11.29.2021 | Monday

Spells Trouble

category: Book Reviews

Spells Troubletitle: Spells Trouble
author: P.C. Cast, Kristin Cast
series: Sisters of Salem #1
published: 25 May 2021
publisher: Wednesday Books
genre(s): fantasy, historical
pages: 306
source: library
format: eBook
buy/shelve it: Amazon | B&N | BookBub | Goodreads

rating: two-stars | series rating: two-stars

the blurb

Double double, twins spell trouble…
Hunter and Mercy Goode are twin witches, direct descendants of the founder of their town of Goodeville. As their ancestors have done before them, it is now time for the twins to learn what it means to be Gatekeepers–the protectors of the Gates to different underworlds, ancient portals between their world and realms where mythology rules and nightmares come to life.
When their mother becomes the first victim in a string of murders, the devastated sisters vow to avenge her death. But it will take more than magic to rein in the ancient mythological monsters who’ve infected their peaceful town.
Now Hunter and Mercy must come together and accept their destiny or risk being separated for good.

my review

When I saw Spells Trouble as a coming-soon book, the cover just drew me in. And the synopsis was very promising, with a lot of different elements I like in a novel… witchiness, LGBTQIA+ inclusion, emotional angstiness, family drama.

But the reality was less than my expectations. For a lot of reasons.

#1. The emotion. It’s not a spoiler to say that their mother died at the beginning of the book. Most would consider this a time of mourning. Yet any real moment of grief seems to be glossed over, dismissed in ways that felt very superficial. And not just their own grief but that of their friend’s, too. It was just odd, the way emotional priority was given to other things.

#2. The use of queerness as a negative. Hunter is queer, and Mercy felt that some of her sister’s choices were made because of that, choices that she felt were wrong. It’s hard to discuss without spoilers, but this was a theme that was carried on through much of the book. That Hunter’s choices, one’s she supposedly made because of her queerness, were not only wrong but the sole reason for all that was happening. It was so prevalent that it was rather offensive at times.

#3. The magic. I love witchy books, but the magical world in this seemed bizarre. The girls are the latest in a long line of Goode witches charged with being Gatekeepers to the five underworlds. There is zero real explanation as how that came to be, and why the five portals are in Nowhere, Illinois, or why two white girls are gatekeeping for underworlds of entirely other cultures and parts of the world. Greek, Norse, Japanese, Egyptian, and Hindu underworlds… in Illinois?

#4. The YA sex. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not opposed to YA sex in novels, at least sex-positive YA. It happens. It’s reality. There’s no reason to make it taboo. But the sex topic here was cringey. The observation of one’s own mother’s breasts was weird. A mother making suppositions about the size of her daughter’s boyfriend’s member. A mother asking after her daughter’s clitoris, chatting about a family trait of multiple orgasms. It was just odd. And later, an explicit sex scene that felt very gratuitous.

All in all, I’m probably going to pass on the rest of the series.

About Kristin Cast

Kristin Cast is a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author who teams with her mother to write the House of Night YA series. She has stand alone stories in several anthologies, as well as editorial credits. Currently Kristin is working on her first stand alone novel.

About P.C. Cast

P.C. Cast was born in the Midwest, and grew up being shuttled back-and-forth between Illinois and Oklahoma, which is where she fell in love with Quarter Horses and mythology (at about the same time). After high school she joined the United States Air Force and began public speaking and writing. After her tour in the USAF, she taught high school for 15 years before retiring to write full time. Ms. Cast is a New York Times Best-Selling author and a member of the Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame. Her novels have been awarded the prestigious: Oklahoma Book Award, YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, the Prism, Holt Medallion, Daphne du Maurier, Booksellers’ Best, and the Laurel Wreath. P.C. Cast is an experienced teacher and talented speaker. To contact the Casts regarding appearances and/or interviews: info@myhouseofnight.com. Ms. Cast lives in Oklahoma with her fabulous daughter, her spoiled cat, her adorable Scotties, and a bunch of not totally normal horses!

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