Spellbinder is the second book in the Moonshadow trilogy, which is Thea Harrison’s spin-off series of her Elder Races fantasy romance (romantasy) series. What really caught my attention about this series (aside from an intriguing world based on Celtic Fae mythology and amazing reviews) was the fact that this was a NY published author’s indie publishing debut. After I read Moonshadow (Book 1) I was a fan of Ms. Harrison’s. So, while waiting for Spellbinder, I sought ought her related series, published by Berkley. I don’t know how I managed to miss these books before, because I’ve thoroughly enjoyed them all so far.
I can safely recommend either of these series for romance readers, fantasy readers, and romantasy lovers of all stripes.
I will write a review of Moonshadow (Book 1 ), but the story of Spellbinder is not totally reliant upon it. Though reading Moonshadow, where Morgan is the villain, will definitely enhance the experience of his redemption story in Spellbinder.
Morgan. Ah…Morgan. I love villains having their stories told. Give me an immensely powerful tortured dark mage any day! Apparently Morgan makes an appearance in the Elder Races novels too, but I’m only on book 4, so still looking forward to that. He was a very evil villain in Book 1 of this series, but once we learn the how and why of it, it’s very easy to start rooting for him. The author also did a great job dealing with his inner conflict over the evil he has done.
Sidonie was a really lovable heroine. She’s a gifted and famous violinist (even the Djinn come to see her perform) with OCD and social anxiety. Still she manages to grit through even the horrible parts of her journey with respectable gumption, and she never makes any stupid mistakes, which is refreshing. She and Morgan bond over music as well, which was beautifully done and also fitting with the Arthurian mythos, since Morgan is not just a wizard but also a bard.
Another intriguing aspect of this story that did make me a little nervous was the whole Arthurian legend retelling. That mythology is one of my absolute favorites, so I can be touchy about people messing with it. Morgan is the Merlin figure in this version, which is a little different. But I was so pleased with it! It was subtle and twisted into Thea’s own world and mythology so well. And proper homage was paid to The Lady of the Lake and Excalibur to tie things together nicely. I’m excited to read Book 3 – Lionheart!
The best part of this book was the slow burning romance done right. For the first half of the book, Morgan and Sid don’t even see each other. I know that sounds weird, but it works; you’ll just have to read and see. When things finally do start to steam up, it is so emotionally gripping, and sweet, and hot all at once. Ahhh, love these two together. Also, you’ll be happy to know that their HEA does NOT come easy, and I was genuinely worried (and rooting) for Morgan and Sid until the very last page. I also really love that Ms. Harrison’s romances never feel quite over because of her skill at weaving an overarching series plot.
I will be sorry to see this series conclude.