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, and fans of the hit CW TV show The Secret Circle.
As a huge fan of Claudia Gray's Evernight series, I had super high
expectations for this book. A book by one of my favorite authors, featuring one of my favorite topics (witches)? How could I not love it?
Well, I hate to say this, but I ended up not loving Spellcaster. I enjoyed it, but I didn't fall in love with it the way I hoped I would.
There were a lot of things I really liked about this book, so I'll start with them. First of all, the witches. I think Claudia Gray had an interesting and unique take on witchcraft, and everything about the spells and the magic intrigued me. I also loved Verlaine, who is a more minor character, but who was definitely the most fascinating character in the book. She was quirky and smart and different, and I adored her. Another character who I didn't like so much as appreciate was Elizabeth. She was not exactly a nice person, but her story was compelling and I thought it was really awesome that my opinion of her kept changing as I read the novel. I went from liking her to not trusting her to disliking her to hating her to finally being able to recognize her as the bad guy. I thought she was a really well-written and unusual villain. Another thing I loved about the story was the setting. Spellcaster took place in a tiny town in New England, which was described so thoroughly that I found it impossible not to believe I was actually surrounded by the chilly air and dark clouds overhead.
The only things I didn't like about Spellcaster were the main characters Nadia and Mateo, and their relationship. It's really hard for me to get into a book when I don't even like the main characters. I had an extremely difficult time connecting with either one of them. I couldn't relate to them, and they both frustrated me so much. I feel like there was so little development of their so-called "relationship" and I couldn't see any kind of spark or chemistry or any indication that they even liked each other, but suddenly they were two seconds away from confessing their love for each other. I simply didn't believe their romance. I think if they had spent more time together and there had been more evidence that they had actually started to get to know each other, I could have gotten on board the Nadia-and-Mateo train. But I think it all happened too fast, and it didn't make sense to me.
(That said, I did really enjoy the Steadfast twist that Nadia and Mateo experience. I don't want to spoil anything in the book, but I thought the thing that happened with the Steadfast was pretty cool.)
Nadia and Mateo seemed sort of bland to me. There didn't seem to be much to them. I wanted layers and layers of character development, but it just wasn't there. Luckily, some of that desired character development went toward Verlaine and Elizabeth, two characters who I thought were extremely well-written. I think Verlaine and Elizabeth deserved a lot more "screen time," but instead I was stuck reading about Nadia and Mateo being all mushy and romantic and ugh.
As I mentioned before, everything about the witchcraft was awesome. There was a lot of dark and twisted magic, and the plot was suspenseful and mysterious. I thought the setting was the perfect backdrop for this mysterious story: a small town in New England right by the coast that was always cold and overcast. Despite the fact that I didn't care for the two main characters--the two people whose lives were in danger the entire book--I was so anxious to find out what would happen next to them with each turn of the page. The plot was so epic that it made me fear for the lives of characters I didn't actually care about.
While I did not love it as much as I thought I would, I enjoyed my experience reading Spellcaster. I wish the book had not centered so much around a romance I disliked, but other than the two main characters, I thought the book was great. I look forward to reading the sequel, and I still consider Claudia Gray to be one of my favorite authors.