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FULL LENGTH NOVEL “We all are both heroes and villains in our own story.” Niko is caught in a powerful spell that was cast from the very book he sought to protect. Trapped between life and death, his chances of returning look grim. Gem is determined to set things right. Armed only with her innate knowledge of language, she begins her daunting quest to break the diabolical FULL LENGTH NOVEL “We all are both heroes and villains in our own story.” Niko is caught in a powerful spell that was cast from the very book he sought to protect. Trapped between life and death, his chances of returning look grim. Gem is determined to set things right. Armed only with her innate knowledge of language, she begins her daunting quest to break the diabolical spell… no matter the cost. When an irreversible action unleashes a new threat, Keystone scrambles into action. Lives are at stake as the team scours the city in search of an elusive foe. A bond forged in secrets. A courageous sacrifice. Will Gem succeed at her daring attempt, or will she inadvertently destroy them all? The clock is ticking in this riveting installment of the USA Today bestselling Crossbreed series. Please note that while Spellbound is not the length of the other Crossbreed novels, it does not qualify as novella length.


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FULL LENGTH NOVEL “We all are both heroes and villains in our own story.” Niko is caught in a powerful spell that was cast from the very book he sought to protect. Trapped between life and death, his chances of returning look grim. Gem is determined to set things right. Armed only with her innate knowledge of language, she begins her daunting quest to break the diabolical FULL LENGTH NOVEL “We all are both heroes and villains in our own story.” Niko is caught in a powerful spell that was cast from the very book he sought to protect. Trapped between life and death, his chances of returning look grim. Gem is determined to set things right. Armed only with her innate knowledge of language, she begins her daunting quest to break the diabolical spell… no matter the cost. When an irreversible action unleashes a new threat, Keystone scrambles into action. Lives are at stake as the team scours the city in search of an elusive foe. A bond forged in secrets. A courageous sacrifice. Will Gem succeed at her daring attempt, or will she inadvertently destroy them all? The clock is ticking in this riveting installment of the USA Today bestselling Crossbreed series. Please note that while Spellbound is not the length of the other Crossbreed novels, it does not qualify as novella length.

30 review for Spellbound

  1. 4 out of 5

    ☕️Kimberly

    Because of the story ARC, friendships, and relationships it is best to listen to the Crossbreed novels in the order of its release. Of course you can read them, but with Nicole Poole narrating why would you? In Moonstruck, Gem cast a spell meant to save Nikko, but in doing so left him trapped in his own body. In Spellbound she tirelessly translates ancient texts to find a cure while Victor and the team decide if they need to say goodbye to their old friend. This was interesting, and the story gave Because of the story ARC, friendships, and relationships it is best to listen to the Crossbreed novels in the order of its release. Of course you can read them, but with Nicole Poole narrating why would you? In Moonstruck, Gem cast a spell meant to save Nikko, but in doing so left him trapped in his own body. In Spellbound she tirelessly translates ancient texts to find a cure while Victor and the team decide if they need to say goodbye to their old friend. This was interesting, and the story gave us tremendous insight into Gem and Nikko. In Breed years Gem is a newborn compared to someone like Niko who has walked the earth blind for over fifteen-hundred years. Dark shed light on both of their stories. There were some touching scenes that admittedly had me swiping away a tear or two. We learn more about the book, Keystone’s history, and dealt with some deadly consequence. While not as intense as previous books, I found the story very insightful and key tidbits both surprised and delighted me. Normally I am a creature of habit and resist change. The fact that Dark had me excited about getting a new POV speaks volumes on my love for these secondary characters. It was a smart move on her part and really gave me a new and fresh perspective of the team from a character who sees the world through rose-colored glasses despite her past. I liked that. Dark still managed to weave in snark, delicious moments between Raven and Christen to satisfy me and plenty of interaction between the crew. Now I am left waiting for the next audiobook in the Crossbreeds series. Nicole Poole rocks the narration and is one of my favorite narrators for urban fantasy. Her voices for Raven and Christian Poe is particular just make me smile. This review was originally posted at Caffeinated Reviewer

