Friday, March 15, 2013

Of All the Witches Working, I'm the Worst

Published:  March 5th, 2013
Spellcaster (Spellcaster # 1)
By: Claudia Gray
ISBN-13:  9780061961205

When Nadia’s family moves to Captive’s Sound, she instantly realizes there’s more to it than meets the eye. Descended from witches, Nadia senses a dark and powerful magic at work in her new town. Mateo has lived in Captive’s Sound his entire life, trying to dodge the local legend that his family is cursed - and that curse will cause him to believe he’s seeing the future … until it drives him mad. When the strange dreams Mateo has been having of rescuing a beautiful girl—Nadia—from a car accident 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 family’s terrible curse, and to prevent a disaster that threatens the lives of everyone around them. Shimmering with magic and mystery, New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray’s new novel is sure to draw fans of the Hex Hall and Caster Chronicles series, and fans of the hit CW TV show The Secret Circle.
     Nadia only wants a fresh start for her broken family, so that maybe they can start to mend again.  So when they move to Captive's Sound, she wants to be excited and like her new town.  But there is an aura of darkness and sickness that can't be ignored and it has infected the entire town.  With the help of Mateo, a boy drowning under the weight of a multi-generational family curse, and another unexpected friend, Nadia will need to use all her training as a witch (however little training that really is) to defeat a great evil that could wipe the entire town off the face of the Earth.  Can they break Mateo's curse and leave him free to love Nadia completely or are they doomed to be kept apart by madness and grief?  I have read the first book of the author's other series, Evernight, and could not keep reading the series after that.  But I really loved her stand alone novel Fateful, so the chances were 50/50 that I would like it.  My feelings now that I have read it are mediocre at best.  It was a well-paced novel, with an interesting premise for a plot but the characters were sort of flat without the omniscient point of view from ANY of them at all.  I would have liked to get a true look inside their thoughts and feelings.  I don't feel like I got that from any of them.  There were some interesting character types, but it felt like the actual personalities were more fill in the blanks than anything else, especially Nadia's. 
     Every time someone freaked out and the danger of death/personal loss was highlighted, I honestly didn't really care.  But the plot was decent enough to keep me going, even if it was extremely predictable.  The one thing I was unsure about was what Elizabeth's (the villain) plan was for whatever was underneath the chemistry lab.  Didn't expect it to be quite as evil as it was!  The idea that spells are created using moments and feelings from your own life, was interesting and new.  But at first I didn't even realize what was going on with the 'random flashbacks' every time Nadia went to cast a spell.  It was confusing.  Then it dawned on me what was happening.  I wish that Gray would have gone more into Verlaine's background and not left things so vague, even after you find out her parents were murdered.  This was a paint by numbers paranormal, teen romance and with the good construction of the prose, it could have been a lot more.  Very disappointing to a reader who is tired of mediocre books.
VERDICT:  2.5/5  Stars
**I received this book as part of Around the World ARC Tours, run by the lovely Princess Bookie. No favors or money were exchanged for this review. It became available for purchase March 5th, 2013.*

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