I received this book for free from my own shelves in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Spellbound and Hellhounds by Nia Rose
Genres: Paranormal Fantasy, YA
Published by Poisoned Apple Publishing LLC on April 4, 2019
Source: my own shelves
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First in the Coven Chronicles paranormal fantasy series for young adult readers and revolving around Vanessa and Bobo and Leon and Lyx.
Spellbound and Hellhounds is a blend of action and character with a reasonable pace, creating an interesting world with Rose using third person protagonist point-of-view from Vanessa’s perspective, as everything we know and experience is through her eyes. It’s too bad that the poor editing and proofreading were so distracting.
Vanessa makes me nuts. She’s such a snot in how she treats people. She’s also one of those characters who thinks she knows everything, and yet she betrays herself too consistently. Bobo, now Bobo I love. He’s so snarky in such a polite way, lol, and so very loyal.
I have to wonder why Vanessa and Bobo were sent out on this assignment, if it was all a cover-up. Vanessa is known to be trouble, so why would they take this kind of chance? It is interesting that Vanessa wants to not be noticed, and yet she’s always pushing the envelope. She does mean well, but she does not think.
There is so much that goes unexplained. Celestial? Some of those spells (or raw materials?) Vanessa uses. The Coven appears to be both rewarding and yet mean — Vanessa certainly seems to live well for her status in the Coven. Raen has its own mythical creation story involving elves who also taught their creations how to control and use magic. So we get at least a bit of background, even though I still don’t know if Raen is the planet, a continent, or ???
I did not care for the term “pet”. I never got the impression that either Bobo or Lyx were “pets” as I would define a pet. Slaves maybe. I did appreciate Lyx’s comment about the demons below not being aware of what they were missing. At least they’re getting something out of this “partnership”.
It did take me awhile to realize that Lyx really does like Bobo. It didn’t take nearly as long to realize that Leon likes Vanessa, and that Vanessa is totally clueless about who likes who. As for Dr Snow’s imps, they are a crack-up.
The prose was a nightmare. I don’t normally list all the errors I find unless they are so egregious. The word confusions alone were enough to drive me mad: reigns, rot-iron fencing, the proper use of the subjunctive mood, isles, birth, or when it should have been nor, peddled, quitted, less, ran should have been run, snuggly (really?), wizzes (uh-huh), you’d want to talk about should read you’d want to talk to, sight, pallet, ridged, your.
Learn the difference between the possessive and the plural! While you’re at it, learn about parallel construction and formatting dialogue. “The Mystery of the Comma and the Vocative Case” is pretty straightforward, and I do wish more writers paid attention. Please pay attention when using a present participial phrase that modifies the subject before it: “She started to stand still looking at her hands”. In a more general sense, one should also pay attention to subject-verb agreement.
“The home” is something you say about an orphanage, a realtor says about a house up for sale. It’s not something you say about your own home. “Her home”, “home”, “the house” would be more appropriate. I really don’t think Rose meant to use “revered as the usual demon”. It is typical of the many sentences that I had to read and re-read to figure out what Rose is talking about.
Nor does the “reason” for the betrayal make any sense. Oh, it is typical of idiots who feel as if they’re less, but their ignorant argument for getting rid of the “trash” makes even less sense than the usual reasons for wanting to rid the world of others who don’t “measure up”.
Yep, it does end with a cliffhanger, and while I’d love to know what happens next, I can’t take how badly proofread/edited Spellbound and Hellhounds is, as I expect the same threat from Secrets of the Sanctuary. Although, it is written by a different author.
It was a routine assignment to check on an explosion at a respected magic academy.
It was not routine, for traitors abound . . .
The orphaned Vanessa Peterson is a troublesome third year Hunter itching to become a Spellweaver. Botobolbilian “Bobo” is the demon partner/ogre she summoned who hates the nickname Vanessa has bestowed on him. Bobo is also the product of a mis-aimed spell that renders him very intelligent and well mannered.
The rule-following Leon Zvěrokruh is a well-known Coven member and a Spellweaver. Lyx, a succubus enamored of Bobo, is Leon’s summoned partner. Lyx calls Bobo “BooBoo”.
Tolvade is . . .
. . . the capital city of Aeristria. On the planet Raen?? The Coven is the police force and government of the whole planet?? The High Priest Council, a.k.a. blue cloaks, are the directors of the Coven: six males, six females, and a Celestial. More specifically, Rose mentions Ronan, Mia, Dmitri, Isolde, and Torro McTaggart as blue cloaks. Dr Savanna Snow is the Coven’s infirmary doctor with her seven red imps: Faith, Hope, Charity, Fortitude, Justice, Prudence, and Temperance. Summoners are a step above Spellweavers. The Second Chosen are potential blue cloaks. Ell is a low-powered witch who appears to be reception and file clerk. Riker is notorious for separating out his personal feelings from his professional ones and adhering strictly to Coven laws.
Runerite is the largest academy of wizardry and the arcane, teaching magic and basic apothecary training. Tinker Bell’s Spirit seems to be a simple spell or the dust used to create a spell. A Rip Van Winkle curse is neutral magic. With good intentions, neutral magic is gray with an aura of white; with bad intentions it becomes black magic.
Mundane Magic is a transportation service. Some of the shops include the Grim Bean, a favorite coffee shop; Apothecary Herbs and Beyond; Tarot & Fortune Telling Works; Crystal Ball Emporium; Old man Wit’ticker runs Spellvana, a magic dust shop; Merlin’s is a pricy restaurant; and, The Dragon’s Tale is Bobo’s favorite book shop. Darion Black was the famous epic poet who wrote about the elven wars. Mrs Garrett is one of Vanessa’s neighbors. John (the new guy) and Raymond are the men working the flat (elevator) in Vanessa’s building.
Clipped by Magic is the best beauty shop in town, and it’s run by pixies — who can read your mind, knowing exactly what style you want. Cressi agrees to spin in a chair. Nym is one of the shop’s owners. Bidelia also works there and is a snitch. Tasgall, the daughter of a blue cloak, runs Tasgall’s Tavern which offers drinks half off to Coven members. Good thing as she and her staff (Me’Glach and O’Glach) will be sure to slip you extra drinks to encourage tongue flapping. Tasgall appears to be friends with Vanessa. Hurro is a centaur. Felic’ma is a troll.
Leslie Templeton is an imp and a butter-fingered pickpocket who knows a lot. Gremlins speak Gremlic, which almost no one understands…except imps. Minotaurs, sphinxes, gorgons, and nagas are scroll-summoned guardians who are given a task. Hellhounds are the worst, traveling in packs, and using hellfire.
The Cover and Title
The cover is heated with the red-orange flames on the left gradating into blackness on the right. It’s a large gold coin with a phoenix on it, its wings spread. Above the coin is the yellow and orange flaming title in a slightly gothic font. At the top of the coin is the series information in a black-shadowed yellow. Below the coin is the author’s name in a black to gray gradient.
The title is about one of the last actions and the more immediate enemy in Spellbound and Hellhounds.