Spell Bound

Spell Bound

By: Kelley Armstrong

I first read a Kelly Armstrong book last summer when I was sent a copy of Waking the Witch by the PR agency.  (Disclaimer: I was sent Spell Bound to review as well.)  I started Waking the Witch and finished it in the same day.  So, I wasn’t all that hesitant to take a stab at Spell Bound as I was pretty sure I would like it.

Spell Bound picks up almost immediately after the end of Waking the Witch with Savannah Levine recovering from the events at the end of Waking the Witch.  I again found myself immediately pulled into the story and the world that Armstrong creates in her Otherworld series.  The paranormal world never seems like something that was roughly overlain on our world, but merely something that existed all along and is merely being revealed.  The characters aren’t as fully fleshed out as I would like, but I think that’s a risk that you take when you jump into a series of books.  You miss out on a lot of backstory on the characters, so they feel a little bit less “full” than they would had you read the entire series first.  It’s not necessarily a fault of the author, but more of the medium.  Long series’ (this is book 12 in the Otherworld series) tend to have some very long drawn out plot lines that can be somewhat confusing when you haven’t read the whole thing.

The writing, throughout, is good.  It’s easy to read and flows nicely.  I can’t imagine there are too many of you who are really into paranormal fantasy that haven’t read at least a little of Armstrong’s work, but if you haven’t, you really should pick up a few of her novels.  You won’t find much better done paranormal, with more readable stories.

Waking the Witch

Waking the Witch

By: Kelley Armstrong

For those unfamiliar with Kelley Armstrong’s work (like myself), this is book 11 in an the ongoing “Otherworld” series.  Also, in the spirit of getting disclosure out of the way straight off, I was sent an ARC of this book for review.  The fully edited hardcover will be published on July 27th, 2010. (Amazon has a publication date of July 27th as does the press sheet I received, but the book itself says August 3rd in several places.)

Here’s the blurb for the book:

At twenty-one, Savannah Levine—orphaned daughter of a notorious dark witch and an equally notorious cutthroat sorcerer—considers herself a full-fledged member of the supernatural race that rules the Otherworld. The once rebellious teen has grown into a six-foot-tall, motorcycle-riding jaw-dropper with a full arsenal of spells that she’s not afraid to use when she gets caught in a bind. There’s only one small problem—her adoptive parents, Paige and Lucas, don’t always trust her. Of course, she’s given them plenty of reasons . . . but those are in the past. People can change, right?

When Paige and Lucas take off on a romantic vacation alone, leaving her in charge of their detective agency, Savannah is presented with a case that she can’t turn down, and one she can finally call her own. Recruited by another supernatural detective, she travels to Columbus, Washington, a small, almost shell of a town. Two troubled young women have been found in an abandoned warehouse, murdered. Now a third woman is dead, and darker forces seem to be at play.

Savannah feels certain she can handle the case, but with supernatural activity appearing at every turn, things quickly become more serious—and far more dangerous—than she realizes. Caught up in a web of lust, false identities, and lies, Savannah must summon strength from her depths, and fight like she’s never fought before.

It’s a far cry from anything that I would normally read.  At least, anything that I would pick to read.  Luckily, I accept review copies of books and am forced out of my realm of normalcy and out of my ruts.  I was expecting a teenie-bopper, babysitter’s club sort of book.  What I got, was something completely different.   Yes, the book is technically classified as a YA book.  If you ask me, it’s borderline as there is some language that is more adult than young adult.  But, for mid to late teens, it should be just fine.

As is to be expected, the writing style of the book is pretty simple.  You won’t find yourself stumbling over difficult sentences and harder concepts.  It’s a YA novel and the language fits that.  Unlike some YAs you’ll read, this book actually has a pretty strong plot.  There were a few points that I felt left out on since I haven’t read any of the preceding 10 books in the series, but overall, I was able to follow along and keep with it.  Considering that I think it would be somewhat difficult to pick up the third or fourth Harry Potter novel and know most of anything that was going on, having the 11th book in a series mostly stand-alone is an accomplishment.

I liked it.  It was a quick read that had substance but didn’t require me to do a lot of deep thinking about the subplots of subplots.  It has a strong plot and solid story with a strong female protagonist.  Is it the best book I’ve read this year?  No.  But if you’re in the mood for some easy reading that will keep you interested and keep the pages turning, you couldn’t do much better than Waking the Witch.  It’s on sale at Amazon for pre-order for $15.57 (as of 7/12/2010) for the Hardcover and $12.99 for the Kindle version.