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mikky (Nocturnal Predators Reviews)

    Originally posted at: I adore this series and its characters but I didn't like that this was a novella-length novel. Personally, I would have preferred one bigger book with no cliffhanger than a full novel ending in a cliffhanger and a novella to tie things off. I loved the glimpse we got into Gem's head in this story! She's such a fun character in all the other books, so it was great to see her in the spotlight. I'm still holding out hope that the characters in Keystone will eventually pair Originally posted at: I adore this series and its characters but I didn't like that this was a novella-length novel. Personally, I would have preferred one bigger book with no cliffhanger than a full novel ending in a cliffhanger and a novella to tie things off. I loved the glimpse we got into Gem's head in this story! She's such a fun character in all the other books, so it was great to see her in the spotlight. I'm still holding out hope that the characters in Keystone will eventually pair off and maybe get their own stories. Niko was always an enigma. It was nice to have a light shined into his past. I understand him and his mannerisms better now because of it. I still am holding a grudge for the unnecessary cliffhanger from the last novel though. Overall, this was a short and inciteful adventure! As much as I liked it I just wanted more after waiting out the cliffhanger for a few months. I hope the next novel is a full-length adventure for the Keystone crew! The Audio Book: Nicole Poole did a fantastic job with this narration! Her voice was clear and crisp. The accents and female and male voices were awesome. She's become my favorite narrator in the past few years!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    I have two words Jaysus wept. That was bloody awesome

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lorna

    Everything I want in a book by Dannika Dark. She never fails to make me love her work all over again with each book. This is a must read for anybody reading this series. So many answers and back stories we have been waiting for are here. It's always fun to have a story from another character separate from the main characters. In this case, we get two, a story and back story about two beloved characters from this series, Gema and Niko. Both are immortal and Mages, although Gema is young for a Mag Everything I want in a book by Dannika Dark. She never fails to make me love her work all over again with each book. This is a must read for anybody reading this series. So many answers and back stories we have been waiting for are here. It's always fun to have a story from another character separate from the main characters. In this case, we get two, a story and back story about two beloved characters from this series, Gema and Niko. Both are immortal and Mages, although Gema is young for a Mage, while Niko has been alive for 1500 years. I've been wanting them to get together throughout the series, as I am sure lots of other readers wanted as well, so it was extra special to get their stories. Due to the circumstances of the previous book and subsequent cliffhanger, I was even more pleased with this book. We come into this story not knowing what's going to happen with Niko and dealing with Gem's guilt for Niko's problems. Not going any deeper about that due to spoilers. To me. this book was all about the wonderful characters of Niko and Gem and their pasts. We find out all the answers to questions that have bothered me since the beginning. Always nice to get answers to questions in a series. In addition, the other characters are finally home from their own extreme adventure. I love seeing the group when they are together-even if some of it was pretty bittersweet. And of course, it was good to catch up with the main characters of the series, Raven and Christian. It wouldn't be a Crossbreed book without them. Besides, I would have missed the snark and of course the romance. Having said that, this book wasn't as much of a romance this time around. Instead. It was about deep friendships, loyalty and the bond between a group of basically loner(whether by choice or circumstances) supernaturals-ones that have all lived long enough to have complicated back stories and issues. Frankly, I didn't miss having a romance as the core of this particular story and that's something I never say. I really liked the information we learn and the reasons for various things as well. I highly recommend this to Crossbreed readers and Dannika Dark fans. I also highly recommend this whole series and strongly suggest you start with book one, Keystone. You probably would be pretty lost starting with Spellbound because it is connected to the previous book, Moonstruck. 4.5 stars round up!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Trisha

