Misfortune seems to follow the Sayers family. Georgia has tried to reestablish normality since her mother died, and she’s no closer to escaping her strange past when a mysterious fire destroys the only other high school in her tiny Texas town.
Georgia is thrown into the company of Luke, a cryptic senior who brings her face to face with the truth about her heritage. Her loving, perfect mother created her family for the singular purpose of birthing five of the most powerful witches in the world, capable of terrifying magic.
Now that she knows the truth, can Georgia keep her siblings safe? Who is behind the dark cult that’s after her family? And does Luke know more about her powers than even Georgia does?
As Halloween is right around the corner, Spelled by Kate St. Clair could not have crossed my path at a more perfect time. With tales of witches and spells and a high school twist, I was curious what I would find beyond the cover. I expected there to be more romance than suspense, with not too much graphic violence and adult themes as it is a Young Adult novella. However, as soon as I started reading, there were plenty of fantastical gruesome details and an intriguing story.
But there was a disconnect between the first two chapters that tripped me up. It wasn’t until the end of the novella that the reader truly understands the significance of the opening. However, as the story progresses, we get little glimpses of understanding, propelling the reader through its entirety. It’s in that second chapter that we are introduced Georgia Sayers, our main character, and all that comes with it–siblings, absentee parents, best friends, and old acquaintances. All throughout the first few chapters, there’s this sense of foreboding, and that feeling gets exaggerated thanks to the heavy amount of foreshadowing.
The character development we see in Georgia seems to happen more “off-screen,” as she comes to learn of her true heritage and what that entails. She starts out as this almost shy, quiet girl that catches the eye of a dangerous new boy that inadvertently changes her life, and not necessarily for the better But as the story progresses, we don’t really see her practicing her craft, growing her power–it’s just there one day as we get to the end of the story. This could have been fleshed out to make her character more engaging, but this can happen throughout the rest of the series.
To me, the character that was the most fascinating and one I would have liked to see more of was the little brother, Wyatt. His story seems so much more engaging and compelling than Georgia’s, and more relevant to the overarching plot of the novella. However, I understand that for a dramatic effect that it makes more sense that Georgia is telling the story of discovering what her family is. Wyatt seems to figure it out long before her, but we don’t see that until the end, when everything becomes clear. His spiral would have been interesting to see first hand instead of in flashes, but we may learn more about what happened as the series progresses.
What was interesting about this novella was its take on witchcraft. It was traced back to Ireland, which practices a very focused kind of magic, and then related it back to Brujeria and Hispanic culture. Not many authors delve into the origins of where the specific magic in the story comes from, and it was a nice change to get a fuller understanding of the different backgrounds that create this story. There were elements of both types of witchcraft interwoven so perfectly together that it was easy to see why these two cultures were chosen.
But perhaps the most disappointing and exciting thing was that this was just a novella, that it was over so quickly. If I didn’t know there were going to be more books in this series, I would have been severely upset. This book grips the reader, drawing them in like the spells written in its pages, and when it was over with so much left unanswered, it felt like I couldn’t wait for the next installment. Added to that, the romance between Georgia and Luke wasn’t overplayed, and was handled very well. However, I expect more of the budding romance to become more apparent later on.
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in learning a bit more about witchcraft and the different areas where it’s prevalent, as well as a solid story of self-discovery and rich family history. And while this is definitely a piece of Young Adult fiction, it was still a compelling read and worth checking out.
Rating: 4/5 Stars