Review: Spellbound (Fallen Messengers #2 by Ava Marie Salinger

Rating: 3.5 🌈

Ah, time for that all important second book in a series review. So many questions and weighted hopes hangs on this follow up novel if the author is continuing an overall series arc.

Is there continuity and character growth? Does it flow somehow out from the events of the first book? Does it empower not only the characters but our imagination in the same manner the original launches us into this journey?

Hmmm, with Spellbound, the answers are a bit mixed.

Let’s tackle them one by one.

Plots.

The storyline that takes up the majority of this novel is wonderful. It contains so much depth and emotional layering that I expected. There’s a serious mother/daughter flawed relationship built on lies, love, and a great tragedy. Eden, the daughter is so relatable in her anger, pain, and apparent maternal abandonment. Her rage is both poignant and deeply frightening. We get it. This aspect of the novel, and everything that surrounds Eden is absolutely terrific. With an exception.

Eden is a high school student. At the end of this story, she’s found herself in a serious permanent as in forever relationship. With a ancient being. Now while we are all smacking our heads over that flag, I will say the author has several characters bring up the illegality of that issue as well as the idea that she’s not emotionally ready. Ok good.

But there’s no real resolution. So perhaps that’s to be addressed in upcoming novels but Eden clearly deserves a more defined finish here. She’s a marvelous character and so is this entire element of the arc.

Which brings me to

Series Arc plots .

As best I can tell, Salinger is slowly adding bits of pieces to her overall arc mosaic much like a 1.000 piece table puzzle . You fit a bit in here, several snap in together there. So hopefully, Eden and her new Dryad Prince are part of the huge battle group that will be needed to fight the Evil whoever who is trying to do whatever. Still not a clue. But Salinger’s strengths are in her ingenious storylines and layerings. She knows how to build a suspenseful scene, and then top it off with high action.

However , this didn’t move the overall arc along hugely. Did confirm new information about our main characters though.

That brings us to the aspect of characterization. What I thought worked and, frankly, what I felt didn’t.

Eden’s group and storyline. Those characters were new , including her BFF Lois and her family. All the beings that gravitated around Eden and her drama? They really worked as far as realistic emotional scenes and reactions to her dilemma. Again great job.

But, unfortunately, in what should be solid, continuing .character growth for Cassius and Morgan, our main couple and the series biggest heart as well as mystery? It felt as though we got a stripping off of layers instead of a depth of dimension.

In the first story, we saw the ages of wisdom, the compassion and pain coming through for Cassius. Now he’s a pouty, insecure lovesick being? What happened to the serious character of the other novel? He seems to have vanished, replaced by a boyfriend of Morgan’s. Who occasionally transforms into something cool. Morgan too is undergoing a bit of a metamorphosis, although into what exactly is anyone’s guess. But the gravity of these downright elemental or idk other worldly transformations seems to be missing.

Idk maybe they should actually stop having sex for a mo’ and figure out if this pertains to their missing memories, and maybe even the bad guy! Good grief.

Definitely not the same beings I liked in book one. They need to regain their gravitas, their focus, and personalities.

Almost missing main character. You all know how I feel about this. Here it’s Loki the magical cat, a main player in book one and the series arc. He lives with Cassius now. When do we see and here about him here? When the book is about 74% complete. Then Loki is mentioned as part of the growing mystery so , yes, he has to be trotted out in one scene so everyone sees he’s still around. That’s it. Done. He disappears again back into the apartment not to be mentioned again. It fed or whatever. So Loki could have starved because he’s not seen or mentioned even when they are back in the apartment. A huge change from book one when he’s a constant presence, weaving catlike around the feet or in their laps. SMH. Continuity and consistency!

All of which finally brings me to my last bit of griping. Since I had time to notice all the above, then the issues I had with the repetition of adjectives and certain author’s fondness of terms definitely continues on here.

Pls, someone either tell her about how to find and replace a word within a document, Thesauruses our old friend , (and edit) or point a great editor her way.

We are back to muscles jumping in every character’s face and often. Adrianne is saying things “leadenly”again. I pity poor Adrianne. No sex and the worst lines. A couple of female characters always “smile softly “.

There’s also a lot of “she___fill in the name___snarled,” “so and so hissed”,

Lots of hissing and no they aren’t snake shifters.

Also “growling “. Cedric growled. But it could have been and usually is another.

Plus a host of clenched whatever… jaw, fist… whatever can be clenched.

You get the idea. Salinger once she uses a word or term in a certain manner, it stays used. To the detriment of the story. And the reader’s, at least this reader’s concentration.

And that’s a shame, because the plots? Both one the book and overall series arc scale are imaginative and layered. They have grabbed my attention and the potential for a really great series shows everywhere….

But there’s some definite tidying up to be done. Both in the major characters personalities and language. I look forward to see what book three brings.

High marks mostly for Eden and her journey.

Fallen Messenger series:

Unbound #0.5

Fractured Souls #1

Spellbound #2

Edge Lines #3

Oathbreaker #4

Synopsis:

Can Cassius and Morgan overcome an elusive enemy and save a young girl’s life?

Eden Monroe has spent her entire existence believing she has no magic. Shunned by her mother Brianna and the magical bureau Hexa, she runs away from home when she is forced to embrace a future she never chose, only to fall into the hands of ghastly monsters from the Nine Hells. After being rescued by a mysterious Dryad with secrets of his own, Eden realizes there is more to her past and future than she could ever have imagined.

When San Francisco PD asks Argonaut to assist them in solving a series of strange bank robberies, Cassius Black and Morgan King uncover a disturbing plot that points to an unknown artifact hidden somewhere in the city. Their investigation soon has them crossing paths with a desperate Brianna, who seeks their help in finding her missing daughter. When the witch reveals the shocking circumstances surrounding her daughter’s birth as well as the deadly magic sealed inside the young girl’s body, the Argonaut agents realize their case is linked to Eden and the weapon of devastating power the bank robbers are after.

Can Cassius and Morgan defeat the malevolent organization behind it all and save Eden from her cursed fate? Or will the young girl suffer a destiny worse than death itself?

Spellbound is the second novel in the gay urban fantasy romance series Fallen Messengers. If you like your paranormal adventures full of action, magic, snark, and a host of steamy angels and demons, then you’re not going to want to miss this jaw-dropping, fun-filled ride!

Spellbound

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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