Thursday, January 31, 2013

Review: Spellbinding

by Maya Gold
Published: 4/1/13
Published by: Scholastic Print
YA Paranormal

There's more than one way to be powerful . . .

It is during a routine school project that Abby Silva--sixteen and nearly friendless--makes a startling discovery: She is descended from women who were accused of witchcraft back in 1600s Salem. And when Abby visits nearby Salem, strange, inexplicable events start to unfold. Objects move when she wills them to. Candles burst into sudden flame. And an ancient spellbook somehow winds up in her possession.

Trying to harness her new found power, Abby concocts a love potion to win over her longtime crush--and exact revenge upon his cruel, bullying girlfriend. But old magic is not to be trifled with. Soon, Abby is thrust headlong into a world of hexes, secrets, and danger. And then there's Rem Anders, the beautiful, mysterious Salem boy who seems to know more about Abby than he first lets on.

A reckoning is coming, and Abby will have to make sense of her history--and her heart--before she can face the powerful truth.

My Rating: 2 1/2 Coffee Cups 

ARC provided to me by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Geeky/social outcast girl Abigail gets assigned to a school genealogy project and finds herself following clues leading her to Salem. She finds that she is descended from one of the original women prosecuted in the witch trials, Sarah Good. Something draws her to the city, and she finds herself both working there at a new age Wiccan shop and befriending the gorgeous guy, Rem Anders, who woks at the cafe next door. She uncovers that she, in fact, does have powers- the rare fire element power. And she has to prevent herself from turning bad. 
Along the way she deals with mean girl bullies, being snubbed by her best friend and trying to make the popular jock fall in love with her.

Ok, so this has all been done NUMEROUS times before. I gave it a read because it looked like it had potential. The thing about this book is that the high school aspects were formed very well, it was somewhat realistic and believable. But once it came to the paranormal aspects the book faltered. As I read though there were so many things that had the opportunity to grow into awesome plot lines. Below is a list.

1. Abby and Rem's relationship.
Now, we see one starting to form. We get hints that this is a soul mate type deal. From the prologue of the book- Abby's re-occurring nightmare- they mention a man who has eyes like Rem watching the witch drown. Even Rem says it's a centuries old love story. But that's it. There's no back story to this at all. How is it a centuries old love story? What does he remember about their lives? If he was her true love, why didn't he seem the least bit upset about her casting love spells on other guys? This was just mentioned, glanced over and then sort of ignored. It left a big gaping hole in the story. It wasn't insta-love because it was obviously established in past lives, but to the reader this was non-existent and confusing.

2. Abby's family tree.
They could've explained a little more about why Abby was having nightmares involving the witch trials. Was she some sort of re-incarnation of Sarah Good? Or Sarah's daughter Dorcas Good who is also briefly mentioned? Or was she just a member of the bloodline? I would go with the latter if Rem hadn't been in that opening scene promising to see her again while she was drowning in her nightmare. 

3. The Circle.
The Circle were a group of people who wanted to complete their "coven" of elements to hand out retribution to the city of Salem for the witch trials. Who are these people? What exactly were they planning on doing? Destroying Salem was mentioned, but how? Why were only certain people in this circle? I understand that a villain (in the paranormal sense- because Megan more than covered the high school portion) was needed to fill in some holes and move the plot along, but they didn't feel very thought out.
4. Abby's mom.
It was said her mom died a few years back. Why did she have nothing to do with her family? Did she know and try to keep her daughter out of it? Abby's grandmother was extremely hesitant to mention anything about her family line when Abby was doing her research. Why?

5. Abby's home life.
It was awful. Her father was neglectful, her brother was a normal, self-centered 9 year old boy and the father's girlfriend Danielle came across as devious. But then all of a sudden, with no explanation of the how or why, it was suddenly resolved. Danielle wasn't as bad as she was portrayed and her father paid her a little more attention (no real proof of either was shown, just Abby's brief say so).

I don't know if maybe this is supposed to be a series and the author was planning on addressing some of these issues at a later point, but some type of direction would have been helpful in understanding this better.
If even a couple of these things were more fleshed out and given more thought this would've been a much better book.  


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