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Monday, July 18, 2011

Review: Spell Bound by Kelley Armstrong

Title: Spell Bound
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Series: Women of the Otherworld #12
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 07/26/11
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At last, in the novel every Kelley Armstrong fan will need to own, all the major heroines and heroes of Otherworld are united.

It's been ten years since Bitten, the first novel in Kelley Armstrong's New York Times bestselling Otherworld series. In that time hundreds of thousands of fans have ravenously devoured the adventures of Armstrong's witches, demons, and werewolves. Now, in Spell Bound, she brings them all together for her most sweeping tale yet.

Savannah Levine is in terrible danger, and for once she's powerless to help herself. At the heartbreaking conclusion of Waking the Witch, Savannah swore that she would give up her powers if it would prevent further pain for a young orphan. 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, Armstrong gathers Elena, Clay, Paige, Lucas, Jamie, Hope, and other beloved characters, who soon learn that the greatest threat to supernaturals just may come from within.

Plot: 4 Stars
Every other chapter had this twist or that turn. Every time I thought I had figured something out, WHAM! a new twist had smacked me in the face. I've never read a book that made me feel like I was on a roller coaster until Spell Bound. It was non-stop action and mystery and danger and suspense around every corner. It was a wild ride, and I had a lot of fun reading it. Besides all of the shocking twists and turns, I really enjoyed how all of the characters came together. The mystery of the plot had escalated to a much larger scale, so it was great to see that Savannah wouldn't be facing everything by herself.

Pace: 4 Stars
Armstrong is the master of the not-quite-cliffhanger. It drove me crazy when I read The Summoning (although that was right on the edge of cliffhanger), and it drove me crazy after finishing Waking the Witch. And guess what? She's driving me crazy again with the ending of Spell Bound. It's diabolical. She wraps up the conflict at the end of the novel in a satisfying way, and then at the last second, she drops a bomb on the reader. It's not quite a cliffhanger (in my opinion) because it doesn't leave you hanging in the middle of the action. But it leaves you wanting the next book ASAP because now there's this new crumb of information that could snowball into something epic.

Characters: 4 Stars
Although I had only read Bitten and Waking the Witch before starting Spell Bound, I was not overwhelmed by all of the characters that came into play throughout the novel. I had not met all of the Women of the Otherworld, so there were bits and pieces of backstory I was missing, but I still felt like I learned a lot about each new-to-me character. It was also nice to see Elena again, because Bitten is one of the novels that originally drew me out of reading just Young Adult and got me venturing into Urban Fantasy. It was very interesting to follow Savannah as she dealt with things in a more mundane way. She's very stubborn and strong-willed, and definitely tough, which is how I like my Urban Fantasy heroines.

Cover: 4.5 Stars
I've seen many different styles of covers for this series, including multiples covers for some of the earlier titles. This latest trend of covers for the series has only hit the first two and latest two titles, but they are my favorite. They really capture the essence of the character, especially compared to the older covers that included faceless cover models or random objects. This cover focuses on Savannah, and the cover model chosen fits the character perfectly. I really enjoyed the reds and oranges used in this cover, because it fits some of the events that take place very well. I'm also glad they kept the cover model small. I like seeing more than just a huge face on the cover, makes the cover seem more real and less like a photoshoot to me.

Overall: 4 Stars

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for review from the publisher.

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