Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Review - Spell Bound by Kelley Armstrong

Otherworld, Book 12
Dutton, Isbn: 0-525-95220-9
Savannah Levine is in terrible danger, and for once she’s powerless to help herself. At the conclusion of Waking the Witch, Savannah swore that she would give up her powers if it would help a young girl. Little did she know that someone would take her up on that promise.

And now, witch hunting assassins, necromancers, half-demons, and rogue witches all seem to be after her. The threat is not just for Savannah; every member of the Otherworld might be at risk. While most of her fellow supernaturals are circling the wagons at a gathering of the council in Miami, Savannah is caught on the road, isolated from those who can protect her and unable to use her vast spell casting talent, the thing she counts on most. 

In a story that will change the shape of the Otherworld forever, Spell Bound gathers Elena, Clay, Paige, Lucas, Jaime, Hope, and others, who soon learn that the greatest threat to supernaturals just may come from within.

I was a tad disappointed with the previous book in this series, Waking the Witch, for it was the first book in the entire series that didn't have a true ending. Like most series, Otherworld books are best read in order so readers can make sense of who the characters are, their pasts, histories etc. But for all that, each book had a definite ending. Waking the Witch didn't (or at least, not a complete one) while Spell Bound just leaves the readers completely hanging.

SPOILERS!

One thing - do not read this book without first reading Waking the Witch. I tried to do it but got so confused that I had to go and get Waking the Witch from the library (yes, I missed it when it came out last year - oh the horror!) and read it straightaway. So many things are carried over from that story that, while not necessary, it's best to read Spell Bound afterwards. I did so and things were vastly clearer.

I get the feeling that Waking the Witch and Spell Bound are like the last two Harry Potter movies. They should have been one, but for various reasons they were split into two. Nothing actually gets resolved between these two books, more plot threads evolve than are resolved and the vacillating nature of the romantic relationship between Samantha and Adam is enough to drive a fan nuts.

Samantha's growth as a character seems to be focal issue of this book, which is somewhat acceptable given that it's made clear that somehow she'll be at the epicenter of a (cue the ominous music) forthcoming battle between supernatural forces. What's tedious is Samantha's road to self-improvement/maturity since she regresses regularly and for some weird reason, has started taking blame for every little thing that goes wrong. This is not the strong, confident, sarcastic, devil-may-care Samantha Levine readers love. Maturity seems to be sucking out the very spirit that made her so interesting.

I just read on the author's website that the next book in this series will be the final one. That makes sense why so many of the Otherworld characters were gathered together in this book. Mention of incidents and unresolved issues from some of the past books drove me mad as I only vaguely remembered who/what they referred to. The scope and breadth of this series (10+ years in publication) has grown so much that it's getting almost impossible to keep track of it all.

This story ends in such a way that it left me sad and excited at the same time. Sad that nothing had been resolved. Excited at what all was left to be resolved in the next and final book of the series.

And since characters don't seem to stay dead and gone in this series, I've gotten used to unexpected reappearances. Who will come back in the next one and as what, I can't predict, but I'm sure they will. It'll be interesting to see how it all ends, given that there's prediction of an epic battle between the supernatural creatures of all kinds and powers.

Note - This book was received for review/feature consideration.
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