    This book is a short story OR a Novella at best and should have been #7.5. Nikko is one of my favorite characters in this series so this was disappointing. The story line with the other characters felt like filler so it didn't work. The story with one baddie being able to hold off and foil 6 of Keystones best didn't make sense. This book is a short story OR a Novella at best and should have been #7.5. Nikko is one of my favorite characters in this series so this was disappointing. The story line with the other characters felt like filler so it didn't work. The story with one baddie being able to hold off and foil 6 of Keystones best didn't make sense.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Panach

    “We all are both heroes and villains in our own story.” The last book left us on such a cliffhanger. It was major. And as much as I ADORE Christian and Raven. It was wonderful to read about Gem and Niko - and even get some quality time in with Claude in this story. Dannika Dark is so incredibly talented about writing the voices of her characters. When you read Gem - you aren't reading a generic individual, you are reading Gem and her thoughts are all incredibly, authentically Gem. At one point Ge “We all are both heroes and villains in our own story.” The last book left us on such a cliffhanger. It was major. And as much as I ADORE Christian and Raven. It was wonderful to read about Gem and Niko - and even get some quality time in with Claude in this story. Dannika Dark is so incredibly talented about writing the voices of her characters. When you read Gem - you aren't reading a generic individual, you are reading Gem and her thoughts are all incredibly, authentically Gem. At one point Gem visits a relic to try and find help for Niko. When she meets the Relic mentally commends the woman's individuality - even though her orange lipstick doesn't go with her green eyeshadow. It was such a Gem statement - so true to herself and good and kind. Niko is the same - honorable, kind, strong. It was amazing to learn so much more of their backstory. I honestly didn't need a lot of action or sex - the conversations and character development did it for me. I initially gave this story three stars - but while writing this - am upgrading it to four. The more I think about this book - the more certain I am that events here will seriously trickle through to more books. I am hoping for at least a few more in this universe. There are so many unresolved characters and plotlines. The reason I initially gave this three stars instead of four - had very little to do with the writing - and everything to do with me not getting my way and having something resolved in this book. (view spoiler)[ I really want Gem and Niko to be a couple couple, not just serious BFFs. I understand Niko's commitment to his spiritual purity (e.g. the world's only 1500 year old virgin), but sheesh. (hide spoiler)] Spellbound has left me with a lot of questions: (view spoiler)[ - The book was made with a phoenix tailfeather - that has to have something to do with Kira right? I think we can all agree that she is a Phoenix shifter - Who was the man on the corner with an umbrella after the rain - we are all assuming this is Chaos/Houdini right? But what was going on with that? - If I can't have Niko and Gem right away - are we going to have to go through a Gem and Switch fling? It seemed like if Niko isn't going to be willing to do the whole couple thing - Switch was. He definitely seemed into Gem. - How are Blue's scars going to affect her journey? I can't really tell whether her relationship with Viktor is more dad/alpha or something else. - Seriously also - can we get Wyatt and Claude somebody to love? Like yesterday? - I'm also very intrigued about where things are going with Hunter. I am guessing we might see a second generation series with him. Maybe he can hang out with some of the kids from the seven series. And on a final note - how about that little shout out to Justus!!!!! I seriously need to go back and reread some of the mageri stuff to see if he ever mentioned rescuing Gem. I bet he did and I have just forgotten. (hide spoiler)] Fans of this series will not be disappointed - but this is definitely not a standalone read!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kittens bookshelf

    Cant wait to see how Gem and Niko will bring Cryus down! And also how switch and Christian are gonna be!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

    My favorite Tgis on is so far my new favorite! Love love love evwry word. Do your self a favor and read this book !

