Ten years have passed since the events of Spellwright and now the story picks up again in Spellbound with a new primary character: Francesca. She’s a cleric, a skilled healer, and presents herself as ordinary and forthright. Of course, her problems start when a woman dies on her table.
Then comes back to life.
Yes, it’s the return of Dierdre, the avatar from last book and she sets the plot of Spellbound in motion with a whirlwind of events. Nicodemus and Shannon also return, and we meet some interesting side characters as well as some plot-relevant new and returning characters. Such as Nicodemus’ infamous half-sister.
What to say about this book without spoiling it? It’s a rush from start to finish, though there is one point where I still have trouble figuring out where they were. They were leaving the city of Avel and approaching another and I don’t even know. Is it that important? Maybe, but I always get too caught up in the action to care that much, even if there is a map at the front which can theoretically help me out.
Not only does Spellbound continue the dyslexia discussion (though it’s no longer the focus as it was in Spellwright), it adds in a touch on synesthesia. For those who don’t know (and are too lazy to look up the word), synesthesia is when a person perceives one sense with another. Hearing color, seeing taste, smelling sound, etc. It’s a condition that pops up in fantasy now and again, though not usually as a primary focus. That’s not to say it can’t be a key element of a story, as I do have a short story somewhere around here in which it is just that.
In Spellbound, synesthesia seems to be Blake Charlton saying “look, just because I went all-out with the dyslexia last time doesn’t mean that should be the only thing you think of when you think of my books. There’s other so-called disabilities out there!” No offense to the author, but I will always think of this series as being about a dyslexic mage. It’s simply a good way to differentiate it from the rest of my collection.
Part of what makes certain aspects of the climax difficult to follow is the fact of the dragon. There was a dragon last book and it breathed fire, but apparently that’s barely the surface of what a dragon is. Dragons are, to my understanding, forces of inherent change. How they make these changes I don’t (yet) know, but they are very powerful. I hope that there will be further explanation next book.
Now, I’d been toying with the idea of rereading these books for a few weeks now, but last week I decided to check and see if a third existed. To my surprise, it did, but not yet in paperback. The next search was my library’s catalog…and the book was on shelf. Since it’s old enough to not be in the “new” section and not an especially popular series from what I’ve seen, I opted to not put it on hold and just go pick it up Saturday morning. Needless to say, I had no trouble getting the book. I also grabbed the only Robin McKinley book on shelf because Robin McKinley, so that’ll be in my lineup soon enough.
As it’s now May, that means I got an email from Book of the Month with the new month’s selections. I was somewhat tempted to get Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood because the characters sound utterly insane…but I’m not sure if it’s all insanity that I’d enjoy. So I’m skipping this month. I do have two more books left to get with the subscription, and I’m thinking of renewing it when the time comes. True, not all the books have been good. Also true that most of the books they offer simply don’t appeal to me. However, because I do have the option of skipping months entirely (and therefore extending my subscription one month for each skipped), I think it’s a good setup. More importantly, it’s been getting me to read books that I’d normally never pick up. Since I know well how I tend to pidgeonhole myself, I think that’s a good thing. Plus, it means that I will continue to have new books to discuss on this blog that aren’t just “new book in ongoing series” or “new book by favorite author.”
In other news, I finally got the last shelf for my library. This one needed to be built rather than installed, as I wanted it under the window. Convenient storage for the plants, you know. I did some rearranging and put most of the kids books in the new shelf, as well as some of the very tall books that didn’t fit too well elsewhere. I’ll probably do some more reorganizing a bit later (aside from adding in newly purchased books), but that’ll likely be when I have a free weekend and a lot of boredom.
Here you can see not only the new shelf and most of one wall, but the lamp purchased specifically for this room. What you can’t see is that I have essentially three empty shelves on the two walls, plus most of an older bookcase on the wall facing the window. That older bookcase holds, among other things, my comics and to-read Pile. I haven’t completely decided yet, but I suspect the Pile will remain where it is for years to come, until I actually run out of shelving space. Then it’ll probably end up stacked on its side by the window.
And yes, those are pillows of CS4 icons for Photoshop and Dreamweaver. The internet is a wonderful thing.