Monday, May 10, 2010

Book Review: Spells by Aprilynne Pike

Title: Spells
Author:  Aprilynne Pike
Publisher:  HarperTeen
Genre: YA
Hardcover: 368 pages
ISBN: 0061668060  
Six months have passed since Laurel saved the gateway to the faerie realm of Avalon. Now she must spend her summer there, honing her skills as a Fall faerie. But her human family and friends are still in mortal danger--and the gateway to Avalon is more compromised than ever.

When it comes time to protect those she loves, will she depend on David, her human boyfriend, for help? Or will she turn to Tamani, the electrifying faerie with whom her connection is undeniable?

  • Overall rating: 8/10
To buy this book: IndieBound | The Book Depository | Powell's | Amazon
Add this book to your: Goodreads | Shelfari Library Thing Visual Bookshelf

More Tamani, more David, more romance, and more Avalon!  Second books do not always live up to the first, but I liked Aprilynne Pike's Spells even more than Wings.  Spells begins six months after the end of the first book and follows Laurel into Avalon as she learns more about the faerie realm and her own Fall faerie abilities.  The trolls still pose a threat, and new mysterious characters enter the fray.  The love triangle becomes more intense, and Laurel is caught between the intriguing faerie world and her more familiar human life.

What I Liked:
-     I loved learning more about Tamani's family and his life in Avalon.  I adored Tamani in Wings, and Spells definitely made me love him even more.  Tamani's unwavering devotion makes him feel like the Gilbert to Laurel's Anne.  And who can resist their Gilbert?  I really enjoy his character, and I am eager to see what the rest of the series has in store for him.
-     David remains sweet and thoughtful, and it is easy to see why Laurel is increasingly fond of him.  
-     The class system among the faeries adds an interesting element to the story, and I look forward to seeing that explored further.  The seasonal class distinctions remind me a little of the house-elf situation in Harry Potter, and I am glad to see that Laurel's unfavorable attitude toward the faerie's cultural hierarchy seems to be setting that up to become a major plot point in the next two books.
-     Although I didn't always approve of Laurel's choices, I did find them believable.  It is fairly difficult to pull off a love triangle between three perfectly nice people & keep all of them likable, but I think Spells managed that challenge quite well.
-     Another enjoyable aspect of the love triangle is that neither boy is extremely domineering or pushy.  There is no 'bad boy' romance here.  Both guys are kind and loving, and both genuinely care about Laurel and encourage her to make her own choices.
-     I didn't really want this book to be too action-packed or too focused on the conflict with the trolls, and it wasn't.  Instead, much of Spells is focused on Laurel's changing relationships with the people she cares about most - her parents, David, and Tamani.
-     While a few elements of this story are reminiscent of other books, the characters are  charming in their own unique ways and their relationships are compelling enough to place this on my "read again" shelf.
-     Spells receives automatic bonus points for a brief mention of The Princess Bride.  ;-)

What I Wished:
-     The second book in a series of four nearly always has a cliffhanger ending, but I wish a few more mysteries had been resolved (or at least more fully revealed) before the end of Spells.
-     While I loved learning more about the faerie realm in this book, the scenes in Avalon occasionally seemed to slow the pace of the book.  A few of the descriptive scenes seemed overly thorough.

Readers who enjoyed Wings will definitely want to pick up Spells!  This series will appeal to fans of love-triangle-driven YA fantasies like Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series.  Readers who like relatively  innocent YA fantasies, such as Jaclyn Dolamore's Magic Under Glass and Amy Brecount White's Forget-Her-Nots, will also want to pick up Wings and Spells.  I look forward to reading the next two books in this series.  To learn more about Spells, you can check out Aprilynne Pike's websiteblog, and twitter.  

Thanks to HarperTeen's awesome "Browse Inside" feature, you can read the first seventy-three pages of Spells online for free here!  And you can enter HarperTeen's video contest for Spells here.


Midnight Sapphire Books said...

It's great that you like it. I want to read it!

Aleksandra said...

Great review! I read Wings a few days ago & can't wait to read Spells, too!

Book Crazy Jenn said...

I *heart* Spells, I cant wait for the next book - and that ending has me asking so many questions! :) I loved your take, your soo right, there's no "bad" choice for her, I just have my fav. :)

Candace said...

I want to read this but I don't remember Wings so clearly anymore. Makes me almost wonder if I should just wait until they are all out and then read Wings all over again and be able to complete the series. But I doubt I'll be able to wait and will probably try to get it at the library if I ever catch up on my reading.
Glad to hear it's good though!

Violet said...

Midnight Sapphire Books - Hope you like Spells!

Aleksandra - Thanks! If you liked Wings, I really think you'll enjoy Spells.

Jenn - I totally agree with you about desperately wanting to read the next book! That cliffhanger ending is going to make the wait for Enchantments seem so long! :) I also agree that Tamani and David are both great guys, but I will still cry if #TeamTamani doesn't prevail by the end of book four. ;)

Violet said...

Candace - I reread about half of Wings before starting Spells because I'd forgotten so much about the conflict with the trolls. I have no willpower when it comes to waiting for a series to be complete before picking it up, but then I suffer for my lack of willpower when I reach the cliffhanger endings.

Christy said...

Well thought out review. I, too, enjoyed Spells.

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