Friday, 2 March 2012

YA Book Series Review-- Unbidden Magic

Source: Net Galley
Publisher: Bell Bridge Books
Release dates:
Moonstone- Aug. 1/08

Moon Rise- July 22/09
Moon Spun- July 1/10
Shadow Moon- Nov. 11/11
Series: Unbidden Magic #1-4

I was lucky enough to get Marilees Brothers' Unbidden Magic series as a set from the publisher, so I'm going to review each book seperately, but in one post.

First up is Moonstone.

A sickly mom. A tiny house trailer. High school bullies and snarky drama queens. Bad-guy dudes with charming smiles. Allie has problems. And then there's that whole thing about fulfilling a magical prophecy and saving the world from evil. Geez. 
Welcome to the sad, funny, sometimes-scary world of fifteen-year-old Allie Emerson, who's struggling to keep her and her mom's act together in the small-town world of Peacock Flats, Washington. 
An electrical zap from a TV antenna sets off Allie's weird psychic powers. The next thing she knows she's being visited by a hippy-dippy guardian angel, and then her mysterious neighbor, the town "witch," gives her an incredible moonstone pendant that has powers only a good-hearted "Star Seeker" is meant to command. 
"Who, me?" is Allie's first reaction. But as sinister events begin to unfold, Allie realizes she's got a destiny to live up to. If she can just survive everyday life, in the meantime.

Moonstone is the first book in Marilee Brothers' Unbidden Magic series, and it's by far the weakest of the series.
Moonstone introduces us to Allie (short for Alfreida), her special powers, her lazy mother, Faye, her friend, Kizzy, and her adorable boyfriend, Junior.
Allie is a great character. Right from the start I liked her. She's easy to relate to. She's the type of girl you'd love to have for a friend.
Faye...argh, Faye. I give the writer props for this character. You dislike her SO MUCH in Moonstone, and you seriously just want to shake her and tell her to smarten up!
Junior is a real sweetie and I love him with Allie. They make an adorable couple.

The first book obviously sets up the rest of the series. Allie discovers her powers and the moonstone, she and Junior search for clues about what the moonstone is, exactly and Allie finds her estranged father....
But it's all very simple and un-original.

Luckily it's a pretty short book and it IS worth reading, however, because the series gets much, much better. ;)

Book #2 is Moon Rise.

Her mom's still dating losers. Her boyfriend's gone back to Mexico. Dad still hasn't told his wife and kids that she exists. 
At school, the drama queens and bullies still rule. But worst of all for Allie Emerson--aka the Star Seeker of an old Gypsy prophecy--is that her powers have taken a hike. 
She can't read minds anymore. She can't move stuff just by looking at it. The other Star Seekers are counting on her psychic gifts more than ever, and the evil Tri-marks are closing in, eager to snatch her magic moonstone necklace while she's helpless. 
The hot new guy at school is ready and willing to fight her battles, but he comes with some wicked baggage. 
Dear Diary: I'm a little worried. My new BF is a demon. Welcome again to Allie Emerson's funny, scary, amazing, and always unpredictable life, as the girl voted least likely to save the world from evil. 

Moon Rise is a HUGE improvement over Moonstone.
Allie continues to grow as a character, and you finally start to understand Faye a bit better.

Junior leaves town, but luckily there's a nice half-demon to take his place, so he's not really missed much.

There are some great action scenes, we learn more about the Trimarks and the Star Seekers, and we find out the moonstone can do even MORE really cool things!

Moon Rise has some fun twists and turns that will keep you turning the pages long after bedtime. ;)

Next is Moon Spun.

Junior's back from Mexico with his movie-star entourage. 
Beck's using his half-demon charms to "heal" a new girl. 
Mom's still wacky and now she's dating Principal Hostetler. 
High school is still an obstacle course of drama queens, bullies and nutjobs. 
The Trimarks are still a menace, and the moonstone pendant has revealed even more mind-boggling powers. In other words, Allie Emerson's life as the Girl Voted Least Likely To Save The World From Evil has gone from Weird to Super-Charged Super-Weird, and it's about to get even weirder. 
You're a faery princess. So says the mysterious Ryker, whose handsome talents include turning himself into a hawk. By the way, he and Allie are destined to marry. In faery land--Boundless. If they can save it from forces even more deadly than Trimarks and high school.

Now, I'm a HUGE faerie fan. HUGE. I think it's safe to say that I love everything to do with fae, the Tuatha de Danann and the underworld in general, so THIS was my favourite of the four books.

I absolutely loved pretty much the entire plot and gobbled up every word. The scenes in Boundless are breathtaking, and the fae characters are absolutely amazing. 
A few scenes were so beautifully written that I was honestly moved to tears.

The one problem I did have with this third book was the addition of Ryker. I just didn't like his character and he didn't seem to really have a point.
Not to mention that now with a THIRD love interest, Allie looks like a boy-hopper. He's just not needed.

Other than that, Moon Spun is a really great book.

And lastly is Shadow Moon.

Allie Emerson is hoping for a few quiet months to catch her breath after a summer that included the discovery she is not only a twin and of faery blood, but also destined to play a pivotal role in faery world. 
School has barely begun when Allie must kiss her hope of a normal year goodbye.
She can't escape her unfinished business with the fae, the Trimarks, or Junior Martinez, who is making it clear he plans to win her back. 
Signs, portents and whispers are pushing Allie to "find the girl" before it's too late. Hoping her twin can help her solve the riddle of their destiny, Allie uncovers old secrets and begins a cross-country journey that puts her in more danger than ever before. If she succeeds, she may just find the answers that can save everyone she loves.

Sadly, this book isn't as strong as the second or third, although it is still shades better than the first.

We tenderly say goodbye to one character (although I have a feeling that it may not be the last time we see them), and we're introduced to in particular that I absolutely love.

There is a twist that I saw coming, but it's a nice twist nonetheless.
The plot isn't as strong and, for me at least, not as interesting or thrilling as the previous books. It seemed disjointed and awkward in places. It felt rushed, especially since this book is very short. I wish it had been longer and more character-driven.

But the series as a whole, although not yet complete (book 5, Midnight Moon, is due in July I believe), is a really fun read.
A few things bothered me, like Allie pretty much telling everyone about her powers and the moonstone. The book often mentions Allie's trust issues, then in the next chapter, she's telling yet another person her secrets.

As mentioned above, there are just too many boys...although I think I may understand why Ryker was introduced now that I've read Shadow Moon...but that's all just my little theory. ;)

All in all, these are some excellent little books that your teens will love. I'd highly recommend them for kids 14+. 

I'm definitely looking forward to book five and reading the conclusion to Allie's story.
There's still so much plot left to resolve, I'm hoping Midnight Moon is a nice big, juicy book!
(And wouldn't it be nice to get it early so I could review it for you? Hint, hint, Bell Bridge Books!) ;)

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