Thursday, August 11, 2011

Book Review: Under His Spell by Marie P. Croall

Title: Under His Spell (My Boyfriend is a Monster #4)
Author: Marie P. Croall
Publisher: Graphic Universe
Release Date: 04/01/2011
ISBN: 0761356029

Bethany Farmer's life is a boring high school routine, and she likes it that way. Soccer, coffee, homework, more coffee, and no goofy romance. That is, until foreign exchange student Allein Atwood shows up in her Midwestern town, and her life turns epically weird. Allein has unearthly good looks, princely politeness, and a bunch of goofy, romantic pick-up lines. But is his country really so foreign that they don't know anything about soccer? Or coffee?

To her horror, Bethany is swept off her feet by Allein's spellbinding ways--and then knocked flat by savage creatures set loose into suburbia to hunt Allein down. Suddenly Bethany's normal town is twisted upside down, and nothing is what it seems. Can Bethany rescue her prince of a boyfriend and keep them both alive long enough to go on a second date?

So far I've found that this series is sort of hit or miss. For every volume that's absolutely great (My Boyfriend Bites), there's a volume that's somewhat mediocre. This volume falls under the mediocre category.

One of the most distracting aspects of this story really had to be the artwork. The quality of it just wasn't very consistent. On one page it would be very well done and on the next you'd see proportions that just weren't very realistic or feasible. There was one panel where our heroine Bethany was giving a solid kick to one of our villains and her leg and foot seemed to be unnaturally twisted. It made it look a little malformed, as if she'd broken it. The only thing about the artwork that seemed to stick to the same level of quality was the backgrounds, which were generally very well illustrated. This was just really disappointing to see since one thing the previous volumes did have in common was some decent artwork. I just couldn't help but think that the artist's work detracted from the story.

I can't blame everything on the artist, however. The basic gist of the storyline is decent. Girl meets fae boy. (I'd consider this a spoiler except the cover pretty much shows that he's a faerie.) Despite this being a pretty common story element, there's a lot you can do with this and I can't help but think that the delivery felt a little flat. I never really felt like the characters came to life for me and to be honest, neither did the chemistry between our lead characters.

There are some nice things about this volume, such as the section of the book that was in full color. It was a smart move and it did pay off well. It was one of the better sections of the book story and art wise. Parts of this book showed me that this really wanted to be a better story than what it was and I wish that it could have been.

If you're looking to read this, I'd recommend getting it from the library. This just wasn't one of the strongest offerings in the MBIAM series. Read it first via the library and then decide if you want to buy it for further re-readings or save up and wait on the next book in the series.

1.5 out of 5 stars

(ARC provided by Netgalley)

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