Thursday, January 14, 2010

review: Spellbent by Lucy A. Snyder

Ok, let's start off with the blurb shall we?

In the heart of Ohio, Jessie Shimmer is caught up in hot, magic-drenched passion with her roguish lover, Cooper Marron, who is teaching her how to tap her supernatural powers. When they try to break a drought by calling down a rainstorm, a hellish portal opens and Cooper is ripped from this world, leaving Jessie fighting for her life against a vicious demon that's been unleashed.

In the aftermath, Jessie, who knows so little about her own true nature, is branded an outlaw. She must survive by her wits and with the help of her familiar, a ferret named Palimpsest. Stalked by malevolent enemies, Jessie is determined to find out what happened to Cooper. But when she moves heaven and earth to find her man, she'll be shocked by what she discovers—and by what she must ultimately do to save them all.

The best way I can describe this book is: gritty. Not just, oh a few people die kind of gritty, I mean losing limbs, poss human sacrifice, abuse, blood guts and gore and most of all: jizz kids. That kind of gritty.

One of the things that I didn't like about the main character was that she tended to get preachy and morally superior. If you had money, you were bad. Considering what her beef was and the fact that she was basically a willfully ignorant person who skated through life right up until the shit hit the fan and that approach wasn't going to work anymore, I found the social commentary a bit ironic.

Now what I did like about Jessie was that she dug deep and cowgirled up. She got the holy hell beat out of her in this book and she didn't let it break her. She got a lil bitchy at times, but honestly so would I, but she didn't curl into a ball and go to her happy place never to emerge again. I dug that about her. She sometimes started to veer into TSTL land, but her familiar, Pal, would talk her down and she would listen. I appreciated that too. Too often we get a tough female lead and she doesn't believe in common sense or taking advise from people who know, cuz she's tough female hear her roar. So, someone who was open to guidance was a nice change of pace.

Speaking of Pal, her ferret familiar, he stole the show. Honestly there would be no adventure without him. Like I mentioned before, Jessie was ignorant of her heritage, of a lot of basic magic and of the ruling body of the magic society so if it wasn't for her being blessed with a familiar that was smart, had been around the block a few times and was willing to break rules for her, she would have been up the creek without a paddle. Or even a boat. He was funny and smart and had a very rigid sense of personal honor that made him a great character. They don't know each other long before everything goes down, so their bond is pretty fast in the making, but it felt solid and I enjoyed their interaction.

The story itself is dark and a bit heavy on social commentary that I felt was a bit forced, but otherwise it had almost a Harry Potter on crack feel to it. There were things I didn't like and the book felt longer than it was, but on the plus side there was lots of action and the focus on magic was very fascinating.

As a warning, let me just say that there were things in this book that grossed me out and disturbed me a bit and I've been around the paranormal and UF block a few times. So if you don't like dark and gritty stories, you probably won't like this, but if you do enjoy lots of action, magic and a more raw sort of story, this should be right up your alley.

My final grade is a C+. This is a debut book, so I'm hoping that the more Ms. Snyder writes the more she'll have smoothed out some of the rough patches in her stories.

You can order this book here


KT Grant said...

Eye rolling and gross are two descriptions I would give but I am holding off until I finish reading and post my review.

Nice review fellow jizz kids reader!

The Queen B said...

Thanks sweets! My original review was a bit more ranty, but I held off for a couple days and tried to focus more on the positive, LOL.
And we should put that on a t-shirt :P

Unknown said...

Great review and now I need to read it. I love stories with some shock and awe in them. :)

The Queen B said...

@RobinK Yeah, well there's definitely some of that in this book :)

Sophia (FV) said...

Probably not a book I'm going to read. Kind of lost me at "jizz". Nice review.

The Queen B said...

@Fiction Vixen Yeah, there are a lot of things in this book that gross is the best way to describe it. The heroine came through pretty well in the book and the ferret was cool, but..yeah there were some disturbing visuals in this book.

Smokinhotbooks said...

Dear God I almost put this book in my basket. Ever since Kate Douglas Wolf Tales *shudder* I hold off buying books I don't know.

I'm like you, I've been reading gritty erotic books for years, but I don't like when author's go too far.

Great review hon.

INCiDeNT (Kayleigh) said...

Thanks for the review. I was in an up-down-wondering-whether-the-hell-to-get-this sort of mood with this book. You've cemented me into moving it down the line for a while. :)

The Queen B said...

@Smokinhotbooks and INCiDeNT Thanks girls. It has its good parts, but it's not for the faint of heart. I spent a good portion of the book going "Ewwww!"

Jackie said...

Okay if you spent a good part of the book going "Ewwwww" it is now officially off my to buy/wish list. Thanks for the review and saving me some time and cash on a book that would be read once if read at all!

jackie b central texas

Wendy said...

My precioooous.... ferret.


I'm not sure I'll like this one but I still want to read it... because of the ferret.

That's right. THE FERRET.

OMG, I can't stop saying it.

Fab review, babe!

The Queen B said...

@Wendy Thanks babe! You really should read it, if only so we can talk about it later and gross ppl out on twitter. Yeah, cuz that never gets old ;)

Wendy said...

B, like we NEED any more crap to gross people out with on Twitter!

But I concur. ;)

Sayuri said...

Yeah, I like gritty in a book, I can handle gritty.

I cannot handle 'Jizz Kids'. No way, No How. Ewwwww.

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