  9. 5 out of 5

    Katherine Wybranska

    Love, love, love Gem and Niko! So beautiful the two of them..I was in tears at the end..I'm really hoping we get more standalone novels about these two beautiful souls. Love, love, love Gem and Niko! So beautiful the two of them..I was in tears at the end..I'm really hoping we get more standalone novels about these two beautiful souls.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Marisa Brown

    I Loved It I loved getting to know Gem and Niko better. Their characters have such depth. I can not wait to see what lies in store for Keystone next!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Debbie Turk

    A Beautiful & Completely Different But Gripping Read!!😟🙏✨🌟💜 Spellbound (Crossbreed Series Book #8: Mageriverse Book #22) This is, overall, a beautiful & emotive read from, mostly, Gem's POV!😍 It restarts from just after the end of 'Moonstruck'. Nico is asleep/in a coma still & she's awaiting Vicktor's return, along with the rest of the team.😢 Her guilt at his condition is bone deep & we feel it all with her.💔 She is determined to try every avenue available to her to save him, but will she succeed? A Beautiful & Completely Different But Gripping Read!!😟🙏✨🌟💜 Spellbound (Crossbreed Series Book #8: Mageriverse Book #22) This is, overall, a beautiful & emotive read from, mostly, Gem's POV!😍 It restarts from just after the end of 'Moonstruck'. Nico is asleep/in a coma still & she's awaiting Vicktor's return, along with the rest of the team.😢 Her guilt at his condition is bone deep & we feel it all with her.💔 She is determined to try every avenue available to her to save him, but will she succeed??😭🙏 I absolutely loved 'Spellbound'. It's completely different to all of the other Crossbreed books but in a warm and emotionally different way!!😍 We still get some action, involving the rest of the team, there are some great interactions & the snarky one liners between Raven & Christian too!😂🔥💘 It's a truly fabulous addition to this amazing series!!🌟 Debbie, 1970, UK

  12. 5 out of 5

    Viviana Izzo

    Dannika does it again! She brings the readers along the journey of the characters and leaves them wanting more! SPELLBOUND begins where we left off in the previous book MOONSTRUCK. Nikko is a sort of sleep like state and Gem continues to search for a way to awaken him. As we’ve come to expect from Dannika’s books, the banter between characters is fantastic and the moments of humor that is weaved throughout the story not only makes the reader smile but makes you fall in love even more with the cha Dannika does it again! She brings the readers along the journey of the characters and leaves them wanting more! SPELLBOUND begins where we left off in the previous book MOONSTRUCK. Nikko is a sort of sleep like state and Gem continues to search for a way to awaken him. As we’ve come to expect from Dannika’s books, the banter between characters is fantastic and the moments of humor that is weaved throughout the story not only makes the reader smile but makes you fall in love even more with the characters and the stories! Narrator Nicole Poole continues to knock it out of the park with her stellar performance!! She is truly one gifted and talented narrator! Overall, fans of the series will enjoy getting to know better two of their favorite characters, who up til now have been rather mysterious. Now we must patiently wait for the release of the next book!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Source: Publisher Spellbound is a novella in the Crossbreed series and it takes place after the evens in Moonstruck. Gem tries to find a cure for the spell cast on Niko. The plot focuses mostly on Gem and Niko. Her saving him and them getting closer by telling her backstories to each other. I always thought there would be a romance between these two characters but after learning their stories I think they are destined to be something greater. There is a huge age difference between Gem, she's 50 yea Source: Publisher Spellbound is a novella in the Crossbreed series and it takes place after the evens in Moonstruck. Gem tries to find a cure for the spell cast on Niko. The plot focuses mostly on Gem and Niko. Her saving him and them getting closer by telling her backstories to each other. I always thought there would be a romance between these two characters but after learning their stories I think they are destined to be something greater. There is a huge age difference between Gem, she's 50 years old which in the Breed world is a baby, Niko is over 1,500 years old. In some ways, they are similar in their noobie status.  I thoroughly enjoyed getting a closer look at these two characters in Spellbound. I can't wait until the next novel in the Crossbreed series. Nicole Poole is the reason Dannika Dark is an audio-only author for me. She masterly voices all the characters from the female to the male. She makes each character sound different and she keeps the same voice for each character for every book. Nicole delivered another masterful performance with Spellbound. 

