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Spellbent Mass Market Paperback – December 29, 2009

42 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Jessie Shimmer Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Snyder combines the best of Jim Butcher and T.A. Pratt in this wildly imaginative and intensely gripping urban fantasy trilogy launch. When an innocent spell somehow opens a portal to Hell, young mage Jessie Shimmer manages to kill the demon about to stomp on downtown Columbus, Ohio, but she loses an eye, a hand, and her lover and mentor, Cooper. Benedict Jordan, ruling mage for the area, forbids any attempts to find Cooper, who may still be alive in Hell, and strips Jessie of her resources. With little more than her ferret familiar, her magic, and the help of Cooper's smart-ass half-brother, Jessie must rescue Cooper and uncover Benedict's motives. Threads of romance, horror, action, and humor weave throughout, serving as the perfect backdrop against which memorable characters and a unique system of magic can shine. (Jan.)
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From Booklist

Snyder’s debut is the first in a new urban-fantasy series starring twentysomething Jessie, an apprentice witch, and her wizard tutor and lover, Cooper. Both Jessie and Cooper have animal-shaped familiars (demons in disguise) to assist with their magic. All hell breaks loose when Jessie and Cooper start a rain spell in the city park, and a reality-shifting portal arrives along with the storm. Jessie barely survives the mayhem and soon finds herself on the outs with the local magic community after she insists on hunting down and rescuing Cooper. This fast-paced urban fantasy has a few twists that make it stand out from the pack. Yes, the plot moves quickly, but that doesn’t stop Snyder from developing her characters and building her world. Fans of Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan series should be pleased with Jessie, another butt-kicking female witch who doesn’t let anyone tell her what to do. --Jessica Moyer

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey; Original edition (December 29, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 034551209X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345512093
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,305,487 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Lucy A. Snyder is the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of several books:

* Spellbent
* Shotgun Sorceress
* Switchblade Goddess
* While The Black Stars Burn
* Soft Apocalypses
* Orchid Carousals
* Sparks and Shadows
* Chimeric Machines
* Installing Linux on a Dead Badger
* Shooting Yourself in the Head For Fun and Profit: A Writer's Survival Guide

Her writing has been translated into French, Russian, Italian, Czech, and Japanese editions and has appeared in publications such as Apex Magazine, Nightmare Magazine, Pseudopod, Strange Horizons, Weird Tales, Steampunk World, In the Court of the Yellow King, Qualia Nous, Chiral Mad 2, and Best Horror of the Year, Vol. 5.

She lives in Ohio and is a mentor in Seton Hill University's MFA program in Writing Popular Fiction. You can follow her on Twitter at @LucyASnyder.

You can learn more at her website:

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 45 people found the following review helpful By hwm on February 23, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Most of the time I find good, objective reasons for liking or not liking a book. SPELLBENT didn't oblige me. Objectively there's nothing wrong with style, characters and setting. This might be Lucy A. Snyder's first major novel, but she's been a short story writer for a long time and she knows what she's doing.
My problem lies with the heroine of the book. I just don't get her. And I don't like her much either.
Jessie lives in an unhealthy relationship with her former teacher Cooper. He facilitates her emotional and material dependency, isolates her and hinders her development. Law is a flexible thing to them and the bottom of society is where they want to be. I don't know if Cooper does these things deliberately to Jessie or not. However, if you try to come up with something positive to say about a character and the only thing coming to mind is "At least he doesn't beat her", it doesn't bode well. The worst thing about this situation is, that Jessie begins to see those things, but doesn't deem them important enough and lets them drop.

When Cooper accidentally opens a door to a hell, gets pulled in and a demon escapes, Jessie is the only one who can save her boyfriend. Authorities don't want her to go after him and when she refuses to cooperate declare her anathema. No one in the magical community is allowed to help Jessie, but her newly awakened familiar Palimpsest proves to be quite the wicked one.

I understand why Jessie wants to save her boyfriend. I can't see how a nearly dead person with no resources, no help, no plan thinks she can do the impossible, though. See, while fighting the demon Jesse got hurt. Badly. She lost an arm (it's a green pus oozing mess), an eye (filled by a ping-pong ball), got poisoned and suffered other severe injuries.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Muffie79 on January 3, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Jessica Shimmer is my kind of hero! If you're a fan of urban fantasy, you're going to love Spellbent. It's got magic, sex, a butt-kicking hero, and a plot that made me read the whole thing in one breathless, page-flipping sitting. If you're sick of the same old, same old in the genre, you're going to love it even more. Jessie solves problems using her brawn, both magical and physical, not her feminine allure. She's snarky, witty, and far from perfect. I love her!

And I love the magical world Snyder has built. It's authentic, dimensional, convincing, and full of surprises. (Wait until you find out what Jessie does to Mikey!) From the very first pages, you believe in this universe. World building is the hardest part of the fantasy writer's job, and Lucy A. Snyder does the work with a master's touch. Jessie Shimmer is so real and likeable I wanted to call her up and ask her to meet me for coffee. The other characters, from Jessie's familiar ferret, Pal, to the other magic workers live and breathe right there on the page.

Spellbent is a hoot, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. It made me laugh, and I really cared what happened to the characters. Snyder has a keen touch for dialogue and for bringing a distinct voice to each of her people. And ferrets. It's hard to believe this is a first novel. But anyone familiar with Snyder's work knows her gifts as a wordsmith, so it's not completely surprising.

I can't wait to read the rest of the books in the series and find out what happens to Jessie, Cooper, and the other folks. Snyder did an excellent job of bring closure to this first novel, and in setting up the situation for the sequels.

Buy this book, go someplace where nobody will interrupt you, and prepare to get down. Don't start it right before you're supposed to go to sleep, because you'll be up until you finish it. Who knew Columbus, Ohio, could be so much fun? Five stars, all the way.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Kelly (Fantasy Literature) VINE VOICE on February 5, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It's just a routine rain spell. Jessie and her teacher and lover, Cooper, head to the city park to call up a storm and make a few bucks. But something goes horribly wrong. By the end of the night, Cooper has been sucked away into a Hell realm, and Jessie has suffered devastating injuries.

Then, things get *worse*. Benedict Jordan, the leader of the city's magicians, gives Jessie a choice: either she agrees not to rescue Cooper, or else she becomes anathema. Jessie is definitely not the kind of girl who'll leave her boyfriend to rot in Hell, so she chooses anathema. Jordan proceeds to ruin her life and leave her with nothing. Nothing, that is, except her never-give-up attitude and Palimpsest, an uptight ferret familiar who is described as having the voice of a Canadian librarian. (Not knowing any Canadian librarians, my brain has substituted an unholy cross between Rupert Giles' voice and C-3PO's.) Pal provides much of the comic relief in Spellbent.

Together, Jessie and Pal do everything within their power, first to survive, then to save Cooper. Jessie's tenacity and resourcefulness make every step of her journey compelling. Jessie could be forgiven for wallowing in angst, given what happens to her, but she doesn't. She never stops moving toward her goals. I read Spellbent in a single afternoon and evening, unable to tear myself away. I had to know what happened next!

It's a good book even before we get to Hell, and then it's the Hell scenes that really blew me away. I was expecting the usual flames and pitchforks, but Snyder doesn't go that conventional route. Cooper's Hell is an intensely personal one. And wow, is it dark. I think my jaw was on the floor when Jessie (and I) learned about the horrific events that lay at the root of the entire plot.
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