Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Spellbinder by Helen Stringer

Spellbinder by Helen Stringer
Copyright 2009
Feiwel and Friends - YA/Paranormal/Fantasy
372 pages

Belladonna can see ghosts, which is rather handy since both of her parents are dead. They're still at home and their daily routine is pretty much the same as it was when they were alive. Then, one day, something dreadful happens. The doors to the other side are closing. Before her parents are sucked away with the rest of the ghosts, they make some cryptic remarks about what's happening. And, then they're gone.

It's up to Belladonna to find out what's going on, not only to save her parents but for the sake of every other trapped ghost. With the help of a classmate named Steve, Belladonna goes in search of some answers.

The storyline of Spellbinder is rather complex -- needlessly complex, in my opinion, but I'm not the average fantasy reader and might be a little biased. Ghosts are responsible for preventing accidents and all sorts of other things in this story. There was a lot I liked about it, but it did seem at times that ghosts have more purpose than living people.

In the end, this story just didn't do much for me. I liked the ending. I liked the fact that it's set in Great Britain and I loved the characters -- particularly Steve and Elsie, an Edwardian ghost. But, I found the book an average read. My teenager is currently reading this book, so I'll let you know if he likes it any better than I did.

3/5 - Average storyline, a bit too complex and often confusing. Great characters were what I enjoyed the most. I wouldn't advise anyone not to read Spellbinder. It just wasn't for me.

My thanks to MacMillan for the review copy.


  1. Bummer! I love the cover art, and I like the idea of the story. Sorry it didn't work so well for you. Looking forward to whatever the kiddo thinks of it, too!

  2. I think that cover is fabulous - sorry to see the book doesn't live up to it.

  3. Ghosts have more purpose than living people? Yikes.

    I have seen a couple of "meh" reviews on this book, so I think I'll give it a miss and focus on other YA fantasy that catches the imagination.

  4. Andi,

    I got an ARC, which came without that hoopty cover, but they sent a bookmark with the same picture and it's really cool. We'll see what Kiddo thinks. He's so tired, this week, he said he plans to go to bed early tonight. Might be a few days before he gets back to it.


    I agree. That's a great cover. My ARC is just black and white. Not so exciting.


    Well, that's how it came off. Ghosts are responsible for this, ghosts take care of that. That bit bugged me a little.

    "Meh" is a good descriptor. I'm somewhat surprised that I finished the book.


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