Spells Trouble by: P.C. and Kristin Cast

Double double, twins spell trouble…

Hunter and Mercy Goode are twin witches, direct descendants of the founder of their town of Goodeville. As their ancestors have done before them, it is now time for the twins to learn what it means to be Gatekeepers-the protectors of the Gates to different underworlds, ancient portals between their world and realms where mythology rules and nightmares come to life.

When their mother becomes the first victim in a string of murders, the devastated sisters vow to avenge her death. But it will take more than magic to rein in the ancient mythological monsters who’ve infected their peaceful town.

Now Hunter and Mercy must come together and accept their destiny or risk being separated for good. “

bookshop.org

***I received this ARC, through NetGalley, from St. Martins Press, in exchange for an honest review. ***

Potential triggers…

  • Blood and gore
  • Death/murder of a parent in front of children
  • Descriptive sexual scene between two minors

Going into this story I really wanted to like it, sadly that didn’t end up being the case. Starting out we meet Sarah Goode, the founder of the Goode family of witches. She’s able to escape her execution, with her young daughter, and find a new place to settle. When she first comes to the area, that her Deity and magic have led her to, she finds its uninhabitable because horrible creatures roam free.

Now, this part seemed a little too “white savior” for me. The native Shamans of the area were unable to vanquish these monsters, who had come through five different Underworld portals (portals that lead to the Greek, Nordic, Japanese, Hindu, and Egyptian Underworlds). Sarah, a witch who just arrived and wants to settle there because of the leylines, just happens to have the knowledge and power to seal the five portals. Personally, I would have loved if the story went with her working closely with the Shaman’s until TOGETHER they found a solution, not just her showing up and solving the problem herself.

We then switch to present time, where Hunter and Mercy Goode, twin witches, are celebrating their sixteenth birthday. The evening of their birthday they go, with their mother, to perform a ritual that will strengthen the seals, on the gates to the Underworlds, as well as have them choose what Deity they plan to follow.

Hunter, who also happens to be queer, has always felt a pull towards Tyr and plans to follow him even though no other Goode witch has ever followed a male God before. During the ritual, there are signs that something is off, and Fenrir ends up appearing and killing the twins’ mother. With her dying breathe, their mother is able to push Fenrir back into his portal and seal it behind him.

The twins now have to not only deal with their grief but find out why the portals aren’t secure and quickly find a way to secure them before horrible creatures are able to escape their underworld prisons and roam free. As they check on each of the portals, which are held by five different trees, they find signs of the trees dying and the horrible smell of sulfur.

There is a very detailed description of a blowjob and fingering in this book…that’s geared to Young Adults and is about girls who just turned sixteen. I’d heard other reviewers before discuss how sexual acts should not be depicted in YA books and until this book I’d never seen a YA with graphicly detailed sexual acts included, sex might have been implied but never detailed. This entire scene had me very uncomfortable and wondering what made the authors think this scene was a good idea?

I understand that plenty of teens experiment with their sexuality and sexual acts, however, that doesn’t mean we need detailed descriptions within books geared towards young readers. There have been YA books that I’ve read where sex is implied but not described…almost a fade-out movie moment…you know what’s about to happen or what just happened but you weren’t a witness to it…which I feel is a much better way to handle sex within the YA genre, if you really feel the need to include it. If a teen is genuinely curious about reading detailed sexual scenes there are plenty of adult romance novels that can be found at bookstores and the library, there is no need to have graphic depictions in YA novels.

Another thing that gives me pause is I feel like they’re setting up Hunter, who happens to be queer, to be a villain. Now, I could easily be wrong about this, the next book could actually throw Mercy in as a villain and Hunter the heroine…this first book just has me very nervous about where they’re going with a queer character.

All that being said, I really wish there weren’t so many elements that gave me pause. Having never read a P.C. or Kristin Cast book before, but having heard countless ravings about their work, I was genuinely excited to finally see what the big deal was about…only to be disappointed.

Published by Noelle Loves Books

Growing up, Japanese and Indigenous, it was hard to find books that showcased stories and worlds that accurately portrayed Noelle’s experiences. Fantasy quickly became her main love, as you could really be anyone, anywhere. As the years went on, and technology grew, Noelle was finally able to see more stories and authors that looked and felt like her. Noelle is open to all genre’s though she can mostly be found reading own voice, fantasy, and romance. Ratings: 5 Stars: Completely blew me away 4 Stars: Loved the story but didn't feel completely blown away by it 3 Stars: Liked the overall concept of the story but either had poor execution, had a lot of plot holes, or was written poorly 2 Stars: I struggled to understand the plot, poorly written, or just had really unlikeable characters along with a poor writing 1 Star: Horribly written, major plot holes, or extremely unlikeable characters and plots.

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