Review: The Book of Spells — Kate Brian

Read: 33
To Go: 67

Book List
31. Mercy — Jodi Picoult
32. Never Let Me Go — Kazuo Ishiguro
33. The Book of Spells — Kate Brian

Acting as a prequel (by a little less than a century) to Kate Brian’s Private series, The Book of Spells follows Eliza Williams, Catherine White, Theresa Billings, and their comrades as they discover a book of spells and learn to use witchcraft. While their spells start out innocent enough — giving their teacher laryngitis, changing the colour and style of a dress,  or giving boils to a boy whose hands wander to far — they’re forced to use their magic for a much more sinister cause, which puts a curse on the lives of the three protagonists and their families for generations to come.

I actually found The Book of Spells to be far more engaging, complex, and surprising than any of the Private books have been to date, and really enjoyed it. It stands quite successfully on its own as a single novel, but also does an excellent job explaining/elaborating on the plot twists in Brian’s current series. I would have liked more of an optimistic ending (at least, one that promised some sort of future for Eliza and the love of her life), but I don’t think it would have been as good if it had concluded any other way.

I was also really impressed with the final plot twist. I mean, having read Ominous, I knew the outcome of the girls’ witchcraft before I’d even read the novel. But reading how the curse was placed on the Williams and the Billings families turned out to be an incredibly intense, climactic scene, which I totally enjoyed.

Even if you think you’ve outgrown YA fiction, and don’t want to commit to the sheer length of the series that this is a prequel to,  The Book of Spells is worth a read just on its own.

Next book: William and Kate: A Royal Love Story — Christopher Andersen (Okay, humour me here — I didn’t buy into the wedding hype, but I’m a sucker for a love story. We’ll see where this takes me.)

– Kelsey


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