4 Stars: “Spellbound” by J. K. Barber

Posted: 30th June 2014 by Jason Kristopher in Books
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Spellbound is about the adventures of two young people, twin sisters who have known community and family their entire lives. Along the way, they befriend a mysterious stranger who has been alone for as long as he can remember.

After strange events touch all their lives, the three find themselves drawn together and then embroiled in a plot to overthrow the Kingdom of Illyander by an ancient enemy long thought dead. As they journey through the world of Aronshae on their quest for answers, even more questions are raised as they find out more about each other, themselves and their strange emerging powers.

Of the approximately 400,000 books published every year, most are boring, shallow, interchangeable and disposable.

Spellbound (Book One of the Chronicles of Aronshae) – the debut effort from married writing team J. K. Barber – definitely doesn’t fall into that group.

The characters feel alive, are unique from each other and generic fantasy fiction, and the reader truly feels drawn into the world. I felt as though I could identify with different parts of each character’s personality, and that too is an indicator of a good book. The innovative and original way that magic works is well-described and given that it’s a fantasy world, it just makes sense. Being a guy, I liked the combat as well, and the way it was handled, including the fact that the heroes do occasionally get injured and aren’t super-human. The pace of the story is constant, always making me want to find out what is going to happen next.

There weren’t any major flaws with the book, and only a very few minor ones. A couple typos here and there, no more than a Big 5 book. Some scenes that I think could probably have used some more polishing, but as a debut novel, Spellbound definitely holds its own against any others.

The true test of a good book is: Do you want to find out what happens next? I certainly did. Great job!

Spellbound is available from Amazon.com in trade paperback and Kindle editions, as well as from Barnes & Noble. The trilogy is complete, and the sequels Icebound and Oathbound released as well. Also available is a limited hardcover compilation edition of all three books in the trilogy (get paperback and Kindle editions of the compilation on Amazon).

Don’t miss Katie Barber’s solo novel Fallen, and Jay Barber’s Aronshae prequel, The Hidden Path, and coming just released, their newest collaboration, Mervidia!

Originally published on moderndayhitchhiker.com.

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