Book Title: Spell Bound
Author: F.T. Lukens
Release Date: April 4, 2023
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magic, LGBTQ+
My rating: 5/5 Stars
Two rival apprentice sorcerers must team up to save their teachers and protect their own magic in this lively young adult romantic adventure from the New York Times bestselling author of In Deeper Waters and So This Is Ever After.
Edison Rooker isn’t sure what to expect when he enters the office of Antonia Hex, the powerful sorceress who runs a call center for magical emergencies. He doesn’t have much experience with hexes or curses. Heck, he doesn’t even have magic. But he does have a plan—to regain the access to the magical world he lost when his grandmother passed.
Antonia is…intimidating, but she gives him a job and a new name—Rook—both of which he’s happy to accept. Now all Rook has to do is keep his Spell Binder, an illegal magical detection device, hidden from the Magical Consortium. And contend with Sun, the grumpy and annoyingly cute apprentice to Antonia’s rival colleague, Fable. But dealing with competition isn’t so bad; as Sun seems to pop up more and more, and Rook minds less and less.
But when the Consortium gets wind of Rook’s Spell Binder, they come for Antonia. All alone, Rook runs to the only other magical person he knows: Sun. Except Fable has also been attacked, and now Rook and Sun have no choice but to work together to get their mentors back…or face losing their magic forever.
Everyone needs to excuse me while I go make Spell Bound my new personality. Seriously, though, I absolutely loved this book. After having loved So This Is Ever After, I was excited to dive into FT Lukens’s newest book, but little did I know that I was about to find a new favorite. From page one, I was completely hooked on Rook and Sun’s story. I had a migraine when I was reading this, and usually that means I’m much slower, but I devoured this book regardless. It was that good.
The mix of technology and magic in Spell Bound was such a neat concept that was executed really well. Since Rook is non-magical, the only way he can stay in the magical world is if he creates a device that can help him detect magical energies and store spells. I don’t know why, but I got really attached to this device? Like, I know that sounds really weird, but Rook put his heart and soul into creating it, and it meant so much to him, and by proxy, it meant a lot to me too. I was so impressed with the way Rook was able to stay connected to the magical world, despite every obstacle keeping him away.
Additionally, the magic system itself was so much fun! It was based around curses, hexes, and jinxes, which led to some hilarious circumstances. At surface level, the magic system seemed pretty simple, but there were actually a lot of intricate rules and detailed lore that went along with it, which really enhanced it. I loved the contrast between Sun’s powers and Rook’s lack of them. They both complimented each other so well. One’s weaknesses was another’s strengths. Together, they made such a great team.
Speaking of Sun and Rook, the characterizations in Spell Bound were excellent! The characters we spend the most time with are the two of them, as well as their mentors Antonia and Fable. All four are incredibly well rounded individuals with such distinct personalities and the best dynamic. Even so, none of the side characters suffered from this. They were still developed and memorable, even the ones who only appeared for a few scenes.
Sun and Rook had to be my favorites, though, and between the two of them, I can’t help but love Sun just a smidge more (though that’s not to say that I didn’t love Rook because I absolutely did). I related to Sun so much, and their personality was the best. At first glance, they’re quite prickly and want to keep to themselves. They wear all black and rarely ever smile. Even so, Sun is a soft-hearted individual who cares deeply for others. Sun is also clearly neurodivergent in some way, and as someone who related to them a lot, I saw a lot of autistic traits in them, which I thought was great. Watching them grow throughout the book and learning to open themself up to others was wonderful.
I also loved how Rook was so conscientious of Sun’s boundaries and never crossed them without explicit permission from Sun. This was something Sun hadn’t experienced much of before, but something they desperately needed. Sun and Rook gave me all the grumpy/sunshine vibes that I love so much. Watching them grow from slight hostility, to frenemies, to friends, to even more, was such a fantastic journey and one that was developed so well. Also!! There’s something that happens later in the book (I won’t say what because of spoilers), but it had me simultaneously dying of laughter and cuteness at the same time. I was living for it.
I honestly don’t have a single negative thing to say about Spell Bound. Every part of it, I loved. I loved the plot, the pacing, the writing style, the characters, the relationships and dynamics. Just. Everything. I can say without a doubt that this is my favorite book of the year so far, and I won’t be remotely surprised if it stays in the top five or ten by the time the year ends.
I can’t recommend Spell Bound enough! If you love queer fantasy stories with fun magic systems, you absolutely have to read it.
Thank you so much to NetGalley and Turn the Pages tour for providing me with a digital ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
Connect with FT Lukens
Author’s website: www.ft-lukens.com
Author’s instagram: www.instagram.com/ftlukens
Enter to win one of two copies of Spell Bound here: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/1e4a114d78/?
Purchase the book at: Amazon | Audible | Barnes and Noble | Bookshop
Check out my last Blog Post: Clash of Fate and Fury (Interview & Review)