Book Review: Spellhaven by Sandra Unerman ★★★


What the book is about:

In the summer of 1914, Jane Fairchild, a young English musician, is kidnapped by magic and sent to Spellhaven, an island city ruled by magicians. Here, peace and prosperity are maintained with the assistance of Unseen Spirits bound to the service of the Lords Magician. The Spirits must be kept in good humour by the performance of all kinds of shows, dance, drama and music and Jane is one of many people kidnapped from the outside world and forced to contribute to these entertainments for a set period of service.

Only Jane is having none of it. She will not perform for her kidnapper, Lucian Palafox, but agrees to undertake an apprenticeship with another magician impresario, provided she is taught magic in return. Jane’s forays into magic lead her deeper within the mysteries of Spellhaven, her rivalry with Lucian escalates and the quarrels between them grow strong enough to shake the city to its foundations.

My thoughts on the book:

This book had a lot of potential. It really did. I can see where Sandra was planning on going and it would have greatly benefited from more character and story development. It felt like she tried to cram two or three books’ worth of material into one and then chopped off a lot of details that mattered. I did enjoy her writing style however. She manages to be engaging still even with all the details and information that she’s trying to throw onto you and for that I give her credit for.

Another thing that kind of bothered me was the way she wrote the love story between Jane and Lucian, the magician. Throughout the whole book she emphasized greatly how much Jane hated and was thoroughly pissed of at Lucian and she never really bothered to say that they liked each other. Lucian gave me the impression that he was just a womanizer and Jane is just one of the challenges that he wants to conquer and nothing else. And then it just suddenly felt like, boom, they are in love and they get together and all that. Yes, this is a bit of a spoiler but nothing too detrimental.

Also, the fact that the first 3/4 of the book felt like a different story from the latter 1/4 was really disappointing. Overall though I still had fun with the book and in fact, I actually could not put it down, which says a lot about how good of writer she is. I just pray that she has a better one if she has any plans of writing another book. I will read it as well because I thought she had a lot of potential.

I rated this a 3 stars and if the premise sounds interesting to you, please do check it out! Happy reading!


I received an eARC of this from LibraryThing in exchange for an honest review.

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