Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Witch's Brew (The Spellspinners of Melas County 1) by Heidi R. Kling

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The Spellspinners of Melas County is a fantasy YA romance series about a witch, a warlock, and their fight for their forbidden but prophesied love.

Once soulmates, the witch and warlock covens of the California coast have been estranged for a century. Raised to hate each other, their teenagers meet in the Solstice Stones, a magical battleground where they draw energy from each other to maintain their balance. 16 year olds Logan and Lily have spent years training for their first Stones…only to discover just days before that the enemy may not be what either of them had thought.

In Witch’s Brew, Lily is torn between her feelings for Logan and her coven’s need to know who—or what—he is. The young lovers race against time, their distrust for each other, and the powerful influence of their elders to unravel the mystery of their pasts before their future is destroyed. 

This is an Active Fiction title
"Active fiction" is a new type of e-reading experience that allows the reader and the author to interact with each other and the text in new and different ways.

In Witch’s Brew, Lily and Logan's fate is already decided, but Heidi explores several different possible pathways for how they get there. She shares scenes that wouldn’t normally fit in a book format and gives readers more precious moments between the two young lovers. As the series progresses, you'll see some normal narrative forms, interspersed with smaller scenes, alternate points of view, and a lot of "what if" scenarios.

2 stars!

I ran into this book while searching for something new, different, unique. 

I found it (though not in this book).

I also wanted to read a book about witches, it has been a long time since I read one. which leads me to admitting that the latest witched book I read and remember quite well is a HP book. regardless of the many problems I might have with the HP series, I found the world building and the magic to be...well...amazing. just like the majority of people who read the series and dreamed of attending Hogwarts. in comparison to that book, this book falls short.

In compared to other books I read the contained magic to some degree or another (Like most books Ilona Andrews) this book is found lacking for my tastes. Considering I was in a reading slump lately, this book has an extremely bad luck with me. but the thing is the each book should (most of the time) be given a chance and examined and rated in it's own merits. Of course, rationally speaking that is notpossible. for every book is read through the eyes of the one who reads it, and the reading process is very much influenced by the experience and feelings of the reader as well as the books he read before. 

This review very much expresses my opinion of the book. 

So while I read this book, and while I didn't suffer completely I kept thinking of other things I had to do. I wasn't hooked (far from it, truth be told).

I found the characters lacking in depth and their voice average just like any other formulated YA book, and we've got plenty of those. the story is told through 2 POV's one of Lily (aka the MC) and the other of Logan (aka, "sexy dude"/love interest). While Lily's POV is told in the first person, Logan's is told in the third person.

I found the constant exchange to be mildly annoying. Also, I didn't find the explanation of the magic system, the rivalries or most things regarding Lily's and Logan's world satisfying. I am very much aware that most people will not have a problem with such thing, I wouldn't either if I read this book 2 years ago. Since then, I learned that I want a good enough explanation in the magical system, rules, limits options (not only on magical system but on every world created by an author). this book is once again found lacking. 

And even though I am not grammar fanatic, there were some inconsistencies in the whole tense in which the book was written, one minute it was past tense and then all of sudden a sentence was told in present tense and I'm not talking about dialogues.

what else? *looking at my notes* the writing, yup the writing. All in all I'd say the writing is average like in most books I read not bad but not good, not lyrical or evoking but not eye-bleeding. but sometimes the writing was more on the "talking" side then the "writing" side. I'll try to explain. Lily tells are something, and she does it well enough for me to picture it, and then she goes saying "In conclusion" maybe it's just me but I didn't like the way it came out. you are telling a story Lily, and while you tell your story you do not address the reader directly and all of sudden you do? I call that being inconsistent. 

It's not only the MCs that were lacking in depth, the supporting cycle was very much stereotypical as well, some of the dialogues felt dull. We have a bestie that is supposedly more beautiful, leader like and talented than the MC, we have the leader of the coven that is all about "the goal" and even when we get to know more about the warlocks, after being told they are "the bad guys", we learn that all in all most of them aren't very sympathetic dudes, especially not Jacob (aka, Logan's father and leader of warlocks) who falls quite well to the stereotypical bad guy criteria. 

