Monday, March 31, 2014

Review: Steadfast (Spellcaster #2) by Claudia Gray

And maybe you should scroll down to the end of this post, because maybe there's a giveaway... ;D

Release date: March 4, 2014
Author info: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 346
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher provided for review
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
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 was a little bit surprised by how much I enjoyed the first book in the series, Spellcaster, but going into Steadfast, I knew I'd enjoy myself. And I was right! It's got higher stakes, more interesting magic, lovely romance, and black goo coming out of people's mouths--what more could you want?

After seemingly defeating Elizabeth in her planned destruction of Captive's Sound, Nadia, Mateo, and Verlaine seem to be in the clear, believing Elizabeth is dead. But, when she starts showing up around town again, they realize her plan at the carnival was only one step in a larger, more sinister plan. With very little time to stop her and with her demon, Asa, always hovering and interfering both with their plans and relationships, the three try as hard as they can to stop Elizabeth's ultimate plan and save the world as they know it.

I'm still struck so hard by how different and innovative the magic in this series is. There's "no foolish wand-waving or silly incantations" (to quote Severus Snape), but instead experiences and feelings make up the core, augmented by natural elements like obsidian. It makes the magic so much more personal and it means a witch can't, at times, do a certain spell because she doesn't have the experience in life for it. I love that a lot of the restraints on power come from this. There's one magical instance that is so striking and so powerful in this book that it moved me to tears. To see the sacrifice it takes and the potency of it is just astounding. (But to talk of it in any detail is a major spoiler, and one that I'd really hate to ruin for anyone... But, I cried.)

I enjoyed getting to know Nadia and Mateo in the first book, but here I especially liked seeing more of Verlaine, her situation, her history, and her feelings. She's much more appealing as a character than just as a sidekick to Nadia and she deserves so much more than she receives.

The plot in this one is rather similar to the first but with higher stakes. This isn't a bad thing necessarily, but it does feel a little repetitive, with Elizabeth as the bad guy and her superior knowledge and power always kind of easily defeating Nadia. It is definitely helped by the addition of Asa but I'd like to see something a bit different in terms of the plot (and the third book looks to promise that).

Despite the slightly plot, Steadfast is a good sequel that is just as exciting as the first book and builds a lot on the foundations of the world. Not only does it deliver on romance and excitement, but it's ending promises an equally (though probably more) exciting third book, one that I personally can't wait to read. Hey, if you like witches, why aren't you reading this series?

About the author:

Claudia Gray is the pseudonym of Amy Vincent, a bestselling, New Orleans-based novelist. She is perhaps best known for her four-book Evernight series, which follows a girl named Bianca, who is sent to Evernight Academy, a boarding school for vampires.

Gray has also published Balthazar, a spin-off of the Evernight series about Bianca's vampire friend, and a stand-alone novel entitled Fateful, the tale of a young serving woman aboard the doomed ship Titanic, and a dark stranger who is pursued by werewolves. Gray's short stories have been featured in anthologies such as Immortal, Enthralled, and Vacations from Hell. Before working as a full-time novelist, Gray worked as a lawyer, a disc jockey, a journalist, and a waitress (a terrible one by her reckoning). She enjoys hiking, traveling, reading, and listening to music, but says she loves writing best of all.
My review of Spellcaster.

And guess what? I happen to have an extra copy of Steadfast, and I figured I'd share it with one of my lovely readers! Just follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter to enter! :) Ends 4/21 11:59 p.m. Eastern. US ONLY.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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