Mini Reviews: Spellcaster and Steadfast by Claudia Gray

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Title: Spellcaster

Author: Claudia Gray

Genre: YA fantasy

Length: 389 pages

Published by: HarperTeen

Source: borrowed from local library

Blurb: 

When Nadia’s family moves to Captive’s Sound, she instantly realizes there’s more to it than meets the eye. Descended from witches, Nadia senses a dark and powerful magic at work in her new town. Mateo has lived in Captive’s Sound his entire life, trying to dodge the local legend that his family is cursed – and that curse will cause him to believe he’s seeing the future … until it drives him mad. When the strange dreams Mateo has been having of rescuing a beautiful girl—Nadia—from a car accident 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 family’s terrible curse, and to prevent a disaster that threatens the lives of everyone around them.

I went into this book with low expectations. Some of these were because of my sister. But I’m learning not to listen to my sister (she has red hair. Obviously she can’t be trusted). She’s probably reading this, actually.

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ANYWAY. Mostly I’m not a fan of one-word titles. They don’t tell you much about the book, you know? I like the title of the second book (Steadfast) since it relates hugely, but without context I wouldn’t have known that. I mean, how many books do you think there are with spellcasters? Probably at least a million and three.

ANYWAY. Goodness, I seem to be getting off track quite a bit. I liked Spellcaster a lot. It’s dark, and mysterious, and foreboding, and powerful, and the villain is FANTASTIC. It’s a new take on magic that I’ve never seen before. The three main characters all have their issues and there was a nice dynamic there. The family stuff was in the background but provided a nice layering to the whole thing. Also it had some nice little PC stuff, like, “I wouldn’t treat someone else’s race as a costume.” I liked that.

I had a problem with the villain’s motives, and why she did what she did at the end, but my suspension of disbelief didn’t suffer too dreadfully.

Rating: 3.5/5 Wonderkitties

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ImageTitle: Steadfast

Author: Claudia Gray

Genre: YA fantasy

Length: 384 pages

Published by: HarperTeen

Blurb:

Nadia, Mateo, and Verlaine have saved Captive’s Sound from the dark Sorceress Elizabeth…or so they thought. Despite their best efforts, a crack opened and a new, greater evil seeped through. With Mateo as her Steadfast, Nadia’s magic is magnified and she is more powerful than ever. But there is still so much she doesn’t know about the craft, leaving her open and vulnerable to a darker magic…which has begun to call Nadia’s name

I didn’t like Steadfast as much as Spellcaster. The middle was a bit muddy, and I would have liked a LOT more explanation – it’s like there was a promise from the last book to explain things and they were STILL left open-ended. And it’s the kind of cliff-hanger ending where I probably wouldn’t mind not reading the next one…you know, it’s not that BURNING DESIRE to read on, if you know what I mean.

That said, I liked it enough to say good things about it. For a start, Asa was a great character and I would have liked to see more of him (although less of his relationship with a certain character, because that was weird and came out of nowhere). Like this quote from him:

“Just dropped by, figured we could bitch about Elizabeth, do each other’s nails, make cookies—wait. No. That’s girl bonding, isn’t it? Sometimes I get it mixed up. No gender roles in hell, torment and anguish being more or less universal. So what do we do to be manly and brutish? Smash beer cans against our foreheads? What NASCAR? Crochet? What?”

I more than giggled at this quote. In fact I’m pretty sure I almost GUFFAWED (which is also a great word, incidentally).

I would have liked to see more of Verlaine. She seems like she would be a great character if we saw her more often – she’s also really funny.

Unfortunately, though, overall I think Steadfast juuuuust hit the mark from me. It has a lot of potential, and I recommend the first book definitely. And hey, obviously my judgement isn’t the be all and end all. If you want to read about a really unique version of magic, this is the book for you.

Rating: 3/5 Wonderkitties

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11 thoughts on “Mini Reviews: Spellcaster and Steadfast by Claudia Gray

  1. Aw, dang, second book blues, eh? I’m wracking my brain because I feel like I’ve heard the author Claudia Gray before but for some other book and I can’t thiiiink. I’m going to have to search it. This’ll bug me all day. I’m kind of intrigued by the fabulous villain. Oh gosh, that makes me sound really bad, but I have a THING for well written villains. They make a book a lot better. 🙂

    • Are you thinking of Evernight? I mean, it’s pretty popular 🙂 it seems like she’s in some of the same circles as Cassandra Clare and Holly Black and stuff. Or at least, that’s what my brain has decided. The villain is great. I didn’t really want to give away who the villain is…even though she’s mentioned in the blurb of the second book. Well-written villains are awesome!

  2. The premise of the first book sounds a bit like Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia.
    Characters with issues, new take on magic and a good villain? I just might have to give this series a go!
    Nice review:)

  3. Evernight by the same author was my gateway book into YA, before that I hated reading so I think I will be giving this series a go since I already own the first book. Shame the the sequel has second book syndrome though 😦

    Great reviews, Emily! <33

  4. Pingback: What Happened This Week: British relatives | The Loony Teen Writer

  5. I wasn’t a huge fan of the first and reading your review only to find out the second one wasn’t as good either has me not wanting to get it either 😦 damn!
    lily @ lilysbookblog
    p.s LOVE the Stephen Colbert gif

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