Nadia is independent, having to become the mother figure to her young brother and her dad. She has had to grow up a lot in the year since her mother left. Nadia closes herself off to anyone, never getting attached and allowing herself that vulnerability.
Nadia forms an unwarranted bond with Verlaine, someone who seems unimportant and easy to forget. They become fast friends, after breaking the initial walls that they have each put up. Nadia confides in Verlaine, and in turn Verlaine helps Nadia as a sounding board for all the magical mysteries in Captive Sound. She’s filled with snark and wit. I appreciated her comedic relief to the story.
Nadia first met Mateo in one of the beginning scenes of Spellcaster. He saved her after her accident. Mateo wasn’t someone that I instantly warmed up to. I originally didn’t understand his purpose until the very end. I didn’t exactly see his swoon factor. He had issues and a hang up that I couldn’t get past. Initially, I had an issue with what his role in the story symbolized, but I slowly warmed up to the idea. It was a rare situation, and I thought it played well with the theme of the story.
I enjoyed Gray’s writing. I could always tell when it is Gray’s writing, and Spellcaster added to that thought. There is an ease of flow when reading Spellcaster, adding elements of paranormal, fantasy, and a unique system of magic. There was a built in history and culture that I haven’t seen in a while, and it was refreshing to see it again. I didn’t always enjoy the antagonist. I didn’t like the voice used, but that’s just my opinion. I felt it was a little forced, but you’ll just have to read Spellcaster to see what I’m talking about.
Despite the few things that I didn’t like, I enjoyed the world that Gray built. Spellcaster has a world of magic where only women harnessed the power. Witchcraft, traditions, secrets, and romance. All good themes and details within Spellcaster.
Verlaine clearly was ready to get back to the subject. “So, come on. Tell me the laws of witchcraft.”
The First Laws were so familiar to Nadia – so often repeated to her, so much a part of her – that the words seemed to flow out almost without her thinking about it. “The most unbreakable one is that you must never be sworn to the One Beneath and do his bidding. Besides that – you must not reveal the Craft to anyone who would betray it. You must never speak of witchcraft to any man. You must never attempt to divine your own fate. You must never bear a child to the son of another witch. You must never command the will of another. You must never suffer a demon to walk among mortals.” Her eyes sought Mateo as she spoke the last remaining law:
“You must never cast a curse.”
2. Steadfast (2013)
FTC Advisory: HarperTeen provided me with a copy of Spellcaster. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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