As I continue my journey with audiobooks (a new development for me over the past couple of months), my enjoyment of them has varied considerably depending on the narrator. In this case, it was a mixed bag: for the most part it was good but as the reading went on it’s as if more quirky inflections and voices were being out on to differentiate characters and moods, and honestly I’m learning that I hate the addition of silly voices to distinguish the characters. I can follow fine without it! Or even if it’s just a slight difference in speech, but without all the added flourish which I have heard coming from a number of readers at this point. In any case, let’s not get too tied up in my personal preferences of reading vs listening:
Spellbound (the first of the Magic in Manhattan series by Allie Therin) introduces us to Rory Brodigan, a young man with the magical ability to scry the past life of an object, working in an antiques shop as an appraiser in New York in 1925. This work can be dangerous at times, and particularly when he goes deep into the powers of ancient magical items known as relics. One such relic is brought into Rory’s world by Arthur, a non-magical son of a politician who is nonetheless embroiled in the supernatural world, working to try and locate and destroy the relics that threaten the world should their power come into the wrong hands.
As these two team up to save the world, more fun and interesting characters are introduced to round out the cast, but more than anything we get to see a strong dynamic between the two (both learning new aspects to themselves, wanting to hold back from one another but being incredibly open about so much), and mayhaps a budding romance? Oh yes, it’s clear as day that these two are attracted to each other from the get-go, and there is plenty of pining before the inevitable. We love a happy ending! But also I may have enjoyed some of the silly “you dumb idiot, can’t you see he likes you??” pining more than what came after: it happens sometimes with me, I can’t help it! I love that angst y’all.
Either way, Spellbound delivers an engaging historical romance, with some twists on the lore of the greater magical world that I really enjoyed. While the characters have their little quirks and distinguishing personas, for the most part they never feel too flat (especially the protagonists) which makes for a great dynamic between the push-and-pull of their interactions and the chemistry between them.