Tag Archives: magic

Review of Spell Caster, by Laura Greenwood

cover of Spell Caster

I received an Audible code for a copy fo Laura Greenwood‘s Spell Caster.

Description from Goodreads:

Can magic and science come together to catch a murderer?  

Cassie’s world is turned upside down when she’s given an unusual blood sample to test. And when a mysterious man shows up at her lab telling her he has the answers she’s looking for, she’s pulled into a world of murder, investigations, and intrigue.  

Finally able to explore the connection between her powers as a witch and her expertise as a scientist to uncover why paranormals keep turning up dead. 
–  
Spell Caster is a reverse harem paranormal mystery set in the Paranormal Council Universe.

Review:

Sigh. This wasn’t bad. It was just sort of a mess. For one, it’s called a reverse harem, which infers (though admittedly doesn’t say) it’s erotic. Most reverse harem books you encounter are, so tying itself into a known erotic trope suggests it is too. It isn’t. The steamiest this gets is that Cassie kisses each of her mates once (and they’re not even descriptive passionate kisses) and then each man kisses her forehead or the top of her head once. There is no passion or eroticism in this at all. If she was interested, I’d let me 9yo read it. 

Similarly there isn’t any passion (erotic or otherwise) about the mating. Cassie has a calm conversation with each man and then moves on. It literally could have been a work meeting over coffee. (Once even is over coffee.) 

But most importantly, how this four-way mating might work isn’t addressed at all. It’s clarified that each man is her mate and they aren’t each others mates (no menage). But I have a hard time believing that will work with no jealousy. Why would these guys share a mate?

The book would have simply been IMMENSELY improved if the author had left the mate element out and let the book be about Cassie getting a new job and earning her spot on the Paranormal Crimes Investigation team. And I honestly think the author would only have had to cut about 2% of the text to make this true. I cannot emphasize enough how underdeveloped the mate aspect is. It’s so underdeveloped that it’s just a distraction and detraction in the plot. I think I’d have really liked the book if it was just a paranormal mystery. As it is, I was just disappointed.

Edit: On a side note, the title is Spell Caster, but Cassie doesn’t cast a single spell in the book. She uses magic, but never an actual spell. Just saying.

Review Uprooted, by Naomi Novik

I borrowed and audio copy of Uprooted, bu Naomi Novik from the local library.

Description from Goodreads:

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose. 

Review:

This is a perfectly fine version of what it is. And what it is, is yet another YA book about a young farm girl (woodcutters daughter, but same difference in context) who is discovered to have magic (but somehow never noticed until a man shows up to tell her about it), is taken to be trained, turns out to be massively powerful and more morally upright that the city folk, and saves the day through determination, perseverance and her amazing goodness. 

Is Uprooted a quality version of this oft told tale? Yes, but is it still the same story I’ve read in dozens of books before this one? Also yes. As a result, I was pretty uninspired by the whole thing. Julia Emelin did a great job with the narration though.

Review of Geist (Book of the Order #1), by Philippa Ballantine

I was given an audible credit for a copy of Geist, by Philippa Ballantine.

Description from Goodreads:

Between the living and the dead is the Order of the Deacons, protectors of the Empire, guardians against possession, sentinels enlisted to ward off the malevolent haunting of the geists…

Among the most powerful of the Order is Sorcha, now thrust into partnership with the novice Deacon, Merrick Chambers. They have been dispatched to the isolated village of Ulrich to aide the Priory with a surge of violent geist activity. With them is Raed Rossin, Pretender to the throne that Sorcha is sworn to protect, and bearer of a terrible curse.

But what greets them in the strange settlement is something far more predatory and more horrifying than any mere haunting. And as she uncovers a tradition of twisted rituals passed down through the dark reaches of history, Sorcha will be forced to reconsider everything she thinks she knows.

And if she makes it out of Ulrich alive, what in Hell is she returning to? 

Review:

I was pleasantly surprised by this one. The cover* left me a bit nervous that it would be more YA than I was looking for, but Sorcha is in her 30s (late 30s, I even think), as is Raed. They were believable, capable adults. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that. 

The world is an interesting one. There’s a mild romantic subplot (or two) and there’s some witty humor. I was a little less enamored with the plot than I was with everything surrounding it, but still a solid, enjoyable read. 

Lastly, I’m alway iffy about author-narrators. But, with the exception of some annoying swallowing sounds, Ballantine did an excellent job with the narration. 

*If I’m discussing the cover, I don’t know that a lion fits the description of the beast(as I understood it) and every time I look at it, I’m a bit thrown off.