Spellcaster takes place four months after seventeen year old Emma Conner and her soul mate Brendan Salinger broke a curse that had plagued the couple for centuries in Spellbound. Emma has been keeping herself pretty busy by working after school in the library, taking witch classes with her BFF Angelique, Kickboxing classes suggested by Brendan, as well as trying to maintain her grades and studying for the SAT prep.
Emma, though, is clearly having problems adjusting to the fact that she’s a reincarnated witch. Call it witches block if you like where she just can’t seem to get her magic spells to cooperate with her. She is still considered to be an outcast at her school Vincent Academy where the rich kids hang out and belittle those who aren't like them.
Almost immediately the story picks up on the fact that Emma has picked up a stalker who means to harm her and Brendan’s relationship because of the whole soul mater situation. Said stalker goes as far as setting up Brendan for drugs, attacking Emma on a field trip, hurting Emma’s cousin Ashley, and demanding that Emma give her blood to said stalker so that she can pray to her demon god.
Spellcaster centers a lot more on witchcraft than did Spellbound. After being put into one difficult situation after the other, Emma is forced to learn how to deal with her magical abilities and ending her block before those she loves end up badly hurt.
Emma is a much stronger lead character this time around than in Spellbound. She comes out of her shell, and ends up protecting herself and others from malevolent stalkers and school mates who think she’s nothing special. She realizes that she really loves Brendan, but doesn’t need his protection every single minute of the day.
Angelique plays a more important in Spellcaster since she’s pretty much Emma’s only real source of learning how to do witchcraft and protecting herself from the stalker. It’s interesting to see how Shultz decided to do a little mending of fences between Angelique and Brendan when they both realize that Emma doesn’t need to be protected 24/7/365.
I found parts of the dialogue in Spellcaster to be a bit cheesy at times, but then I took a step away from the book and tried to put myself into the shoes of a 14-21 year old teenager who would be reading this book and not an adult who rolls her eyes everytime something silly happens. Ok, yes, I even found humor in different aspects of this story.
The love affair between Emma and Brendan is sweet, and Shultz doesn’t force sex into the equation even though Brendan has had his share of scores over the years and Emma is slowly coming to the realization that she wants to take the next step. It’s nice to be able to follow Emma around without wanting to smack her in the head from being a lame brained idiot.
Overall, for me this was better than the first book. The story made sense, the outcome was as expected but still left enough mysteries not to spoil it for me. Said stalker was pretty much outed at a crucial point in the story, and slowly picked up pace after that. Plus, for me, not having sex in this book really made a lot more sense than forcing the issue on the characters.
Releases March 27, 2012