Friday, March 7, 2014

ARC Review: Steadfast - Claudia Gray

Steadfast by Claudia Gray
Series: Spellcater #2
Genre: YA, paranormal, romance
Published on March 4, 2014
Published by Harper Teen
Pages: 352
Read From: 2.19.14 - 2.22.14

Nadia, Mateo, and Verlaine saved Captive's Sound from the dark Sorceress Elizabeth. . . .or so they thought. Despite their best efforts, a crack opened and a new, greater evil seeped through. With Mateo as her
Steadfast, Nadia's magic is magnified and she is more powerful than ever. But try as she might, she isn't able to break the spell that clings to her best friend, Verlaine. There is still so much Nadia doesn't know about the craft, leaving her open and vulnerable to a darker magic. . . .which has begun to call Nadia's name. 
Something sinister is rising in Captive's Sound, and this time Nadia and her friends might not be able to stop it without losing everything they hold dear.


Cover Blurb: Yes or No? I don't like it as much as the cover art for Spellcaster, because the character impersonator is much more prominent. And I'm not loving the dress as much (not a fan of the sheathe look). Also, that isn't how I picture Verlaine.

Characters: Nadia continues her propensity towards blaming herself for everything that goes wrong . . . . . And it gets close to dangerously old in Steadfast. She doesn't become a senseless, emotional wreck exactly. But she does use her self-blame as an excuse to not ask for help, but to go off on her own. Yeah, it causes problems. Not a ridiculous amount that would have made me dislike Nadia, but enough to be slightly irksome. Nadia is still a good protagonist, but I wish she would lay off on blaming herself all the time. Verlaine I still felt the same way as I did in Spellcaster: she offers some comic relief with her dark sense of humor, but I think that she'll get a little tiring after a while. Mateo continued to be gallant, but not the most memorable male character ever. And Elizabeth continues to threaten and boast, but doesn't really accomplish anything, lessening her intimidation by quite a bit. I really liked Asa, the demon forced to serve Elizabeth and the One Beneath. He was funny in a very dark sort of way, and I couldn't help but feel a little sorry for him as well.

The Romance: Yeah, the romance is upped a bit more in Steadfast. Nadia and Mateo get a bit mushier, and Verlaine has a thing for Asa (the beginnings of something, at least, no doubt to be explored more in a later book). Still, the romance isn't aggravating. It's more present than I would like, but it doesn't take over.

Plot: Nadia, Verlaine, and Mateo thought they defeated Elizabeth on the night of Halloween, saving Captive's Sound from complete destruction. But Elizabeth escaped, and the One Beneath is slowly beginning to rise from his prison underneath Captive's Sound. In order for Mateo's family curse to be broken, and Verlaine's strange enchantment ended, Nadia must defeat Elizabeth. But it isn't as easy as it seems. And when she has a chance to discover why her mom suddenly abandoned her family, Nadia realizes that the only way to defeat Elizabeth may be to join her. But can Nadia do that and not fall into the trap that is enslavement to the One Beneath herself? I don't know what it was about Steadfast, but the creepy factor wasn't as big. And without that creepy factor, it becomes a little less interesting. Oh, I still liked Steadfast; it's a great bridge into Book #3. But out of the two, it's my least favorite. A lot happens in it, but very little of it actually goes anywhere. Elizabeth accomplishes hardly anything, nor does Nadia and her friends, for that matter. There's lots of posturing, failed attempts, and running around - but it doesn't go anywhere. If I didn't feel like this book set everything up for Book #3, I would say that this was a very meandering plot. I could be wrong; there may be no purpose to everything that happens. But it felt like there was. We just don't know what the purpose is yet.

Believability: Not applicable.

Writing Style: Third person, past tense. As in Book #1, the writing is modern, but of course it works, because this is a modern-based story. The creepy ambiance is still there, but not as heavy as in Steadfast.

Content: 1 s-word. Verlaine has two dads, but the Author doesn't cram a gay rights agenda down our throats. In fact, I was confused for a long time, because Verlaine calls them her uncles, but everyone acted like they were in fact a couple, so I wasn't sure if people misconstrued their relationship and Verlaine just called them her dads because they adopted her, or if they were in fact gay. They're gay. But it's not in your face.

Conclusion: It's rather . . . uneventful. Especially compared to Spellcaster. But as a bridge between Book #1 and Book #3, Steadfast worked. It's rather uneventful, but that can be excused if things become more involved in the next book. This series continues to surprise me by how much I enjoy it. I very much look forward to seeing what happens to Nadia, Verlaine, and Mateo next.

Recommended Audience: Girl-read, seventeen-and-up, fans of witch fiction.

Others in This Series:

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