Spellbinding by Maya Gold

10:37 PM

Title: Spellbinding
Author: Maya Gold
Publish Date: April 1, 2013
Publisher: Scholastic Point
Pages: 272
Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Rating: ★★★★

There's more than one way to be powerful . . .

It is during a routine school project that Abby Silva--sixteen and nearly friendless--makes a startling discovery: She is descended from women who were accused of witchcraft back in 1600s Salem. And when Abby visits nearby Salem, strange, inexplicable events start to unfold. Objects move when she wills them to. Candles burst into sudden flame. And an ancient spellbook somehow winds up in her possession.

Trying to harness her newfound power, Abby concocts a love potion to win over her longtime crush--and exact revenge upon his cruel, bullying girlfriend. But old magic is not to be trifled with. Soon, Abby is thrust headlong into a world of hexes, secrets, and danger. And then there's Rem Anders, the beautiful, mysterious Salem boy who seems to know more about Abby than he first lets on.

A reckoning is coming, and Abby will have to make sense of her history--and her heart--before she can face the powerful truth.

I love the cover of this novel, it's very beautiful. I miss when a book doesn't have that sort of awe-inspiring cover that gives insight to the novel. Most of the time, I hear people say, "Don't judge a book by its cover," but let's just get this out of the way... If the cover is as awesome as the book, doesn't it negate that entire sentence? That's what I thought.

Spellbinding by Maya Gold tells the story of Abby who stumbles upon something that no one seems to want her to know: her own family history. A school project inspires her to look beyond what everyone seems to say about her family's past and actually look into it herself. What she finds just might change her life and could change everything around her, especially the town of Salem. When she discovers where her family comes from and the fact that one of her ancestors was deemed a witch by the people of Salem, she finds out that blood isn't the only thing she inherited from that incident. She has magic running through her veins -- magic that could not only destroy Salem but who she is. Not to mention the fact that she is a teenager. She faces the temptation to use magic to not only solve all of her problems but to create them for other people. Will she learn to use her magic for good? Is she destined to really cause the demise of a town whose dark history the natives embrace but regret? What will happen when she has to decide between the person she once was and the person she might be? Will embracing the magic be the worse choice or the best?

Abby is the main character of the story with her entrancing family history that she has no idea about. Ever since her birthday, all she seems to dream about is the past. She doesn't know who she is, where she is, or even when she is. I wasn't certain whether I would like or dislike her as a character in the beginning but she definitely grew on me throughout the story. It seems like her magical powers exploit her weaknesses and bring out the qualities that wouldn't have been as noticeable otherwise. She starts out as a girl who prefers to remain in the background, has a crush on the king of the high school, and is a smart girl who makes good choices. Once everything begins though, her selfishness surfaces and her darkness becomes inextricably mingled with the light. I think by the end of the book, she faces more growth and change than any of character I've really faced in a book. Her motives and emotions are a roller coaster ride but I didn't mind it.

Rem is the love interest. He is so complicated and sends so many mixed signals throughout the course of the book. When he is first introduced, I definitely wasn't sure about him other than the fact that he made Abby come alive. You know, you hear that stories about when someone meets their true love and how it feels like everything sort of clicks, the world becomes sharper, and life essentially becomes different when this one person isn't a part of it. I think that it kind of fits the relationship between Rem and Abby. Even with all of his mixed signals, which trust me when I say it was frustrating, I couldn't help but love him. I think of all of the guy characters introduced in the story, there was no one that could fit as well with Abby as he could. It broke my heart when he pushed her away and I more than once wanted to seriously maim or injure the poor boy for his choices. Yeah, completely justified sure.... But did he have to make me question his motives? 

The myths and lore behind the plot are something that I know a lot about. I went to Salem a couple of years ago with my family before I started college and I actually found the town to be very beautiful. You know, you hear all of these stories about this spooky town with its dark history which is what I was prepared for and all those ideas were completely wrong. I mean the dark past is there with all of the horrors that the books and stories illustrate. The idea of witches and Salem has always been an interesting and intriguing topic and the way that the author exploited such a popular topic was awesome. What if the magic came after the witch trials? Maybe the people really did torture and kill the innocent but it led to something much darker. Magic.

The writing was well done and captured my attention from the first paragraph. I think the author knew how to hook me from the get go and keep me hanging on until the end. At least the writing portrayed that. It was well done. The plot is unique because although it touches on something very popular -- witches -- it discusses it in a way that wasn't done before. I personally liked the way the Salem Witch Trials play such a huge part in the story without having too much to do with the magic. Instead of being completely about the magic the witches in Salem originally had, it shows that maybe magic really appeared after the fact. The plot twists were interesting interesting and the development of the characters, both big and small, continued throughout the process of the story. I watched the worse characters become the best and some of the best succumb to the worst. 

Let me bemoan the ending of this novel for a moment because it was the only thing that was worth bemoaning about. I have this intense need to have the ending be different and once you read it, you'll understand. It's a beautiful story, entwining both the old and the new. But the ending almost left off on an anti-climatic note. I wanted this story to continue because it would've made a beautiful series that I wouldn't have hesitated to keep reading. Then again, I guess I could say, never say never? Who knows. Maybe if I grovel long enough and point out that the ending just couldn't satisfy and that there is no way that the ending will ever be good enough, someone somewhere might listen. A girl can dream. 

I could really cover a whole lot more because I loved so much about this story but I don't have the time to type everything out. Honestly though. Despite the ending that I have determined to be anti-climatic, I really did enjoy this book. It brought to life an intriguing part of American history and the author had no issue bringing to life the beautiful town of Salem. Honestly, I think that everyone will love it because of how wonderful the story truly is. Read it!

About the author

Bailee is the type of person you would expect to find with her nose buried in a book or a notebook and a pencil in hand. She loves reading and she loves reviewing the books she reads. This is certainly becoming a passion of hers.