Spellcaster (Spellcaster #1) by Claudia Gray
Published Year: 2013
Genre: YA Fantasy
"When Nadia’s family moves to Captive’s Sound, she instantly realizes there’s more to it than meets the eye. Descended from witches, Nadia senses a dark and powerful magic at work in her new town. Mateo has lived in Captive’s Sound his entire life, trying to dodge the local legend that his family is cursed - and that curse will cause him to believe he’s seeing the future … until it drives him mad. When the strange dreams Mateo has been having of rescuing a beautiful girl—Nadia—from a car accident come true, he knows he’s doomed.
Despite the forces pulling them apart, Nadia and Mateo must work together to break the chains of his family’s terrible curse, and to prevent a disaster that threatens the lives of everyone around them. Shimmering with magic and mystery, New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray’s new novel is sure to draw fans of the Hex Hall and Caster Chronicles series, and fans of the hit CW TV show The Secret Circle."
I've never read any of Claudia Gray's books before, and I randomly picked up Spellcaster and was intrigued by the above blurb. I'm always for a little mystery and some opposing forces, so I thought why not?
I'm kind of meh about this book. There were parts I really liked, there were parts I didn't care much for, but there at least wasn't anything I hated. The ending was a little let's-revive-concluded-plots-to-make-this-a-series, but it can easily be argued both ways.
Nadia is dealing with some personal issues with her mom leaving, then having a now incomplete knowledge of magic without her mom, and moving to new state and high school all at the same time. It's a rough combination of things. She also is in the awkward place where she doesn't have a confidante or anyone really to confide in, and so because of this I felt the relationships with the other characters were pretty rushed/forced into. And maybe that's just so opposite to my personality that I can't identify with it, but Nadia was sharing some pretty intense stuff in the very early stages of friendships. I definitely appreciated the mystery that Nadia and co. figure out along the way (no spoilers, promise), but there was just something about Nadia always being right and not having her friends fully believe or support her that irked me. Not even that her friends didn't support her, but that Nadia was so self righteous about it.
Definitely my favorite part about CG's writing in this book were the descriptions of magic. There is a very visual representation of magic, and this was a new experience to me. It gave a sort of history and more natural feel to magic. Magic is just like any other force of nature where it leaves it's mark over the passage of time. There were beautiful and awful descriptions of good and bad magic. It was just utterly fascinating. I wanted to read more solely about the magic (wishing Nadia's mom was around to continue the study just like Nadia).
My biggest issue with this book was after the climax, the story was both wrapped up and reopened all at the same time. I realize it's part of a series and CG probably will get to all of the unanswered questions I have, but I'm just not sure this was the way to entice me to read book #2. I'm still on the fence.
2 out of 5 stars.