Mar 2, 2013

Review: Spellcaster by Claudia Gray

Title: Spellcaster
Author: Claudia Gray
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publishing Date: March 5, 2013
Pages/Format: 370, ARC

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.

Initial Reaction of Book in One Word: LIKE

Spellcaster is one of those books that's on the line for me between good and okay, but leaning more toward good. Unfortunately, it didn't put a spell on me or leave me feeling magical--I liked it, but didn't love it. 

What I didn't like: bits and pieces here and there. The writing isn't bad, but I have some issues with it, mainly with punctuation. (I can't hate on it too much since I read the ARC, but I don't think they'll change that much of it in the final version.) This book didn't always use the Oxford comma, which drove me crazy. The POVs were...interesting. I've seen some reviews saying things about the POV that was from a crow, but I actually thought that was kind of cool. My problem with the POVs was that they're kind of sporadic and not marked. I had to read to see whose POV I was reading from, for there was nothing saying who it was. And it didn't just change at the beginning of a chapter; it changed throughout the chapter. While I got pretty used it, I don't think it was my favorite thing and it could have been handled a little differently. (Maybe it will be in the finished copy.)

Even though I didn't fall in love with the characters, they were still good characters. While there are a few random POVs inbetween, it's mainly told from the perspectives of Nadia, Mateo, Verlaine, and Elizabeth. I don't want to say much about the characters because I might give something away, but Nadia is a witch and Mateo is cursed (as the synopsis says). They meet and work together to fight evil, and Verlaine and Elizabeth both play parts in that, though ones does more than the other. This isn't much of a spoiler alert, but Nadia and Mateo have some sparks flying. I thought their romance was okay, if maybe a little insta-love. I feel like there was more talk of them wanting to be with each other romantically then them actually being together and in a romantic relationship, and I would've preferred the latter. I did like how spells were cast--it's not all eye of newt and double trouble, boil and troil. (Or however that goes.) Instead, the spell was a few ingredients--like, say, the destruction of a thing beloved, and then the caster would think of something that happened to her that fits the ingredient. I thought that was different and kind of cool. Nadia was a good character, and one who took care of others more than herself. I liked Mateo--he was a good guy, and didn't do much of anything that made him the bad boy. He was, for the most part, a normal, nice guy.

I feel like this review is inadequate, for it makes it seem like I didn't like this book, which isn't the case. (I gave it 3.5 stars on Goodreads. And sometimes it's just hard to put how I felt about a book into words.) Once I got into the book--which did take a while--I enjoyed it. I wanted to know what was going to happen, how this and that was going to play out. Sure, it had its negatives, but it was still a fun, likeable read. I'll probably read the other books in the series when they come out, but I don't think I'll race to get them. I hope they're better than Spellcaster and that they give me more (of what, I'm not sure), which I think is what I wanted from this book. It lacked the Wow Factor, but it was still something that's wasn't too shabby. Even though it didn't happen to me, you never know--this may be the book to put a magic spell on you.

Did I like it? Yes.
Did I love it? Not quite.
Would I reread it? Probably not.
Would I purchase it? Already did.
Would I recommend it? If you're a fan of Gray's books and like witches, then yes.


  1. This book sounds good. I hate when a book isn't as good as I'd like it to be though. And I totally get what you're saying about not being sure what to say about a book. It happens. This was a really good review non the less and it has me wondering about the point of view! It sounds like an interesting one!

  2. Thanks for the honest review! I've had many cases where I wasn't finding the words to describe a book I've read. I've had this book on my TBR pile for a while and I can't wait to see what I think. Sometimes changes between POV can get tricky and frustrating if not done correctly.

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