A Free Dreamer Review: The Killing Spell by Shane Ulrrein

Rating: 2 stars out of 5

Edward Peach is a fourteen-year-old wizard who receives a letter that he has been accepted into the prestigious Prymoutekhny Wizards Academy for Boys, in the faraway land of Aradia. His parents are overjoyed, but he feels reluctant to leave his family, friends, and his comfy cottage in the English coastal village of Manley. As term begins, Edward adjusts to life in his new school, dealing with bullies, strict teachers, and challenging wizardry classes. He is almost ready to give up when he falls in love with a charismatic, privileged boy-and talented wizard-named Mr. Andreas. Prymoutekhny is a school that has still not opened up to same-sex attraction, so he must keep his feelings secret. Soon, Edward and the impressive boy realize their deep attraction for each other. This causes immediate controversy in the school, as they are the first two boys from feuding houses to come together-especially in a school where house rivalry can end in murder.He is then put to the ultimate test as he must risk being with the boy he loves even at the cost of his own life!

The tagline for “The Killing Spell” mentioned that this was a great book for fans of “Carry On” by Rainbow Rowell.  Since I absolutely love “Carry On”, I just had to have “The Killing Spell” and naturally also had extremely high expectations. Sadly, I was extremely disappointed.

The story is told from Edward’s POV. The emphasis being on told. There’s so much telling and essentially no showing. I was bored after only a couple of pages and started skimming after a short while. It all seems very detached. There is next to no dialogue in the entire book. It was mostly Edward telling us what people said and summing up entire conversations, without any direct dialogue.

The language seemed clunky and somehow didn’t fit the setting. The protagonist is a 14-year-old boy who seems to live in the 21st century and yet his way of speaking seemed weirdly old-fashioned.

I didn’t like Edward at all. He is moods gave me whiplash and he’s constantly moody and annoyed. He goes from lusting after Mr. Andreas to being madly in love to suddenly wishing him dead, all in the span of a few weeks. He also seems to be constantly lusting after boys and has to comment on everybody’s appearance.

Mr.  Andreas is an enigma. We don’t learn much about him and Edward doesn’t seem to be all that interested in his boyfriend’s life either. And it’s just plain weird that he calls him “Mr. Andreas”. There’s apparently a curse associated with his first name. Okay, fine, but then why insist on the “Mr.”? Just “Andreas” would have been perfectly fine, or maybe some sort of nickname. No 14-year-old calls his boyfriend “Mister”. It gave me weird pedophile vibes, even though they’re the same age.

The school itself was extremely old-fashioned. There are very strict rules and structures that nobody dares to challenge. First years are literally used as slaves by their seniors. Malicious pranks and death threats seem to be the norm. How is it possible that nobody ever did anything against that? This is the 21st century!

Because there’s so much telling, I felt very detached from the plot. It doesn’t help that there are very few details on anything.

On top of everything else, the editing seemed sloppy. Even though I skimmed large parts of the book, I still noticed quite a few spelling mistakes and the tenses sometimes seemed messed up.

To sum it up, I didn’t like “The Killing Spell”. The blurb is the best part of the entire story. I guess it had potential, so I’m giving this a generous two stars.

The cover, unlike the book, is really cool.

Buy Links

Deep Hearts YA  | Amazon US  |  Amazon UK  |  Barnes and Noble

Book details:

Kindle Edition, 236 pages

Published July 9th 2019 by Deep Hearts YA

By Scattered Thoughts

At over 50, I am ruled by my terriers, my gardens, and my projects. A knack for grubbing about in the woods, making mud pies, and tending to the injured worms, bugs, and occasional bird and turtle growing up eventually led me to working for the Parks. I was a park Naturalist for over 20 years, and observing Nature and her cycles still occupy my hours. From the arrival of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in the Spring to the first call of the Snow Geese heading south in the Fall, I am entranced by the seasons. For more about me see my bio on my blog.

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