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Review: Under a Spell by Hannah Jayne

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Under a Spell
Author: Hannah Jayne
Reviewer: Gikany and Una
Rating: B, 3 Stars


What we’re Talking About:


Under A Spell is the fifth book in the Underworld Detection Agency series.  Sophie is out to uncover a deadly coven and hopefully save a missing teen – by going back to her own personal hell, high school.  It is blatantly clear that the worse part of Sophie’s childhood was high school, and she has absolutely no desire to ever revisit that portion of her life again.

First, we liked the last book, Under The Gun, even though we had jumped into the series with that novel.  We must stress again, to better enjoy this series, please start from the beginning.  Gikany and Una haven’t yet been able to go back and read the previous novels.  Because of this, we feel we are not as invested in the characters and are feeling a little lost to the references to previous occurrences.  There are numerous times that Sophie makes references to previous events that continue to be lost on us, although they continue to encourage us to go back and read the earlier titles.

As we were reading Under A Spell, we kept comparing it to the previous novel.  It has some of the same cultural references and humor that we enjoyed.  Sophie has a unique personality and we enjoy her banter and current cultural references.  The first part of the book shows Sophie having an anxiety attack over returning to her high school, albeit as a substitute teacher.  It felt over-played, and we started interpreting her fears and anxiety as more of whining that she expected to be treated as she had in high school.  This seemed just a tad ridiculous to us.  She is going back as a teacher… why would she be treated as the pariah outcast student as she once was?  Once Sophie finally put on her big girl panties (at least the ones she could find…) we had the Sophie we enjoyed from the previous novel once again.  Something else that we wondered (that may be explained in previous novels) is how someone that is 100% human possibly related to Satan.  Also, how could spells affect someone whose sole reason for working for the Underworld Detection Agency is the fact that she is immune to magic?  This was never really explained.

The continuing of the love triangle between Sophie, Will and Alex seemed to change a bit drastically in Under A Spell.  Alex has abruptly cut off Sophie and as he is on one side of the investigation (the mundane portion), Sophie is teamed up with Will for the paranormal portion.  The tension and pull between Will and Sophie certainly heat up but she continues to worry over Alex’s sudden cold shoulder.  It was interesting and would have been more engaging to us if we were more invested in the world.  However we were struck by the sudden change of heart in Alex as compared to what we experienced in the previous novel.  We wonder if something might be brewing behind the scenes and hope that maybe it will be brought to light in the next installment in the Underworld Detection Agency novel.  Considering the bombshell that was alluded to at the close of the novel, we are seriously interested in what transpires next in her love life.  Also, we are wondering where her missing undergarments might be…

We must, sadly, admit that we were a little disappointed in the coven mystery in Under A Spell.  Sophie just seemed a little dense in failing to notice the obvious clues to not only the identity of the leader but also those of the coven members.  We understood the need for evidence, but we felt that maybe Sophie being a little too obsessed with her own personal high school demons that she was a bit closed minded in this investigation.  Not only that, but her inability to put the clues together until the end felt a tad forced.  Maybe we just expected more from Sophie in this and didn’t see it.  That being said, maybe the distractions of her obviously screwed up love life could be contributing to her blindness.  There were also a couple moments in the midst of action where it was as if the novel was put on pause for personal drama.

All in all, we did like the latest installment in the Underworld Detection Agency series, but felt there were a few issues with Under A Spell.  That being said, we still want to read the previous novels and hopefully be fully prepared for the next installment in Sophie Lawson’s adventures in the Underworld Detection Agency.  We expect and hope for some of the undercurrents in Under A Spell to come to light.

3 stars: Liked it, but I had some issues – recommend (B)

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About the Book:


Count your blessings, guard your curses—and watch your back…
Sophie Lawson was seriously hoping life at the UDA would get back to relative normal now that her boss Pete Sampson has been reinstated. Unfortunately, her new assignment is sending her undercover into a realm where even the most powerful paranormals fear to tread…her old high school. Being a human immune to magic is no defense against soulless picture-perfect mean girls—or a secret witch coven about to sacrifice a missing female student. And Sophie’s Guardian, uber-proper Englishman Will, is determined to convince Sophie he’s the kind of temptation she should indulge in permanently. Now, as the clock ticks down to apocalypse, he and Sophie will have to summon every trick in the book to battle devilish illusion, lethal sorcery—and betrayals they’ll never see coming…

Release Date: August 6, 2013
Publisher:
Kensington
Series: Underworld Detection Agency #5
ISBN:
#978-0758281128
Genre:
Urban Fantasy
Format(s):
Paperback (392 pgs), e-book
Book Source:
Publisher 

Purchase Info:
Under A Spell (Book 5)

Reviews in the Series:
Under the Gun (Book 4)

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