March 24, 2012
Review: Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins
Talk about timing…
Just as Sophie Mercer has come to accept her extraordinary magical powers as a demon, the Prodigium Council strips them away. With her powers locked inside her, Sophie is defenseless, alone, and at the mercy of her sworn enemies–the Brannicks, a family of warrior women who hunt down the Prodigium. Or at least that’s what Sophie thinks, until she makes a surprising discovery. The Brannicks know an epic war is coming, and they believe Sophie is the only one powerful enough to stop the world from ending. But without her magic, Sophie isn’t so sure.
The only known spell that can help Sophie regain her magic is at Hex Hall–the place where it all began, and now the headquarters of the evil Casnoffs. Together with her best friend, the vampire Jenna; her boyfriend, Archer; her fiance, Cal (yeah, her love life is complicated); and a ghost for a sidekick, Sophie must battle an army of demons. But even with her friends at her side, the fate of all Prodigium rests on her shoulders alone.
Sophie’s bound for one hell of a ride… Can she get her powers back before it’s too late?
Okay, I should be noted I’m a total fangirl of these books. Did you not SEE my Waiting on Wednesday post a couple of weeks ago? So you can understand that I really, really wanted to like this book. And I did, I really did. But there was a problem.
THIS BOOK WAS WAY TOO SHORT.
Now, I’m really not saying that because I love these books and I’m sad that they’re over. I’m being downright technically serious. So much happened in this book, and Sophie was bopping all over the place and it just went way too fast. I didn’t feel like I got a chance to really get to know any of the new characters (Izzy, anyone?) and some of the biggest, most heart wrenching scenes just … happened. And all the while Sophie is here, Sophie is there, Sophie is back there again and then gone and then–aiyee! You can’t process what just happened because it’s all just WHOOSHED right past. Now, you’re probably thinking, doesn’t she LIKE fast paced books? Didn’t she say she loved Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton because it read “like a rapid fire machine gun”? Yes, yes I did. But this … wasn’t that. It seemed way too choppy in places, and a lot of important things weren’t handled with as much care or as fleshed out as they could have been. It left my head spinning–and not in a good way.
That is basically the entire reason this book only got four stars, unlike the 5 I’d have given Demon Glass or Hex Hall. I wanted this to be the roaring, hysterical, funny finale to an amazing series, but in the back of my mind I was just always a little thrown off by the writing.
Yes, in the back of my mind. In case you were worried, Sophie is still entirely Sophie. I was still laughing out loud at her snark. I still want to be her best friend. Speaking of which, you don’t really need to wait that long in the worry that all her friends and family are missing. They start popping out of the woodwork in ones and twos in the first third or so of the book, which almost made me upset. Hawkins set up that tension so well, and then it kind of resolves itself.
If you were going to bring back Archer that early, there should have been more make out scenes. Just sayin’.
Two last things to discuss: Elodie and Cal. Let’s start with Elodie…
Okay, we get that the girl is a ghost tied to Sophie. Personally, her constant actions regarding Sophie didn’t really bother me too much. They seemed entirely like an angry Elodie would act. The problem was really when Sophie started leaning on said Elodie as a crutch, but that didn’t last all that long (as nothing did in this book) so I got over it pretty quickly. I know a lot of people have been annoyed with how much that certain event happened, but I kinda just took it in and went with it.
Now. Cal. (Please note that we are about to devolve into fangirl rantings, not a technical critique.) CAL. CAL. RACHEL HAWKINS. I… I… I FEEL ALL THINGS. THAT ENDING. THAT ENDING. Personally, I don’t find anything technically wrong with it. I thought it was actually poetic. BUT. BUT. THE FANGIRL IN ME DIED A LITTLE. AND THEN SOARED A LITTLE. AND THEN CRIED A LITTLE. And now you know.
I realize that this review doesn’t sound all that complimentary, but hey, that’s what a review is. It’s basically a place to nitpick at books. I gave it four stars for a reason. Spell Bound was a good ending to the Hex Hall series, and hopefully left it open for Hawkins to return to this world–hopefully from the eyes of Izzy. However, it wasn’t spectacular. Sometimes I think that the endings to series can never be everything you want them to be, but after I had closed the book I just had such mixed feelings. Everything that I had wanted to happen, happened. Just not in the way I wanted it to. Everyone has their own opinions about how they want series’ to end, and maybe I’m not capable of separating my fangirl from my critical reviewer. But I think BOTH of them wish that Spell Bound had taken a little longer to really give itself a finished polish.