Sunday, April 20, 2014

Review: Shadow Spell

The O'Dwyer trilogy continues with this second installment, Shadow Spell, focusing around "the three," Branna, Connor, and Iona as well as their friends.  Whereas the first book, Dark Witch, centered around Iona and how she came to officially take her role as one of the three, this is Connor's story.

Synopsis from Amazon:
With the legends and lore of Ireland running through his blood, falconer Connor O’Dwyer is proud to call County Mayo home. It’s where his sister, Branna, lives and works, where his cousin, Iona, has found true love, and where his childhood friends form a circle that can’t be broken… A circle that is about to be stretched out of shape—by a long-awaited kiss. 
Meara Quinn is Branna’s best friend, a sister in all but blood. Her and Connor’s paths cross almost daily, as Connor takes tourists on hawk walks and Meara guides them on horseback across the lush countryside. She has the eyes of a gypsy and the body of a goddess…things Connor has always taken for granted—until his brush with death propels them into a quick, hot tangle. Plenty of women have found their way to Connor’s bed, but none to his heart until now. Frustratingly, Meara is okay with just the heat, afraid to lose herself—and their friendship—to something more. But soon, Connor will see the full force and fury of what runs in his blood. And he will need his family and friends around him when his past rolls in like the fog, threatening an end to all he loves…

My Review:
I have to say that my favorite part of these books so far are the prologues.  I was drawn immediately to the three children, Eamon, Teagan, and Brannaugh, characters from the past who were the first to battle Cabhan and his evil magic.  These children were strong and courageous, as many children in old times had to be in order to survive.  They lost their father and then their mother but pledged to fight until their deaths.  I wanted so much to hear the whole of their story but, as it is so intertwined with the present day story of Connor, Iona, and Branna, I can see why it cannot be a stand alone book.  I look forward to seeing how their part of the story ends.

All three of these O'Dwyer books are clearly about each of the three finding their own true love while defending their lives against Cabhan, who wants to destroy them and take their power using any weakness he can find. There is a high romance element within each book, to the point where is almost overwhelms the main plot of the story. I truly loved Iona and Boyle in Dark Witch, but I found that neither the story nor the romance in Shadow Spell were quite as exciting.  I feel like I could follow the same general path for both books.  Two people fall in love reluctantly, realize their true feelings, one is threatened and almost killed, and then all band together to fight the evil together, only to find that it will return and the circle will begin again. Predictable.  Not necessarily a bad thing but I like to have a little twist now and then to keep things interesting.

I'm not saying I didn't enjoy it, just that it wasn't as good as the first book.  The strong bond all six of the characters share is admirable, the setting is beautiful, and the constant fight between good and evil gives us some suspense even though we are pretty sure which side will be victorious.  The charms, spells, and magic in general are fun and fascinating.  It is the kind of story that makes you wish you could have magic powers as well.  I must admit though, I am hoping that the final book in the trilogy will return to the quality of the first. Blood Magick comes in the fall of 2014 so we shall see!


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