****I received a free copy from the author in exchange for an honest review****
“Spellcaster” is really two stories crammed into one book. The blurb has you believe the main character, Christine, is a young woman assaulted by evil spirits from the beyond so dramatically, that it may actually kill her. The only option she has, is to dive deep into London’s underground occult and seek help from a powerful witch. The witch will demand Christine sacrifice her best friend’s happiness in order to free herself from these evil forces. Now that is a book I want to read! But that wasn’t the story I got with “Spellcaster”. Instead I got a want-to-be Jane Austen book with its writing style and language (that doesn’t always work), mixed in with a kind of steampunk setting, and then another tale where it’s not really spirits plaguing Christine, but a past life who is being attacked by a being called the “Spellcaster”, and that past life must stop the fiend in their own time? It’s a confusing, and I’ll try to explain, but I don’t know if it’ll do much good…
Usually when books need an editor, it’s because of grammatical problems, but sometimes it’s because their idea is so lofty they need someone to reign them back in. Ultimately, that’s what I feel Bachman needed. Christine’s story could have been more interesting if it had gotten more focus, if the author had kept true to that blurb, and then maybe turn “Spellcaster” into a two book series. Because with the way the book is written, by the time you realize what’s happening, and what Christine needs to do, it switches to what I’d consider the second story. So I never felt like Christine was betraying her friends, that her life was in danger, or really why she keeps going on and on about how she hates her body, and how she looks. Instead, if it were written with Christine just trying to figure out what’s happening, it would have been a much more coherent story, and then I would have believed her life was in danger, or that she had a tough choice to make. As it currently stands, I never got that feeling.
I won’t spoil the second half of the story, but suffice it to say, the part where you meet Rodam and Thomas, could have been book two of the “Spellcaster”. Then Bachman could have taken the appropriate amount of time to set up who the Spellcaster was, what he wants, what he’s doing, and just why he’s so bad, rather than just from a sort of pseudo-Christian viewpoint. This book is pretty long as is, so I don’t think just adding that attention to this book now will help, as the story already drags with Christine, but as they genuinely feel like two separate books or stories, Bachman should treat them as such, and just delete all the steampunk references in their entirety, they honestly don’t matter for the world the author has created.
I think Bachman has some creative ideas, and the author is wonderful with describing medieval combat scenes, but I think Bachman is just trying to accomplish too much within one book, so both stories suffer for it. It’s an interesting premises, and perhaps if the author takes the work to an editor that can help with story structure, “Spellcaster” will turn into a fabulous book (or two book series). But as it stands, I can really only give the story 2.5 stars.
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