The book is very formulated with:

Super Speshul Snow Cornflake Syndrom:
Both Lily and Logan can breath under water which makes the the only living magical beings that can do that, Lily is the leader of The Daughters of the Light and Logan is the leader of The Sons of Darkness (may I say stupid names? obviously light is good, dark is bad, and I'm sick of that bullshit)
Also they are beautiful- Logan is tall, broad shouldered dark and brooding, with inks. 
Lily is blonde, tall, long legs, smells good, into yoga (like all of her coven). 

MC not sure of her looks syndrome:
So yeah, Lily is beautiful, but she doesn't think she's beautiful. in fact she thinks her bestie is he beautiful one. insecure much? I don't get it. the fact that you are beautiful doesn't mean that your friend isn't and vise versa. Also, I know that using that formula is all about making girls reading the book to sympathize with the MC, but is all that insecurity really needed? maybe it's better to give message of "your are beautiful" or "everyone is beautiful" or "everyone has something beautiful about them"? but this is not a discussion for this review. 

TSTL syndrome (aka too stupid to live): 
As is well known most MCs in YA books has tendency to act stupidly one way or another saying how much they need to do it or what ever. Our dear Lily is not different- pretty much and the beginning of the book she goes and does something stupid and dangerous. Luckily, she meets Logan, but the fact that she was lucky does not mean that she wasn't stupid and that what she did couldn't cost her gravely. she says herself- "No rational human, or witch, would dare hike up here unaccompanied, especially this close to twilight. But I was on a mission and not easily deterred. Besides, I was no average rational

you are right, ducky, you are not rational to be doing that, but hey, admitting the problem is first step to solving it. 

The big insta-L:
Once again we have insta love- Logan and Lily (aka LiLo) meet and are instantly attracted to each other, he's smoking hot like a tree on fire and she's beautiful like the moon and they want to touch, they want to be together, they never found another human being this attractive they are destined. seriously? what's wrong with human boys/girls? I think nothing, LiLo just don't find them attractive, because when you are super speshul cornflake you can't help but wanting to pair with a super speshul cornflake of your caliber. "US SUPER SEPSHUL CORNFLAKES MUST STICK TOGETHER"

their flirtation and conversations are plain. sorry no spark in here- move on!

star crossed lovers: 
Once again, I can't help but wonder what is it with YA books (and other books) and the star crossed lovers theme? Romeo and Juliette died in the end, that wasn't sexy, good, funny or happy. yes, going through obstacles is important in a relationship, but you know what? It's the little things that can tear people apart just as much as the big things. and I know you want adventure and excitement, but there are other ways to bring excitement. you can do it perfectly well with the MCs capable of being together.

the war between the sexes the witches are girls the warlocks are boys and they are in war because of...well...a curse. they glean each others magic like parasites. but can I just say the whole boys against girls is soooo cliche?

last but not least- there's a chastity vow (on both sides) which gave me the whole "WTF" thought. and I found the plot to be slow, as well as the dialogues and some of the writing to be a little like a list. the banter and the snark and big wanna be but nothing real behind it. And girl doesn't play spy that well, sorry. 

But enough ranting, I'm tired of ranting and that's all I've done till now. with all the ranting the rating might be somewhat surprising. because seems like I didn't like that one, and I guess all in all I didn't. But I'll get to the rating in a little. 

What I did like about this book was that that it seemed like Lily was a good older sister and that Logan wasn't a jerk. So on that side we don't have full formula, and I liked that. 
The idea in itself though not highly original was a good idea, it's just the execution could be better is all. 

Also this is an interactive book which I found to be really interesting and surprising, it didn't save the book much here, but it is a good experience and something many reader will enjoy. :D

as for the rating- I complained about many things, but I could apply these complaints to most YA books in this modern day (especially since Twilight). it is not the book's fault that it follows a trend and a formula that proved to be selling. If I give this book less then 2 stars, which it might be deserving, there are many other books I'll have to give them less too. Also, even though it was formulated it wasn't bad, so I find it to stand in the middle, just like the average. 

I guess what I'm trying to say is this whole thing is formulated and I'm getting tired of it. it is not bad, just not great or different or unique. sad as it is to admit. 

this reading copy was provided to me by the author in R4R program in exchange for an honest review

~Sharon, this review can also be found here

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