Book: The Secret of Spellshadow Manor – Author: Bella Forrest
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, YA
Description from Goodreads:
What would you do if you spotted a man following a young woman, but no-one else could see him?
Like most sane people, student Alex Webber thought he was hallucinating – perhaps he’d consumed something bad at the party he’d been attending that night, or he was severely overtired. But when he sees the mysterious man following Natalie again the very next day, he can no longer disbelieve his eyes.
Although Natalie denies the man’s existence, Alex sees her walking with him down a road in his neighborhood he’s never seen before – and can’t help but follow. After a bizarre, but strangely short journey, he finds himself standing before a towering iron gate wreathed in gray ivy, behind which looms a decrepit old mansion named Spellshadow Manor.
Spellshadow, with its beautiful yet sinisterly decorated hallways, ever-changing outdoor scenery and very unusual residents… Alex will quickly learn it is a place that is as wondrous as it is deadly.
Especially for a normal person like him.
What if you found yourself recruited to an institute of magic, only to discover you really couldn’t do magic?
What if your enrollment there was all one big, terrible mistake?
If you were at Spellshadow, you’d keep it a secret. A deep, dark, deadly secret…
Because Spellshadow’s elusive Head is hiding a secret of his own, one that Alex soon realizes he and Natalie must uncover at all costs if either of them wishes to leave the Manor alive… and before it’s too late.
I wasn’t sure what to expect with this one. It’s been plastered all over my Facebook & Goodreads and keeps being touted as “the next Harry Potter”, which usually just has me rolling my eyes and passing on by, but something drew me in this time (honestly, it might have just been the really cool cover, lol).
Whatever the reason, I’m glad I picked this one up from the library. It was a quick, easy, and FUN read. I ended up binging it in less than 3 hours, even with it being almost 400 pages; though, to be fair, the font was HUGE in my copy and there are chapter breaks everywhere, so it’s probably really only a little over 300 pages worth of content.
The main characters all seem very personable. I liked Alex a lot. He seems pretty affable (no angsty HP here, folks) but is still fairly stubborn and extremely protective of his friends. Natalie is also very likable and, thank goodness, not a wilting flower when it comes to danger.
I have to say once again, I am not a huge fan of romances, so I was pleasantly surprised that this novel didn’t really have any. Even though the main characters are older teenagers and a boy & girl, there wasn’t even a hint of a romance between them (at least not in this volume). I liked that. It was nice to run into an author who understands that boys and girls CAN just be friends. We’ll see how that plays out in the rest of the series.
The mystery in this series is really interesting. The kids jump to quite a few (possibly erroneous) conclusions, but did the best they could with the information they were able to acquire; and they DID spend quite some time researching what to do instead of just hurling themselves into danger, which is usually what happens in these types of books…well, there was a BIT of hurling, but not thoughtless hurling. 😉 I’m curious to see where this story is heading and who exactly is going to end up being the Big Bad. Something larger is definitely afoot and the danger is NOT resolved in a neat little package at the end of Book 1.
But there won’t be too long of a wait until I can find out what happens! Apparently the author has already written the entire story and has published all six volumes this year. Seriously, this book was published in March and the 6th (and final) book is already out! Whoohoo! Time to hit the library again! 😀
‘Harry Potter’ series – J.K. Rowling – (Book #1: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone)
‘The Tapestry’ series – Henry H. Neff – (Book #1: The Hound of Rowan)