Review: The Trials (The Spell Saga Book 4) by Cari Z

Rating: 4 🌈

The Trials is the fourth and looks to be the final story in Cari Z’s Spell Saga series. The author’s note sort of leaves it open as to whether we will return to this universe and couple or not.

So I’m treating it as a finale. And that comes with additional expectations. The Tank, the previous book, showed us different characters, a unique location, and deepened the histories and dynamics between the people involved. But in some respects it restricted it’s narrative down to further explore on a different, more detailed front what was happening with the war, magic, and our characters.

Here we get to see the consequences of those actions and decisions in The Trials. The Trials refers to the magical spell weapon Anton Seiber promised to deliver, under threat, to the Emperor of France. A spell not even his lover, Imperial Investigator Camille Lumière, wanted to see in their hands.

The Institute, that locked down tight magical fortress, is the main location once more, albeit more research prison than educational institution.

Where this story absolutely excels is in the tormented status of Anton Seiber, the horrifying reasons behind it, and the new dynamics it forces into the relationship between Anton and Camille.

The author’s creativity when crafting both the new spell and it’s effects upon others, Anton included, are so terrifying because it’s the readers imaginations that fill in all the horrors and unimaginable emotions that the spell initiates. Then we see what is doing to Anton, someone we’ve come to connect with, and the spell becomes vile beyond belief.

When Anton and Camille, and the spell are at center, the story is incredible.

However, for one that’s a finale, other aspects seem lackluster, rushed, or just one dimensional.

The entire element with the old and new emperor is lacking any grounding here. The actions of various characters (important ones) seem oddly flexible considering it’s war, the fact that the Lord in question is acting beyond rational thought into obsession about the magical weaponry and it’s devastating effects. Dr. Grabler, in particular, goes from one stance in The Tank, to another where his prize former student/friend is almost expendable without any foundation laid out for any of the elements here. These haphazard storylines (magical corruption, major characters who sort of disappear at the end, rushed exposition in the epilogue) all works against the finely crafted parts of the series and main storyline. That of Anton and Camille’s romance and history.

It all feels just so unfinished. Not at all what a finale book should be.

It was exciting, truly excellent in sections, and absolutely entertaining.

For that I’m definitely recommending The Spell Saga series and this novel.

The Spell Saga series:

✓ The Train #1

✓ The Tower #2

✓ The Tank #3

✓ The Trials #4

Amazon › Trials-S…The Trials: The Spell Saga: Book Four – Kindle edition by Z, Cari. Romance Kindle eBooks …


All Anton Seiber, newly-minted Master Thaumaturge, wants is to use his training to support himself out in the world. Well, that and to see the man he loves, Imperial Investigator Camille Lumière, more than once every six months.

What he gets instead is an invitation to visit L’Institut D’Ingénierie Technologique in Paris, the foremost research institution for thaumaturgy and the arts of war in the world. It’s an offer he can’t turn down…quite literally.

Getting to the Institute is a mess that Anton barely survives, and that’s just the beginning of his troubles. Drawn into a web of lies and betrayals, Anton will have to use every trick he can conjure to survive—and perhaps hand over the most diabolical spell in the world in exchange for saving the life of someone he loves.


Unless it’s noted, all books reviewed have been purchased by the reviewer.

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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