Kidnapped while on tour, musician Sidonie Martel is transported to the mystical land of Avalon. A human without magical ability, she is completely vulnerable to the deadly forces surrounding her.
When she defies her captors and refuses to share her music, an act of violent cruelty leaves her broken, her ability to play silenced, maybe forever. Her only hope is a whisper in the dark, gentle hands that offer healing, and a man who refuses to show her his face yet who offers advice she dare not ignore.
One of the most feared and powerful sorcerers in history, Morgan le Fae serves a Queen he despises, Isabeau of the Light Court. Once a famous bard and an advisor to kings, Morgan has been enslaved to Isabeau for hundreds of years, acting as enforcer and the commander of her deadly Hounds.
Sidonie’s music touches Morgan in places he had abandoned centuries ago, and her fiery spirit resurrects feelings he had believed long dead. For Sidonie, trapped in captivity, passion offers a comfort she cannot resist.
But Isabeau holds Morgan bound in magical chains that only Death can break. And in the court of a cruel, jealous Queen, the only thing that burns hotter than love is revenge…
Worldbuilding: The fae realm of Avalon was colorful and full of fantastic elements galore – fae, sorcerers, shifters, magic – plus the paranormal elements – wyr, djinn – of Glasgow, London, New York.
Characters: Sidonie is very likable: gifted, successful, but the somewhat shy way she comes across in the beginning and her OCD make her seem more vulnerable somehow. Later on she shows a bit of a snarky side, but rarely, which is a sad thing, lol. I like snarky. She goes through all sorts of emotions as she’s held captive, and it made my heart go out to her.
I liked Morgan from the get-go, because of his sensitivity to music and appreciation of her skill, for one thing. And because despite having that air of used-to-be-villain, he had been one against his will, which makes it very easy to sympathize with him. He’s also very strong, both physically and magically, and so tender, sweet, and chivalrous toward her.
They are very sweet together and their romance is forged under dire circumstances, which of course makes it all so much more tense and exciting. I loved them together, they had hot chemistry.
Plot: The kidnapping trope is full of tension and because isn’t the one who kidnaps her it makes their slow burn romance all the sweeter. I loved the pace of events, tensions were running super high at all times, and there are scenes in the novel that take your breath away – like when she plays the violin rendering her experiences in Avalon, and it brought tears to my eyes for real.
Writing: Third person, past tense narrative, his/her POV. The style is a tiny bit epic-fantasy-flavored, enough to go with the world. His voice is heavier, as is his conscience, which makes it dramatic and gripping, while hers shows more humor and a lighter soul which really balances things overall.
Curb Appeal: Really hot cover, hooking blurb – impulsive buy material for my fantasy romance cravings.
Spellbinder gets my Bomy Award of Excellence, because it made me tear up on three separate occasions during the read, which I found surprising even as it happened since PNR or Fantasy Romance kind of doesn’t do that often. I love dramatic moments more than sweet/cheesy/happy ones for sure, and it sent the novel from simple 5 butterflies to my BAE.
I recommend it to fans of shapeshifters with magic powers, fae-featuring stories with some complicated court politics, and complex fantastic worlds – and I really recommend it to fans of dramatic, intense romance, that makes you sigh and cry and get all gooey inside, lol!