Review: Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins

Review: Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins

Four stars

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.

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Books are the Best Medicine – Here’s My Preferred Prescription!

Today’s post is going to be a little bit of a shorter one, because as you may have guessed I’m so ill as to be seeing stars and hanging out all day in bed. Of course, hanging out in bed all day DOES come with the awesome upside of having a lot of quality time to spend with one’s bookshelf. Therefore, I decided today’s post would be all about those books of mine that I just read over and over and over again when I’m feeling down. After all, who needs meds when you’ve got books? (Let it be noted that the following are just a sample. My books number in the thousands. :P) If you have a book that helps YOU feel better, let me know in the comments! My cough tells me I’m going to have a loooot more time to kill before I get much better. ^.^

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

This is probably the newest book I’ve added to this list, but I just can’t get enough of it. You can check out my initial review of the book here–it still shows how I feel about this book quite well. I just CANNOT get enough of these characters or the story or … anything. I actually reread it just the other day and discovered that–despite how many times I’ve read this–I still have to be careful while I’m reading, because I STILL laugh hysterically at the jokes that always happen to show up every time I want a drink.

Demon Glass by Rachel Hawkins

Yes, Hex Hall too, but at the moment I’ve been reading Demon Glass a bit more with the reason that the third book IS coming out March 13. These books are action packed AND include cute guys and awesome one liners. I’m not one who easily laughs out loud at books, but when I’m STILL doing that on my one gajillionth reread, I know I’ve got something special that I just refuse to let go.

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

I COULD have titled this entry “anything by Cassandra Clare” and still be telling you the truth, but I really have a thing for City of Glass. Probably because of all the Jace/Clary-ness but whatever. I just had a new urge to reread the entire Mortal Instruments series (if you want to know just what these are, check out my article here) again after going through Clare’s section of Goodreads quotes and laughing so hard I tipped over my chair. All that goodness undiluted can kill, I swear. These books are also so awesome and widely appealing that my brother read them, so we have quote wars. It’s amazing, let me tell you.

Squire by Tamora Pierce

Now, throughout this post you’re going to notice I have a thing with rereading the final books in series. If you know anything about Pierce’s Protector of the Small series, however, then you’ll know Squire is actually the 3rd of 4 books. Don’t ask me why, but I just adore this book like nobody’s business. I actually broke the spine of the library’s copy before I realized I should prooobably get my own. But hey, how can you go wrong with Kel, Raoul and a baby griffin? (The answer is, you can’t.)

Lioness Rampant by Tamora Pierce

Alright, here we go, back to the “last book in the series” trend. Well, I’ll be honest, any time I name one book in a series it’s a good bet I just spend all day rereading the ENTIRE series, but this is just my favorite. You’ve got the Shang Dragon AND George AND Thom AND Jon AND her friends AND–erm. Everything. This book has everything. I better just leave it at that…

The Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead

Full disclaimer: I usually don’t reread the entirety of this book. In fact I usually don’t read the entirety of this series. I reread all Rose and Dimitri sections and flip through the rest. Don’t get me wrong, I adore the other characters–Adrian especially after Bloodlines–but…AAGH. Rose and Dimitri. Never have I shipped a couple so hard. Seriously. (Although Sydney and Adrian are coming up close second.) I have reread this book quite a few times, but I have mauled the end pages that include Rose and Dimitri’s “happily ever after.” I may be a sucker, but you can’t tell me it isn’t reasonable with this two.

Countdown to 2012: Books I Can’t Wait to Read (Part 1)

Does anyone else write down book release dates on their calendar? Because I do. The second I get a date, it’s scrawled on the calendar in a colored pen so fast the ink gets mussed. I got a calendar as a present and that was the first thing I did. Thank you, Goodreads. Here’s a list of books I’m waiting for and their release dates! If you see one that’s on yours too, SQUEE WITH ME. If there are ones that aren’t on here, and that fact BLOWS your MIND, tell me in the comments! You can never get too many books.

JESSICA RULES THE DARK SIDE by Beth Fantasky (Jessica #2)

Release Date: Jan 10

Why: Because I’m honestly curious what Fantasky is going to do, since I was so sure the first book–Jessica’s Guide to Dating the Dark Side–was a stand alone novel. It certainly didn’t leave any loose ends or anything. It was genuinely interesting and a new take on vampirism, so I enjoyed it. I may or may not be a sucker for “what happens after the fairytale ending” stories. Plus, Lucian was a hot vampire. Sign me up!

