Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, 12+
Publisher: HarperTeen (February 10, 2009)
Paperback: 480 pages
Read an Excerpt
What do you get when ordinary e-mail spam becomes infused with magic? Spellspam—and it's not supposed to exist. As far as Thea and her friends know, computers are meant to be inert vehicles for storing magic spells, not magical processors themselves. But all that seems to have changed as students at Wandless Academy find themselves the victim of practical jokes—with magical consequences—simply by opening an e-mail.
Now the spellspams are getting worse, and it's possible there's someone behind them who is not just bent on stirring up trouble but has a much scarier and more wide-reaching agenda. Until now, Thea has been the only person she's ever met who can reach through the computer using magic. But someone else is out there, and even her friends can't help her track down the source of the spellspam before it gets much, much worse.
This series is turning out to be alot of fun. Honestly, I am surprised that it has not gotten more attention. I hope to help to change that in some small way because everybody needs a good, solid fun read ever so often and this series would fit the bill.
If anything, this book is better then the first and that is saying alot. The only reason why I even say it now is because Thea is growing up and it shows. Gone is the insecure girl of book one and instead we get to experience a teenager developing her own sense of self worth. She is also developing definite leadership abilities.
I have to give Alma Alexander some well-deserved credit here. She does a wonderful job with personalities, how they mesh, and how they conflict. I love a book where each person has a well-defined personality with strengths and weaknesses. Take that one-step further and add in group dynamics. Alma Alexander has created a very real heroine in Thea but she does not stop there. Thea's circle of friends range wildly in personality, from the shy but smart kid who questions everything to the impulsive but compassionate roommate. However, as a group they click, each fulfilling a role within the group and lending it strength. As a lover of great characters, I have to admit that I enjoyed every nuance of these relationships.
The different types of relationships do not stop there. Thea is a go to, get it done, type of gal, but she also knows when she needs adult help, and is not afraid to ask for it. Well, atleast not now that she has a better idea of who to trust. Did I mention that Thea makes a great YA heroine? When she can get it done herself, she goes for it. When she needs help from friends, family, or other adults, she knows the difference. And, she is smart too. What a girl!
The story itself is priceless. Email spam that casts a spell on you if you read it. Clever, inventive spells too, like "Do you want Longer, Thicker Hair - Instantly!” Guess what you get from that email. Come on, guess... OK, I will give you a clue, email header reads "From: Harry Ears <>" (giggles). The other great addition to this story is an elemental house. This is the house of my dreams. Are you a slob? Drop your clothes on the floor, come back and they are cleaned, folded and put away. Ready to eat? It feeds you whatever you are in the mood for then clears the table. Oh my goodness, I would think I had died and gone to heaven! Remember how I said in the review of book one that I could step into Alma Alexander's world and feel perfectly at home there? Well now, I am heartbroken that I cannot do just that, even if it means dealing with trade hungry aliens and dangerous (or at least inconvenient) email. I will tell you this much, next time I desperately need to escape from this world, I now know which book I am picking up to reread.
I kind of feel guilty when I gush over a book/series because I know down deep that nothing is perfect. Problem is there is so much that I love about this story that if there are any faults (and I am sure there are) I just do not recognize them. There are some concepts that you need to work to wrap your mind around, but that is not a bad thing. I like stories that make me think outside the box. Only thing I can think of to point out is that while this book, like book one, wraps up conclusively, it does rely heavily on information learned in Gift of the Unmage. Not a big problem for me since I always try to read a series from start to finish but I would not suggest reading this book without reading the first.
Now I am off to see what kind of trouble Thea and her friends get into in book three. In the meantime, I highly suggest you run out and get this series. Awesome books for teens but huge amounts of fun for adults too, especially those of us who are young at heart.
Other books in the series
Shelfari Rating 5/5
Librarything Rating 3.5/5
Amazon Rating 4+ out of 5 stars
(5 Customer Reviews)
What Should I Read Next?
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