'Spellbound' by Julia Goldhirsh is a story of a young woman who's ultimately trying to shatter the bonds that keep her from getting out and living her life and a young man who's trying to help her.
The idea of the story is lovely enough and technically, there's nothing overtly wrong with the book.. except that I didn't love it. They both have a lot of baggage and interference to deal with.. and that should reach out and grab the reader.. but for me, it fell kind of flat.
I wanted to like the characters, as both Rose and Gabriel have backstories that should inspire me to care for them, but that didn't happen. Most of the time, they both come across as petulant children, but their behavioral swings are so constant and so vast.. it's difficult to get a grip on them at all.
From a dialogue and pace perspective, the story felt very juvenile. It's labeled YA, but it reads like a slightly more advanced children's book. In fact, I read a middle grade title last year that was a bit of a mess, but felt a few years more adult than this one.
The otherworldly beings actually sound really intriguing, both visually and psychologically. I say they sound that way because you really only get indicators without getting to truly experience their potential. In part, I'm going to say that's because this story was put together as a novella, but also I think a lot of it is an inexperienced writer. Julia is creative.. and down the road she could develop into a really good author, but she's going to need people around her who have a better understanding of what makes good storytelling and are willing to give her those constructive criticisms. I'm not sure which she was lacking. I suspect some of each.
I have hope though. I'd love to see more from her in the future and see how she develops as a writer.