Tuesday, 7 July 2015

The Spell Master

The Spell Master

by Markelle Grabo

3 out of 5

Only one key can unlock the secret...

After discovering her true heritage and rescuing her sister, Ramsey Wilder is finally adjusting to life in the Elf Realm. She still has a lot to learn though, especially about her new power, which makes her start in ability school extremely convenient. But even as she immerses herself in school life, the secret she has yet to learn continues to linger in the back of her mind, as well as thoughts of Finn and his dangerous promise to return. And with Stellan away at war and Zora acting strange, Ramsey has no one to turn to but Nathan, an elf from school with much more to him than spells and a sarcastic sense of humor – one that Ramsey can't help but gravitate toward. And as danger reenters Ramsey's life, the terror and mystery only brings them closer together, threatening her future with Stellan and jeopardizing her relationship with her sister.

Ramsey can't lie to herself forever about what – and who – she truly desires, but is she ready for more changes to be a part of her already uncertain future? In this thrilling second installment, the key to Ramsey's secret may very well also unlock the secrets to her heart.

After rescuing her sister from the fairies, Ramsey now has to make a life for herself in the Elf realm.  Which includes learning how to control her blossoming powers; and to finally discover the big secret that caused her parents to leave her in the human realm for fifteen years.
The Spell Master is the second in the Journey into the Realm series (you can read my review of the first book - The Elf Girl).  I was offered a free copy as part of Shut Up & Read's read & review.
This book picks up soon after the first.  Ramsey is getting used to life as an elfen.  She has her sister back, but the realms are still at war.
Despite the war looming, and the obvious fact that Ramsey's boyfriend Stellan is fighting at the front; the war has little implication for the first half of the book.  Instead it concentrates on Ramsey's training at school, and the friends she makes.

I didn't click with the first book, and this one had a lot of the same issues.

I still don't like Ramsey, and as this is from her point of view, there's no escape from her thoughts and feelings.  She is a very selfish character.
I felt sorry for Zora - she was recently kidnapped, and while she was out of it, her boyfriend got stolen by her younger sister.  In The Spell Master, Zora acts "oddly", which one can only expect after such an ordeal.  But Ramsey and her best friend neglect her, ignore her feelings, and talk about how annoying the "crazy" sister is.

The new best friend Nathan, is a clear love interest, bringing this directly to a love triangle.  When Ramsey met Stellan, there were butterflies and weak knees; when she met Nathan, it was locked eyes and instant connection on the deepest level.
I do like that Ramsey and Nathan were friends first.  But I don't like a) Ramsey constantly going on about Nathan's eyes.  All elves have bright green eyes, how does she go so ga-ga over his? b) everybody telling Ramsey that Nathan is the one for her, so the whole time, it is so totally ok that she likes him, but she's going to be a martyr and stay with Stellan, because she's a good person.  (Seriously, some of the elves she's confided in have probably known Stellan all his life, and they are telling her to leave him because war will change him... What shit friends!)
((Spoilerish)) c) That despite Ramsey wanting to be with Nathan, she's too good and loyal to break Stellan's heart.  Conveniently, Ramsey tells Stellan the secret she has finally discovered (it is a fact about herself that she cannot change), and Stellan can't handle it and breaks it off.  Leaving poor, hurt, innocent Ramsey free to pursue a relationship with Nathan.

The action and concerns of the outside world come in around the 300 page mark.
((SPOILER)) Her friends are the target of fairies, who want to punish Ramsey.  Two of them die horribly, being burnt to death.  Yet no one hears or sees anything.  Worse, poor Ramsey is feeling very guilty, she knows it's all her fault.  So she goes to bed.  Ellie has to find out about the death of two close friends, hours later from a third party.  And when she does, Ramsey promptly sends her out the door for someone else to deal with her grief, because the only person she wants to bother with is Nathan.

The last fifty pages, or so, do pick up nicely.  Which is frustrating, Grabo can clearly write adventure, and excitement; but the first 300 pages are taken up with Nathan's eyes and woe-is-me.
The secret is also very good, and worth waiting for.

Goodreads link

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