When I close a book, I can tell if it delivered or not by the level of satisfaction I feel as a reader. Let’s just say that a contented sigh escaped my lips this morning as I shut Aprilynne Pikes’ new book Spells. I attended a conference last weekend where Aprilynne presented (great advice and content, read about it here) and counted myself lucky to pick up a copy of Spells before it comes out next Tuesday.
Food to eat while reading: Fear-faire Lavender Custard
What I liked:
I love paranormal fiction and Spells is my kind of book. Wings, the first in the series was entertaining and creative. I fell in love with the characters and the story. I only had two problems with Wings: one, I just couldn’t bring myself to love Tamani, the fae love interest; and two, there just wasn’t enough of Laurel’s fantastic world to satisfy me. I am happy to say that Aprilynne delivered both in the sequel Spells.
In Spells, we are immersed in Tamani and his world right away. I loved getting to know his family and background. The love triangle between Laurel, David (her human love), and Tamani(her fae love) suddenly took on the angsty yearning that I love in a romance. Who should Laurel chose? Should she stay with David in the human world and follow what she wants out of life? Or should she go with Tamani to Avalon and fulfill her destiny as a faerie? What a delicious choice.
I absolutely loved going with Laurel to Avalon as she learns about the faerie world and starts her training. This section does get a bit Harry Potterish, but it did not bother me a bit. The descriptions are breathtaking and Avalon soars instantly to my top literary places I would love to visit. Laurel’s training in plants and their uses, the faerie societal customs and the creative ways they live quenched the thirst I had for Laurel’s new world. I loved how she can use her skills to enhance food. Just wait until you hear the “real” story behind Shakespeare.
In Wings, Laurel’s parents seemed to be written in as an afterthought, uncaring and irresponsible. Spells slowly draws her parents into the story, giving Laurel a safety net to fall back on. The sense of family and loyalty adds a needed dimension to the already solid story.
Can I just say that I love the cover and the symbolism that speaks to me after reading the book?
What I would change:
Because I have a terrible memory, and I read Wings a few months ago, I had a hard time remembering the story and getting into Laurel’s world again. Although I was not totally lost(and other people will probably remember), it would have been helpful to have more early reminders of what had happened in Wings.
Although I enjoyed Laurel’s time training in Avalon, the pacing slowed way down for me. Though it was not a huge problem, others who have a hard time staying with a book might not persevere through the slower part. I do have to say that the time with Tamani and Avalon was necessary for me to build that reader relationship with him as a love interest. So I am probably just nitpicking.
I had a hard time with the further explanation of the sexual vs. reproduction practices of the faerie. Without spoiling anything for readers, I’ll just say that I think the explanation promotes promiscuity. I realize that in setting up the faerie world that way, the author is ratcheting up the yearning a bit. But the fact that Tamani and Laurel don’t react to the practices--positively or negatively--leaves impressionable readers open to loose morals. Hopefully this issue will be resolved in Enchantments, the third book in the series.
Spells is a must read for young adults, especially those who love romance with fantasy tossed in. The second book in this series is satisfying and will make you clamor for more.
I gave this book 4/5 stars.
Genre: fantasy, YA
Publisher: May 4th 2010 by Harper Teen (first published 2010)
Hardcover, 368 pages
Where I got the book: LDSStorymakers Conference bookstore