  14. 4 out of 5

    Maggie Cullen

    Loved it!! Didn’t put it down just read the whole thing!! I wish there was more to ready! Love all Dannika’s work she is truly gifted!!!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Rambling Rose

    Keystone goodness on a smaller scale In all honesty I didn’t love the idea about stepping away from Raven and Christian on this book, but I was very pleasantly surprised! The Keystone story arc progresses in this book by bringing us deeper into the lives of Niko and Gem while giving us a peek into the team dynamics from Gem’s perspective. We have been gradually introduced to Niko’s past in previous books and he has remained one of my favorite characters so I was anxious to see what happened to hi Keystone goodness on a smaller scale In all honesty I didn’t love the idea about stepping away from Raven and Christian on this book, but I was very pleasantly surprised! The Keystone story arc progresses in this book by bringing us deeper into the lives of Niko and Gem while giving us a peek into the team dynamics from Gem’s perspective. We have been gradually introduced to Niko’s past in previous books and he has remained one of my favorite characters so I was anxious to see what happened to him after leaving him in a precarious position at the end of the previous book. Gem, however, has always been a bit of a mystery. Spellbound picked up where Moonstruck left off, with Niko in a magical coma and Gem trying to find answers on how to wake him. The connection that has been building between Gem and Niko progresses to a sweet conclusion, and it’s very fitting for Gem’s character. The storyline was interesting and I enjoyed it, but it felt more like an appetizer rather than a full Keystone meal. I enjoyed learning more about Gem, but I’m hungry for more from the original story arc. I want more action and intrigue from the Keystone team. I want more Raven and Christian. Who am i kidding? I want more Houdini.

  16. 5 out of 5

    LexiLikesLiterature

    By Dannika Dark Narrator Nicole Poole Spellbound picks up the next day after the events of book 8. This one focuses on Gem and the aftermath of her acts in previous books. Eventually you get some scenes with the whole crew. So if you were missing the Irish Vampire, then dont worry. I didn't find Gem as appealing as I thought I would. She definitely isnt as entertaining as Raven. Though I guess it's a good idea to slow the pace every few books so things can level out. To me Gem came across as highl By Dannika Dark Narrator Nicole Poole Spellbound picks up the next day after the events of book 8. This one focuses on Gem and the aftermath of her acts in previous books. Eventually you get some scenes with the whole crew. So if you were missing the Irish Vampire, then dont worry. I didn't find Gem as appealing as I thought I would. She definitely isnt as entertaining as Raven. Though I guess it's a good idea to slow the pace every few books so things can level out. To me Gem came across as highly intelligent but socially immature. She and Niko are non-sexual people. It is not something I understand completely but I assume there are folks out there who might relate. I was really excited to see Gem and Niko bound, but it ended up feeling awkward to me. When Gem finds a way to communicate with Niko they go from zero to hundred. Gem says, "We have a marvelous relationship"... but they literally just became friends two minutes ago 🤣 Niko says, "Why is being my friend so important to you?" ... Umm Really Dude? Who says that? Like I said, for two people don't like affection, sex, or serious relationships... they sure do act like they are trying to find a soul mate. There story just didnt do it for me. Hopefully Blue and Vicktor will bring some real heat when we make it to them. Nicole Poole does great with the audio version. I'm am all there for her Vicktor and Christen. 3 Stars 🌟🌟🌟- Good Book. I like the overall concept and it was delivered well. Most common ranking for a book I enjoyed and look forward to the next.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Shandie Bell

    I love this series Just when you think this series can't get any better a new book comes . I love these characters and I loved it in this book you get a better in-depth look and a couple more of them. I love this series Just when you think this series can't get any better a new book comes . I love these characters and I loved it in this book you get a better in-depth look and a couple more of them.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Bec

    Love love love Gem & Niko’s story. This author is amazing. Puts you right into the characters lives with little effort. Recommend to all.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Anniken Haga

