Friday, August 15, 2014

[Review] Spells by Aprilynne Pike

Spells by Aprilynne Pike

Rating: 2 Stars
Series: Wings #2
Release Date: June 23th 2009

Goodreads synopsis:

Although Laurel has come to accept her true identity as a faerie, she refuses to turn her back on her human life - and especially her boyfriend, David - to return to the faerie world.

But when she is summoned to Avalon, Laurel's feelings for the charismatic faerie sentry Tamani are undeniable. She is forced to make a choice - a choice that could break her heart.


Spells is the second book of Aprilynne Pike's Wings series. After discovering that she is a fairy is the first installment, Laurel attempts to learn more about not only what but who she is, and who she wants to become. To due this she visits Avalon, the magical faerie homeland and learns about her powers to protect the ones she loves. There she is both enchanted and disturbed by fairy society. Away from Avalon, life becomes only increasing chaotic as Laurel deals with her family, best friend,old enemies, and new allies who still may be more foe than friend. 

What I liked was the expanded mythology. It seemed so interesting, strange and unique. With out giving specifics away, not only are the fey plants but they have a strict class system based on what season they bloom. This is justify by the increased rareness and power of each class. I found the lifestyles and interactions of various fey very interesting.There are a few hints of Arthurian, Celtic, Japanese, and miscellaneous mythology but so far these are only tidbits as Pike continues to draw primarily from her own imagination for a magical system.

What I disliked was the choose to focus on romance over both plot and mythology.The book starts with the main character ENTERING the faerie realm. Not only that, but she is going to LEARN about magic. Yet Pike doesn't go into much detail about what she's studying besides listing half a dozen random plants and their uses use here or there. I mean their's a scene where Laurel is a room FULL of magical experiments and the narrative focuses on another girl's jealous and Laurel's amazement at seeing serious students. SERIOUSLY I would love to have seen different plant species,potion recipes, a clue to how they work, instead we get one sentence about a plant grow faster. Avalon is used mostly as an excuse for Laurel to spend time with Tamani. Most of story taking place there focuses on their growing relationship. Likewise most of the story outside of Avalon has Laurel spending time with David or thinking of one of them. Even when she is in danger,the moments when the story is most plot driven, she is with one of them. I can't fairly determine how strong a main character Laurel is because she is rarely forced to deal with problems on her own. However, worrying more about boy issues than murderous trolls is never a good sign. 

Overall The thing is I usually like fantasy romance books, but I need there to be a main conflict that supersedes the romance. I need to feel like plot is the prime rib, with action, humor and romance all added to the dish like accentuating flavors, adding to my enjoyment. In this book it was the other way around, the one conflict being addressed continuously throughout the book being the main character's love life. The other (often life threatening) problems were secondary, focused only here and there by the narrative, and consequently the readers thoughts. Overall these conflicts made up a comparatively small portion of the book, leaving the love triangle as the main course. It's not that the Pike's magically mythology didn't stand in it's own right, just not enough.

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