When Nadia’s family moves to Captive’s Sound, she instantly realizes there’s more to the place than meets the eye. Descended from witches, Nadia can sense that a spell has been cast over the tiny Rhode Island town—a sickness infecting everyone and everything in it. The magic at work is darker and more powerful than anything she’s come across and has sunk its claws most deeply into Mateo . . . her rescuer, her friend, and the guy she yearns to get closer to even as he pushes her away.
Mateo has lived in Captive’s Sound his entire life, shadowed by small-town gossip and his family’s tormented past. Every generation, the local legends say, one member of the family goes mad, claiming to know the future before descending into insanity. When the strange dreams Mateo has been having of rescuing a beautiful girl from a car accident actually 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 terrible family curse, and to prevent a coming disaster that even now threatens the entire town, including Nadia’s family, her newfound friends, and her own life. Shimmering with magic and mystery, New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray’s new novel depicts a dark and unforgettable world of witches, curses, buried secrets, and star-crossed romance.
Nadia, along with her father and brother, have just moved to Captive Sound after their parents divorce. In the middle of Nadia’s magic training(which the male members of her family know nothing about), her mother up and left them. When they arrive in Captive Sound, Nadia immediately knows there is a strong magic force at work there and she knows she has to get to the bottom of what’s happening before it’s too late. Along with Mateo and Verlaine, Nadia, who hasn’t completed her witch training, needs to stop whatever is draining Captive Sound.
Nadia, the main character, was interesting enough. I didn’t have issues with her, but she was pretty flat. I felt absolutely no emotional attachment to her whatsoever. Even when she was in danger my reaction was just, “Oh”. I enjoyed her strong family connection and the relationship with her father and brother but herself as character was fairly uninteresting. Mateo, the love interest, was also boring to me. I did enjoy him well enough as he had an interesting back story that ties into the overall “mystery” but once again I didn’t form an attachment. Verlaine, by far, was my favorite character. I thought she was spunky, I liked her style and the fact that she was an outcast immediately warmed me to her. That being said, although she was my favorite character, I didn’t have a strong emotional connection with HER either. There is a part where Verlaine gets into a bit of “trouble” and my reaction was, “That sucks”. I found that hard to swallow because, if she is one of my favorite characters, shouldn’t I be a bit more upset? Overall, one of the main issues I had with Spellcaster was the character building. I had zero connection with any of the characters, and while I liked almost all of them, they were very one dimensional and didn’t have any layers. What was presented to us at the start of the novel was what we got for the remainder of the story. The biggest disappointment of this was Nadia. I thought since she was not yet an official witch, but still had to use her powers there would be a lot more discovery and development. Nope, same Nadia.
Now, onto the plot. I actually LOVED the story. I thought the concept was extremely interesting and very unique to anything I’ve read. Every detail about what was happening currently right down to things that happened hundreds of years ago was well thought out. And the way the history was presented to us was pleasant and gradual, no info dumping. I enjoyed learning about Steadfasts, the curse of the Cabot’s, and the First Laws. The revelation of what is happening in Captive Sound is also very interesting. It wasn’t what I thought it was going to be, and I found a few surprises as well. Nothing that will blow your mind, but a few things I didn’t expect. Honestly the plot of the novel is probably my favorite part. I love witch novels, and Spellcaster had a well thought out and unique story.
I REALLY loved how there is no insta love here. Nadia and Mateo’s relationship was gradual and progressive. There was instant attraction, which is something I very much like, but for them to get to the point they are at towards the end of the novel takes the entire story. Very refreshing to see this in a YA novel, I’m sick of instant love.
The only other issue I had with Spellcaster was the pacing. While the plot was fantastic sometimes this novel just dragged on. At one I thought I was never going to finish. There was a lot of rehashing the same stuff, just in a different scene. I felt like several chapters were just fillers.
The ending was by far my favorite part of the novel. I thought the ending was a surprise and not something I expected. I also think there is something about Verlaine as well as Nadia’s mother that we will learn about in the second book.
Unlike most of my two star reviews, I will be continuing the Spellcaster series. I loved the plot, and I’m interested to see what happens after the ending. I also think there is something else we will discover about Verlaine as well as her mother HAS to play a part in some of this story. I feel like there is something just outside of our grasp when it comes to Nadia’s mother and I’m interested enough to read on. Also I WOULD recommend Spellcaster. It was a really good story, and despite my faults with it, I did enjoy it. If you like witch novels, this is a good addition to the genre but a borrow not a buy.