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Spellcaster (Spellcaster, #1)

Author: Claudia Gray
Series: Spellcaster, Book 1
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: March 2013
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
Pages: 389
Buy: The Book Depository

Book Description: 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.

I had been in a bit of a reading rutt for about three weeks and I just needed something easy to read with a good story. Spellcaster was the perfect book for me (though I had picked it up thinking it was just a standalone, sadly it is a series with book two not out yet). The plot was very interesting. A witchling (in secret from her family without someone to guide her in the world of magic) moves into a cursed town with deep secrets and even cursed people. The story continues and things get even more intriguing. Why is Mateo’s family cursed and who cursed them? How come people can’t seem to remember Verlaine? What’s going on with Elizabeth? What’s underneath the Chemistry room? Why does this town feel so weird? All these questions and more pop up during the book, and while we get the answers to them we are left wondering what will befall the Nadia and her companions next.

I loved how Gray portrayed magic in this novel. Unlike potions or wands or even rhyming chants, Gray chooses something unique and different. Spells are cast with memories and emotions. Certain spells call for certain ingredients, like loyalty that knows no bounds, and Nadia must recall a memory that portrays that type of loyalty and fill every piece of her with this feeling. It was unique and interesting.

The characters/romance is where this book fell a bit flat. The characters seemed a bit stereotypical YA – not always 3 dimensional or filled out. The romance was very cliché to the point that sometimes I would make fun of it. Nadia always seemed to lose her sense of rational or focus when Mateo was around and Mateo couldn’t keep thinking of Nadia even though he believed he needed to keep his distance for her safety. Mateo even had dreams about Nadia before they met so obviously they would become an item. It was typical YA romance and while I didn’t enjoy it, I read around those instances because I found the story to be more interesting. And honestly, I didn’t care because I just wanted a light fun read.

Don’t expect much from the romance but the story is definitely worth reading.

My Rating: ★★★.5