Review: Spellcaster (Spellcaster #1) by Claudia Gray

March 18, 2013 Review 2

Review: Spellcaster (Spellcaster #1) by Claudia GraySpellcaster by Claudia Gray
Series: Spellcaster #1
Published by HarperTeen on March 5, 2013
Genres: YA Paranormal Romance, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 370
Source: Publisher
Excerpt: Excerpt
Book Trailer: Trailer
Sexual Content: Kissing
Reviewed by: Abigail
4 Stars

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 new found friends, and her own life. Shimmering with magic and mystery, New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray’s new novel depicts a dark and unforgettable world of witches, curses, buried secrets, and star-crossed romance.

Magic and mystery mingle in a small New England town in Claudia Gray's SPELLCASTER, the first book in a planned trilogy that is sure to enthrall readers.  One of the big attractions has to be the magic system which is incredibly cool and unlike any I've ever read before.  Nadia doesn't mix potions over a cauldron or recite Latin incantations, her spells require specific emotions.  For example, the first spell she casts calls for:

Terror so great it paralyzes. 

Hope so desperate it aches.

Courage so strong it survives

In order to produce these emotions, Nadia recalls memories.  They are always short little flashbacks, but they serve as great ways to reveal Nadia's backstory without any dreaded info-dumps.

And speaking of first spells, I'll admit the opening was a touch on the unimpressive side, but once Nadia started Casting, I was bewitched.  The story doesn't rely on the myriad of cliches that many YA titles fall back on. There are no unnecessary secrets that divide our couple, no ridiculous miscommunications that create problems where there are none.  All of the main characters were refreshingly straightforward, even with themselves.

The secondary characters were, unfortunately, pretty stereotypical,  but since they weren't given a ton of page time, that's a minor criticism.  Less easy to dismiss was the underwhelming romance.  It never really reached that heart pounding place for me.  I'm not sure if it was because of the multiple POVs (there are four)  or because of the very real threat of death that hung over them, but the romantic plotline was the least interesting to me.  But again, the rest of the book was excellent, including the characters.

Be prepared for a hefty cliffhanger at the end of SPELLCASTER.  This series has a very clearly defined beginning, middle, and ending.  A lot of questions go unanswered and numerous storylines are left unresolved, but it all felt very deliberate.  Claudia Gray knows exactly where this story is going and I intend to find out when  STEADFAST releases in March 2013, and the Spellcaster trilogy ends with SORCERESS in 2015.

Series Titles:
  1. Spellcaster
  2. Steadfast (2014)
  3. Sorceress (2015)
More Reviews: Similar Titles:

2 Responses to “Review: Spellcaster (Spellcaster #1) by Claudia Gray”

  1. Stephanie Scott

    Claudia Gray is a really cool author, this series really interests me. I wanted to love her other books but I’m not so into vampires. I think her vampire series may have pre-dated Twilight, so it’s nothing against her, just more a trend that has waned. I love this vibey New England witchcraft idea. Will definitely check this out.

    • Abigail

      I haven’t read the Evernight series,but I enjoyed Gray’s FATEFUL and now this one, so I’ll be giving it a try soon.