Spellbound (Early Review)

, by Kt Clapsadl

Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz
Spellbound #1

What's a girl to do when meeting The One means she's cursed to die a horrible death?

Life hasn't been easy on sixteen-year-old Emma Conner, so a new start in New York may be just the change she needs. But the posh Upper East Side prep school she has to attend? Not so much. Friendly faces are few and far between, except for one that she's irresistibly drawn to—Brendan Salinger, the guy with the rock-star good looks and the richest kid in school, who might just be her very own white knight.

But even when Brendan inexplicably turns cold, Emma can't stop staring. Ever since she laid eyes on him, strange things have been happening. Streetlamps go out wherever she walks, and Emma's been having the oddest dreams: visions of herself in past lives—visions that warn her to stay away from Brendan. Or else.

Emma has a chance to start over and forget the past. She moved to New York to live with her aunt. She's enrolled in a very exclusive upper class prep school that people like her never fit in to. She's determined to keep her head down and just finish out the last two years unnoticed. Of course that all changes once she meets Brenden. She is inexplicably drawn to him and he seems the same in reverse. Or at least at times he does, other times he can't seem to get away from her fast enough. Since meeting him, mysterious things keep happening and she feels a sense of foreboding. Warnings are happening in her dreams telling her that she must stay away from him or she risks her very life.

Emma is an interesting character. She has a horrible past that has left its scars on her, both mental and physical. She has a strange sense of courage, and her bravery (or foolishness depending on how you want to look at it) lands her in trouble way over her head more than once. Heck, just the fact that she chose to stay around despite the almost guarantee she would lose her life as a result speaks volumes. She did have a little more "does he or doesn't he" teen angst going on when it came to things with Brendan than I would have liked, but I realize this won't bother teens as much as they can relate a little better than I can. However, this did get a little better as things progressed between them, and in the end is understandable because we all get a little nuts at the beginning of a new relationship, no matter our age.

While I did enjoy the book, it just was not quite as satisfying as I would have liked. Don't get me wrong, the concept of the story was really intriguing and I genuinely cared for Emma and her plight. However, as I was reading Spellbound, I couldn't help comparing it to a house that is well constructed and has a good foundation, but the builders forgot one crutial element; the insulation. There was a lot of things going on in Spellbound, but nothing really bound it all together and kept the threads from escaping, thus the lack of "insulation." One example would be the witch aspect. It was built up as something of great importance, and then midway through almost completely forgotten. Another would be the constant hot and cold treatment Brendan gave Emma. When the reasoning behind this was revealed, I couldn't help but be disappointed as I had thought there was some mysterious or magical mojo going on instead of the actual reason. Things like this would happen periodically throughout, making it a little hard to stay fully immersed in the book.

This book was incredibly hard for me to decide on a rating. While I may have had a little issue with how things were tied together in Spellbound, I still think it was a pretty good read, especially for a debut novel. I could be wrong, but I think it is a stand alone novel. That being said, I wouldn't mind more books in this "world," and I will be on the look out for more books from this author as I feel she definitely has potential. In the end Spellbound will enchant you and make you believe in a love that survives lifetimes despite the horrible odds against them.

(Received from Netgalley)


Pre-order at Amazon:
Spellbound (Harlequin Teen)

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