Monday, October 10, 2011

Spell Bound (Women of the Otherworld, #12) by Kelley Armstrong

Rating 2/5

I've never before accused a book of being all-plot and no substance before, and as a fan of Kelley Armstrong I hate to give a negative review, but this book was the worst in the series so far. It felt rushed on every level - as if she'd been rushed in writing it, it had been rushed into publication, and most of all the beyond break-neck pace made me feel like I was being dragged along and rushed while reading it.

This book is setting up an all out war among supernaturals to come in the next of the series, and as such brought every main character together in a tangle of plotlines. There's nothing wrong with the complexity, the problem was the book should not have been written in first person perspective (Savannah's). Setting aside my issues with Savannah as a character for a moment, the choice of perspective forced Armstrong to do a lot of telling rather than showing, and that is really boring. Add to this the necessity of doing background explanations on each character and their history, and this book is just full of explaining. The rest was a repetitive alternation of quick action scenes and regrouping and planning conversations - in person, via text and telephone. These breaks were also the place where Armstrong attempted to develop the relationship between Adam and Savannah.

I'm going against the grain, it seems, in not liking Savannah. Everything about her character seems forced and unoriginal - she reminds me of every other young woman protagonist in urban fantasy these days - tough but with predictable interpersonal issues. That's basically standard in YA urban fantasy lately. But - oh wait - Women of the Otherworld isn't a YA series. It seems like the author forgot that as she was writing Savannah's novels. There's talk of feelings, but no real passion, and obviously no deep romantic involvement here. One of the themes of this book, obviously, is "growing up". Only Savannah's reason to try to be more mature is so a boy will love her, which is kind of a paradox. Adam only comes around after he believes Savannah is dead, and it strikes me as weak that they have to almost die in order to admit their feelings to one another. Especially since Savannah is supposed to be someone who has always been assertive about expressing herself. As I was reading this book I felt like maybe it was Armstrong who had a problem letting Savannah grow up. In any case, as I said above, the story would've been better told had the author used a third person viewpoint instead of insisting on telling it through Savannah's eyes.

I will read the next book in the series to find out how it all ends, but in a way I'm glad it will be over soon, because it seems like the author has had enough, and because of that, so have I.

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