HALLOWED by Cynthia Hand (Unearthly #2)

Release Date: January 17

Why: I linked to my review of the first book, Unearthly, which will talk more about my feelings about the book, but I will say again that I am genuinely curious how Hallowed is going to unfold, not just plot-wise but also writing style-wise. Unearthly was good but slow, though I was too intrigued by Hand’s take on angelicism to put it down. I think without the time constraints that she was limited to by her own plot conventions in the first book, Hand can really do something special with this one. Or at least I’m hoping. You’ll certainly be the first to know when I figure it out! I’ve already got it pre-ordered.

EVERNEATH  by Brodi Ashton

Release date: Jan 24

Why: THIS BOOK SOUNDS SO COOL. Alright, blurbs can often be very misleading, but, come on. This book has a really, really neat concept as described here. It’s been advertised on inkpop and all over Goodreads, and I can’t help but cave. It probably won’t be on my instantly pre-ordered list because of all the series I’m excited to further and finish, but I most definitely want to pick it up when I get the chance.

WINGS OF THE WICKED by Courtney Allison Moulton (Angelfire #2)

Release Date: Jan 31

Why: Angelfire made me go gaga, plain and simple. Just…gaga. The storyline is awesome, the mythology is awesome, the twists were awesome, the romance is awesome and the guy is one I would love to date. Need I say more? Because I will, actually. The end of book one left opened up twists that I sure as heck didn’t see coming and left more questions than answers, and I NEED ANSWERS. It’s already been preordered and I am counting down days.

FEVER by Lauren DeStefano (The Chemical Garden #2)

Release Date: February 21st

Why: Alright, yes, my book review of the first bookWither–wasn’t completely complimentary, but I can’t help but be intrigued. DeStefano handled some really tough issues really well and wrote in some great relationship stuff (and some not great, but I hold onto hope)…and the blurb talks about Rhine and Gabriel ending up in a “twisted carnival whose ringmistress keeps watch over a menagerie of girls.” Maybe I’m a sucker. Maybe I’m a big sucker. But come on. This is crazy enough it just might work, and Wither was good enough that I’m not ready to give up on this world quite yet.

SPELL BOUND by Rachel Hawkins (Hex Hall #3)

Release Date: March 13

Why: WHY DO I NEED TO TELL YOU? Ahem. Anyways. Have you read these? Because you need to read these. Yes, girl at magical boarding school has been tried and tried again, but I am in LOVE. LOVE. LOVE with this books. They are interesting, they are funny, they are will written and the love interest(s) are to die for. Oh, and it is SO NOT FAIR how Hawkins just leaves you hanging again and again. …I am very impatient when I just NEED to know what happens next, you may have noticed. I tend to pre-order by month, so you know what I’ll be doing March 1st instead of celebrating my father’s birthday.

INSURGENT by Veronica Roth (Divergent #2)

Release Date: May 1

Why: Divergent may or may not have been overhyped for a reason. It isn’t groundbreaking amazingness, but it is pretty darn near close. I’ve yet to read a dystopian that I’ve enjoyed this much. It was the realist, and the one I connected the most with. It had pretty much everything I look for in a book, plus I truly enjoy reading Roth’s writing. It’s easy but it sends a message clearly, which is really hard to do. It started a new wave of dystopian trends for a reason. If you haven’t read it yet, READ IT.

CITY OF LOST SOULS by Cassandra Clare (The Mortal Instruments #5)

Release Date: May 8

Why: CASSANDRA CLARE. That should be enough for anybody. I’ll admit,  I was almost a little upset when Clare decided she was going to write 3 more books in this series instead of keeping it at a trilogy as planned, but that doesn’t stop me from being a freakish fan girl. Jace and Clary make me so amazingly happy–not to mention Alec and Magnus and Simon and–everybody. Let’s just go with everybody. The last book wasn’t great; it was almost like Clare was actually making stuff up to keep the series going. Now, half of the people I talk to are pretty sure she was actually doing that, but goodness don’t SHOW it. Either way, sign me up for this one and all the rest. I just can’t put these books down EVER.

There were just too many books for this post, so you can find part 2 here!