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Spellbent by Lucy A. Snyder
Cover Artist: Don Dos Santos
Review by Gayle Surrette
Del Rey Mass Market Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780345512093
Date: 29 December 2009 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Jessie Shimmer started out learning about magic and her powers, but along the way managed to fall in love with her instructor, Cooper Marron. Now, they are independents working occasional jobs that require their special skills. It's during a spell to break a drought by calling down rain, a portal opens and pulls Cooper out of the world while releasing a vicious monster. Jessie finds herself alone, trying to cope with stopping a monster and Cooper's familiar which seems to have gone on a rampage, while coming to grips with her own familiar who suddenly manifested in the midst of the panic.

The local magic council seals off the area. Before they do Jessie manages to defeat the monster. But that's when she finds out that something is very, very wrong on the local council. No one wants to help her find Cooper and her friends are threatened until they don't dare offer any help or comfort.

Jessie is alone. Her only companion is her ferret familiar, Palimpsest. Together, they need to avoid capture by the council, find Cooper and free him, and then get their lives back. To achieve these goals, Jessie must go back into Cooper's past and see if she can find connection to the present.

Once you start the book, there is hardly a break in the action. Jessie is being hounded on all sides. She's untrained, but fast on her feet and she has a good heart. She's afraid, but but her loyalty and love will not allow her to abandon Cooper.

Plan to read in one sitting, because it's difficult to put it down without continually wondering what will happen next. Snyder has enough twists, double-crosses, and misdirections to keep any reader on their proverbial toes. There are scenes that will turn your stomach, others that will bring tears to your eyes, and more that will make you burn with anger against injustice and greed for power.

While entertaining, Spellbent also deals with some issues that go far beyond the current story and connect with those news items that most of us prefer to pass by rather than read -- knowing that it will only upset us. However, Snyder also offers hope that most people are good and will do the right thing just because it is the right thing.

How does it end? Not in any way that you've probably come to expect. So, read it yourself.

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