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Shadow Spell (Cousins O'Dwyer) Paperback – Deckle Edge, March 25, 2014
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“America’s favorite writer.”—The New Yorker
“When it comes to true romance, no one does it better than Nora.”—Booklist (starred review)
- Item Weight : 11.4 ounces
- Paperback : 352 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0425259862
- ISBN-13 : 978-0425259863
- Product Dimensions : 5.6 x 0.87 x 8.26 inches
- Publisher : Berkley (March 25, 2014)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #44,123 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Connor is more developed in this book; his strengths and his flaws both stand out in sharper relief. On the surface, he’s a friendly, cheerful, gregarious man who prefers to focus on the pleasures of today, but underneath he’s just as serious and committed as Branna (if less conflicted.) He’s also one of Fin’s staunchest friends and allies, defending his presence in the circle even in the face of Branna’s resistance, yet never losing compassion for what it costs Branna to trust Fin and have him near. I think that endeared him to me more than anything else. Connor is one of those lovely Irish men blessed with both looks and charm, but it’s his interactions with Eamon, with and about Fin, and above all with Meara that make my heart melt. I’m also fascinated by the hawks, and Connor’s relationship to them.
In 'Dark Witch', Meara comes across as strong, fearless, a loyal and lifelong friend to the others in the circle, and accepting of Iona’s intrusion into it; we don’t see anything of her flaws. She’s a singer and a wicked swordswoman; one aspect I can relate to, the other I half-envy. Like Boyle in the last book, Meara is not a witch, but accepts and believes in her friends’ powers and insists on playing her part in the circle. But she’s full of hidden vulnerabilities and fears, all centered around family and love – particularly romantic love. Those feelings come to the fore in 'Shadow Spell', along with her attraction to Connor, which leads to some tension between them – and no little danger as well.
The romance in these books is only half the story, of course. In 'Shadow Spell' we see and learn more of the original three, the ancestors of Branna, Connor, and Iona: Brannaugh, Eamon, and Teagan. Cabhan, the black sorcerer, is back after his quasi-defeat and gaining strength again, testing the circle’s weaknesses and focusing this time on Eamon, Connor, and Meara. The danger and tension escalate, and there are several close calls to keep things suspenseful. Fin proves his loyalty time and again; Iona’s clear sight and unflinching honesty help hold the group together, Branna’s skill at both witchcraft and cooking are much in evidence, and only Boyle seems a little on the sidelines. The relationships between all six characters – friendship and love, loyalty and commitment – lie at the foundation of the whole trilogy, and are its and the characters’ deepest strength.
I love the way these books blend magic, Irish myth, contemporary rural Irish life, and romance. I can hardly wait for the third book – the climax of the fight to destroy Cabhan, and the resolution of the strained relationship between Fin and Branna. It’s due out Oct. 28.
REVIEW ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED on The Bookwyrm's Hoard blog
I was looking forward to seeing how he and Meara would fall in love because I didn't get any love/lust vibes from them in the first book but in the end, I felt their "realizing they're in love" in here was unbelievable. Or perhaps it was their lack of chemistry. I could see them as friends but not as more. Especially when it came to Branna; and speaking about her, I always liked her but there was a moment where she annoyed the hell out of me when she stepped into TSTL territory. She was the last person I expected do something so careless and stupid and I almost stopped reading because of her.
The second book was a let down compared to the first book. I liked the new aspects of the present and past story combining when it came to the dreams. I liked the six of them together. I liked seeing more of Iona and Boyle, and what's to come with Branna and Fin, but overall, it was a boring second part.
Top reviews from other countries
Beautifully written, I especially love how she writes about the Irish countryside and weather... and when she describes the meals they prepare and share as a circle, my belly rumbles! She weaves the story as if your right there with them.
Wonderful! I’m off to start on book three now! I’ll be sad to finish the last book.
The modern day people have a strange mix of misspelt Irish names and Americanised names like Boyle.
Maybe in future Irish novels she might consider getting help from an actual Irish person.
I can understand some of the gripes people have with this book but i personally found it an easy read which i was able to immerse myself in and i can't ask for more than that. It's not one of Nora Roberts' best books but it contains the elements of her work that you'd expect to find and make the book fun to read.
If you aren't expecting a completely original and spectacular work of art but rather an engaging and well written story then i see no reason why you too wouldn't enjoy this.