Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Review of Spells by Aprilynne Pike

Spells by Aprilynne Pike; HarperTeen, 2010.
In this sequel to Aprilynne Pike’s Wings, Laurel Sewell is summoned to attend instruction at The Academy, a school for faeries in Avalon, during her summer break from high school. She is expected to cram years of schooling into a couple of weeks, poring over books and memorizing plant names and their uses. After such intense study, she must attend class with other Fall faeries and learn how to make sugar vials, potions, powders, and serums. Her days consist of only class, studying, and sleeping!

Tamani continues to be a sentry on Laurel’s land, guarding the entryway to Avalon from trolls, who have recently made themselves scarce. On two occasions, Tam is able to take Laurel “sight-seeing” through the wondrous faerie land, where Laurel is treated to amazingly beautiful sights she has never before experienced! The descriptions of Avalon are exquisitely done, complete with lush details of faerie life and flora. Laurel discovers that there is actually a caste system among faeries, with Winter faeries being at the top of the hierarchy, followed by Fall, Summer, and Spring, respectively, based on the difference in faerie population numbers. A faerie’s season is determined by the time of year that his seedling germinates. Much to Laurel’s chagrin, Tam is a Spring faerie, and, thus, is expected to bow to those above him, as well as walk two steps behind upper-class faeries, including her.

Summer comes to an end, and Laurel has to leave Avalon and return to school and her boyfriend, David, with whom she is still in love. She must constantly practice her vial and potion-making, even though she has returned to the human world. Jamison, one of only three Winter faeries, has warned Laurel that she must learn to use her Spring magic quickly because her family and friends need her protection. One evening at a party, trolls stalk Laurel and David, who unwittingly enlist the aid of Klea, a human who hunts supernatural beings. Although Klea and her covert group save the pair, the incident leaves Laurel and David wary of not only trolls, but others, as well.

Weave in several subplots—conflicts between Laurel and her mom, the kidnapping of Laurel’s best friend by trolls, a faerie New Year’s festival, and, finally, a surprising conclusion. Chelsea has to choose between David and the human world and Tam and the faerie world. The ending will leave readers expecting that another book is already in the works!! Aprilynne Pike’s faerie world is exquisite and a place I would love to visit! She has outdone herself with this sequel! I highly recommend this book for high school and public libraries.