5.30.2013 | Thursday


category: Book Reviews

Spellstitle: Spells
author: Aprilynne Pike
series: Wings #2
published: 4 May 2010
publisher: HarperTeen
genre(s): fantasy, folklore, romance
pages: 384
source: bought
format: eBook
buy/shelve it: Amazon | B&N | BookBub | Goodreads

rating: five-stars | series rating: five-stars

the blurb

"I can't just storm in and proclaim my intentions. I can't 'steal' you away. I just have to wait and hope that, someday, you'll ask," Tamani said.

"And if I don't?" Laurel said, her voice barely above a whisper.

"Then I guess I'll be waiting forever."

Although Laurel has come to accept her true identity as a faerie, she refuses to turn her back on her human life - and especially her boyfriend, David - to return to the faerie world.

But when she is summoned to Avalon, Laurel's feelings for the charismatic faerie sentry Tamani are undeniable. She is forced to make a choice - a choice that could break her heart.

my review

Spells begins about six months after Wings ends.  The interesting mythology that I so loved about the first books continues in this one.  Some of it is blended with more traditional mythology and some of it is blended with reality as we know it and that makes the entire premise of the book that much more believable.  One of the key parts of that was the Academy.  I liked that the Academy, despite the fact that it is an institution of faerie learning, was very much like a live-in school in the human world.  That brought a level of understanding that bridged the gap between the human world and the faerie world.  Reading the titles of her newly acquired textbooks was a lot like reading those in the Harry Potter books.  Another new bit of mythology was Shakespeare and his part in it all.  There were a lot of references to Shakespeare and his written work, weaving him into the mythology of Avalon that is unique to this story.  According to this mythology, Shakespeare’s work is a human retelling of faerie lore.  The play shown at the Festival of Samhain was based on A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

I love that no matter what happens to Laurel or how much she learns about her true self, she remains very human.  It is clear that much of the faerie world sees humans as rather inferior.  No matter how much she learned about her heritage, she never lost her humanity.  She, despite her faerie nature, seems to be more human than faerie, flaws and all.  And that more human than fae feeling was made pretty clear throughout much of the book.  I didn’t like that at times she was almost judgmental about that which she didn’t understand about the faerie world and their ways.  This is obviously because of her human upbringing, but it sometimes came off as obnoxious.  There was often a tone of superiority when she questioned various aspects of faerie ways or beliefs.  Her biggest problem with faerie ways seemed to be the class system of seasonal faeries and how they were viewed within faerie society.  Winters, being the rarest, were seen as the top level.  Falls, as Mixers, were next, followed by Summers and then Springs.  Because Tamani was Spring, she hated how the rest of faerie society treated them.  Her heart was in the right place from a human standpoint, but she tended to judge the faerie from within that framework which just doesn’t translate.  But all of this fit the story because it showed her struggle to live in two worlds.  The love triangle between David, Tamani, and Laurel also grew more complex and probably helped Laurel’s character to change.  Conflicting feelings, along with her struggles in her new world, changed her a lot during this book.  While her character did grow, there were times when Laurel just didn’t handle things well and that made her character much more believable and likeable.  Balancing her two worlds was often next to impossible and she often failed miserably at it.

There were several different themes in this book.  One was about balance and maintaining it through life-changing times.  Balancing her faerie heritage with her human life was often immensely difficult for Laurel, and one she was often unable to maintain without hurting either David or Tamani.  There were a lot choices to be made in this book, many that can’t help but result in pain and heartbreak for someone, no good choices.  I like that these choices were presented in a real way, without trying to tie them up neatly in impossible ways.

Things to love…

  • The mythology.  Just like the first book, I loved the blend of mythologies, as well as the blending of mythology with reality.
  • The messages.  The theme of acceptance is all the way through these books, as is the concept of social class.  I loved that there was no sugar coating those subjects.

Things I wanted more or less of…

  • A little more acceptance by Mom.  I really did not like Sarah, Laurel’s mom.  Her attitude irritated me to no end.  When she finally started to come around, it was in a moment of fear rather than with love and understanding.
  • A little more of Chelsea.  She turned out to be so much more than I ever imagined.

some quotastic goodness…

Getting involved with Tamani was like playing in a roaring river. Take one step too far and the current would never let you go (1).

As crazy as the truth actually turned out to be—that Laurel was a changeling, a faerie child left in their care to inherit sacred fae land—they had accepted it with remarkable ease, at least at first. Her dad’s attitude hadn’t changed, but over the last few months her mom had grown more and more freaked out by the idea that Laurel wasn’t human. She’d stopped talking about it, then refused to even hear about it, and things had finally come to a head last month when Laurel got the invitation (5).

“That’s silly,” Rowen said dismissively. “How could a faerie be a human? Humans are strange. And scary,” she added after a short pause. Then she whispered conspiratorially, “They’re animals (60).”

“When you told us you were a faerie, it was weird and unbelievable, but more than that, it made me feel completely useless. You were this amazing thing and had spent your whole life having all these faerie…guards, or whatever, watching out for you. You didn’t need me (348-349).”

One of my favorite fae-themed books that I have read.  I definately recommend this one, but only after reading Wings.

About Aprilynne Pike

Critically acclaimed, #1 New York Times best-selling author Aprilynne Pike has been spinning tales since she was a child with a hyper-active imagination. At the age of twenty she received her BA in Creative Writing from Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho. When not writing, Aprilynne can usually be found out running; she also enjoys singing, acting, reading, and working with pregnant moms as a childbirth educator and doula. Aprilynne lives in Arizona with her husband and four kids; she is enjoying the sunshine.

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