4.5 stars – maybe even 4.75!

This was sitting on my to-read list, but wasn’t at my local library and was still too expensive (read: more than $10! I’m a sting) on Book Depository. But when I saw Spellbound at K-mart for $12, and had some time to kill and cash to burn, I caved…. then started reading it on the tram on my way home. It really needed to be a page-turner for me to be excited – I had just finished Waterfall by Lisa T Bergren (review to come!), and so my expectations for any kind of romance and fantasy world were high!

I’ll start off with the reason that it didn’t quite make the 5 star rating – it was cliched. Beautifully written, as original as one can expect fantasy-set-in-highschool to be, but cliche none the less. Call me anti-feminist, a hopeless romantic, or general sook, but soul mates get me all giddy. Of course the “bad boy” isn’t really a bad boy, and although we perhaps didn’t get as much of a backstory for Brendan as I would like, he seemed a lovely balance of maturity and insecurity. Emma was pleasantly un-victim-like for someone with her tragic background. Humility is something that I always admire in any protagonist – and it’s a wonderfully common character trait in books that falls short in many real life humans I know.

Emma may be humble, but she is by no means a doormat. The way she is treated in her new school, Vincent Academy, is frightful, but pales in comparison to the realisation of what she really has to battle. Of course there was the stereotypical mega-bitch, the pig of a jock, and the outcast who turns out to be very useful.

Although there was no physical enemy that Emma and Brendan had to face throughout the novel, the danger felt was tangible. A curse passed down generations that has drawn them together – and neither are willing to walk away from what they feel in order to prevent fate. Reminiscent of another popular couple, a sparkly vampire and his doe-eyed brunette lady friend? Perhaps. But Emma is not Bella. Emma has a mental and emotional strength that isn’t compromised when she allows Brendan into her life – she fights her own battles to the best of her capabilities.

I wish I could say exactly what it was that Cara Lynn Shultz did to make this such a page-turner. It may have been the beautiful blossoming love (oh dear, blossoming? I’ve been reading too much romance), or maybe the need to know how on earth they were going to dig themselves out of a curse that had thwarted many others before them. Either way, I had to finish it as soon as possible.

And I suggest you do the same!