Claudia Gray books are like guilty pleasures for me. I know they’re not the greatest, and God they use YA’s tropes like there’s no tomorrow. But they’re enjoyable enough. It’s like mind candy. You know it’s bad for you, but somehow you can’t help but indulge. Unfortunately though, I kind of got a brain belly ache from Spellcaster.
General Summary: After her mom ditches them Nadia’s dad decides to quit his job at a big fancy law firm, take the bar in another state (yeah….just go with it), and accept a pay cut so his daughter can move cross country and have to deal with being the new girl for her senior year. And oh yeah, she’s a witch too.
Okay, it’s not awful. It’s actually quite enjoyable once you get past a few things. Though not everyone’s going to get past these things especially Mateo. God, I freaking hated Mateo.
Before I rant, I’ll talk about what’s good about this book. It’s a pretty interesting set up. Seemingly predictable, but it is enjoyable enough to read when you want an escape. It’s nowhere near as romantic as Gray’s other books though. Once again, I’m blaming Mateo for that.
Yeah, he’s sort of the elephant in the review. Of course, you know the drill, more about him later but he really bogged down the book because we a good chunk of this story was told in his perspective and that’s another problem I had with the story.
This isn’t the first book I’ve read that’s been in multiple POV in third person, however its transitions sucked. Often we’d go from paragraph to paragraph with little to no transitions at all. It really would help Gray in future installments if she took a page form Melissa de la Cruz’s books and use chapters as divisions of perspectives if she can’t figure out how to transition. God, it was so annoying trying to figure out who was who. Almost as annoying as the cliches.
When I think of Gray’s writing, I always think cliches and she usually knows how to use them in that cheesy tolerable way. But this book…I don’t know. It just seemed a little cheese-tastic, predictable, and convenient. Seriously, I figured out what was going on right away and the insta love did not help me like an already unlikeable character.
Finally, I’m going to pick on the info dumps that went on in this book. God were there lots of them. Once again, they were used purely for convenience just like the other tropes were used here.
Best Feature: Magic. I like witch books. I can’t help it. So that’s a plus. I also think Gray can write cliches better than a lot of people. Come on, most people wouldn’t be able to pull off a book about werewolves on the Titanic but she did (sort of).
Worst Feature: Mateo. God, I can not stand this guy. And it’s not because he’s an abusive ass hat. To put it bluntly, this guy is a pussy. Whining and moping basically describe his character, and I wanted to skim every time I saw that it was in his POV. Honestly, I had a hard time imaging him as hot. He’s just not. Look, I get he’s scared he’s being overcome by the curse and how he’d want to friend his friend who’s really the empress of evil, but dude grow some freaking…you know what you can fill in that part. I don’t want to get explicit, though that’s exactly what I was thinking throughout anytime this sorry excuse of a character appeared. It also doesn’t help at one point he compares his teenage angst to having AIDS (yeah…not even going to go into how insensitive that remark is).
Appropriateness: Pretty clean. Some violence and a couple of curse words here and there. But for the most part, ti was pretty PG-13.
Blockbuster Worthy: Sure, why not. I could actually see this being picked up by ABC Family or whatever. It kind of has a Charmed vibe to it. And God knows, the networks are really looking for the next Charmed. Here’s who I’d cast:
Nadia: Selena Gomez. I sort of see this having a Disney Channel charm if it was ever produced. Selena would do nicely.
Mateo: I don’t know. The lack of young actors of Latin descent other than Taylor Lautner makes it puzzling enough. But I don’t like Mateo, so I really couldn’t subject anyone to that role.
Overall Rating: Four out of ten spells. I definitely didn’t enjoy this one as much as I did Fateful, but it’s not a bad library read. If your looking for a time waster and can’t finding anything that’s a must read, this might be one to pick up.