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Spellbound: The Books of Elsewhere, Volume 2

Review

Spellbound: The Books of Elsewhere, Volume 2

Eleven-year-old Olive Dunwoody barely survived the battle with the former owners of her house. The McMartins did have a bit of an unfair advantage, being evil witches and all, but Olive had the help of Morton, the boy trapped in Elsewhere, and her three special guardian cats: Leopold, Horatio and Harvey. Even though the good guys won and managed to free the house of evil, the magic glasses were destroyed. Without those, Olive can’t slip in and out of the paintings to Elsewhere anymore unless she can talk one of the cats into taking her, which isn’t high on their list of priorities.

Then Mrs. Dewy’s grandson moves in with her next door. Rutherford is an interesting fellow, an expert on the Middle Ages and dinosaurs, and almost an expert on everything else. He’s the one who brings up the grimoire, a witch’s spellbook. He tells Olive that if witches used to live in her house, they probably had a grimoire that could provide a lot of information. Rutherford can do his fair share of this, on anything from dinosaurs to knights, but he also has some secrets that he’s not sharing.

Curiosity hooked, Olive embarks on her search for the spellbook. Just think what she could do with such a treasure, including finding a way to free Morton from his painting prison. She even gets the cats and Morton to help search all the paintings. There are a million places to hide a spellbook, so the search won’t be easy. But Olive begins to feel a strange pull, an unquenchable need to have the spellbook in her arms. Unfortunately, as soon as Olive gets a hold of the spellbook, it gets a hold of her! A dark obsession begins to take over Olive, leading to danger, turmoil and the escape of the evil Annabelle McMartin.

Jacqueline West’s clever and unique story, which is a continuation of ELSEWHERE, thrills with mystery, magic and mayhem. She writes with a playful sense of humor, a delightful energy and colorfully vivid descriptions. She also creates wonderful characters: Olive is charming and intriguing, and I just adore Rutherford, who is quirky, a bit odd, ridiculously intelligent and loveable. Olive’s parents are delightfully lost in their own mathematical world, and the three guardian cats are distinctive and irreplaceable. Another wonderful touch is the lovely, detailed illustrations of Poly Bernatene. West does take a serious turn by delving into the somber subjects of obsession and addiction, and how they can tear a person away from her family and herself.

Overall, this series is a great deal of fun, and West draws the second book to a close with lots of scope for a third. Fans can’t wait!

Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman on July 12, 2011

Spellbound: The Books of Elsewhere, Volume 2
by Jacqueline West

  • Publication Date: July 12, 2011
  • Genres: Fantasy, Horror
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Dial
  • ISBN-10: 0803734417
  • ISBN-13: 9780142421024