    So I started listening to this series a while ago, but after book 4 I gave up. I had trouble with the MC, the writing style, and the general story. It felt really repetative. But with all these problems, I was still interested when I saw that there would be a book with Gem as the MC. She was one of the main reasons I continued reading the series, to be honest. So, as soon as this book was out, I started listening. It was... I'm not really sure. It was good until the book-event, after that it kin So I started listening to this series a while ago, but after book 4 I gave up. I had trouble with the MC, the writing style, and the general story. It felt really repetative. But with all these problems, I was still interested when I saw that there would be a book with Gem as the MC. She was one of the main reasons I continued reading the series, to be honest. So, as soon as this book was out, I started listening. It was... I'm not really sure. It was good until the book-event, after that it kinda went down hill. It was like the author tried to force some sexyness into it that just made me cringe. And the switch in POV so late into the book didn't work for me at all. It felt like an attempt to make it longer. Even before the event, though, I had trouble with the general writing style. I don't know what it is, but Dark's way of describing the world - or lack there of - doesn't really work for me. I know a lot of other readers love her stuff, and that makes me glad, for she has some really good ideas. They're just not for me. It was fun to see Gem again, though, even if I saw the relationship in this book coming already in book 2. If the author publish another book with Gem as the MC, and it is as short as this one, I may consider giving it a read, just because of her. And now I wanna change my hair into purple and not blue!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Tanya Davis

    I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.After Moonstruck I was anxious to read more about what happens with Niko and Gem. Making them the main characters of Spellbound was a necessity. There was so much story there and we really got to learn more about these two important members of Keystone. We also find out more about the beginnings of Keystone. The magic that Gem had inadvertently unl I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.After Moonstruck I was anxious to read more about what happens with Niko and Gem. Making them the main characters of Spellbound was a necessity. There was so much story there and we really got to learn more about these two important members of Keystone. We also find out more about the beginnings of Keystone. The magic that Gem had inadvertently unleashed that caused Niko to go into a coma like state was a main concern during this story. The threat of losing one of Keystone's main members was real. Gem works really hard to fix what she did. Her dedication and devotion to Niko made my heart break for her. It was not surprising what she takes on to help Niko. What wasn't thought of, was the cure for Niko also unleashing a threat. So Spellbound mostly focuses on Niko and Gem, but the team does have an enemy they must chase down. This was good because we still get to see the rest of our favorite characters. I was really worried I wouldn't get my Christian Poe fix. Spellbound had some hold your breath moments, a great emotional storyline with Gem and Niko, along with some fun escapades with the Keystone crew. I felt this was a great filler story but am even more excited to get into more adventure with Raven, Christian and the gang. Nicole Poole was once again exceptional. The character voices fit nicely and you can actually visualize the type of character they are just from the voice. Listening to her narration totally makes the book amazing!This review was originally posted on Rantings of a Reading Addict

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Graybeal

    I just finished listening to my audible edition of this. BY THE WAY- if you haven’t listened to one of Dannika Dark’s books yet.... DO IT. The narrator she uses is absolutely amazing. Dannika didn’t fail to deliver her usual doses of quick wit, humor, and action. I found myself cheering for keystone as they try to help save one of their own from a curse. I’m hoping there is more to come between two of my favorite mages in the Mageriverse. Totally worth the read, as is every Dannika Dark tale.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jesstah

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I adore the crossbreed series but it just wasn't the same for me without that much of the funny back and forth with Raven and the sexy christian, and I kinda hoped neko and gem would get together. Although I am a very sexual person I know this would appeal to others who are not and just because I can't fully relate I know some people would and would appreciate the inclusion. I still love the author and the series and look forward to the next addition <3 I adore the crossbreed series but it just wasn't the same for me without that much of the funny back and forth with Raven and the sexy christian, and I kinda hoped neko and gem would get together. Although I am a very sexual person I know this would appeal to others who are not and just because I can't fully relate I know some people would and would appreciate the inclusion. I still love the author and the series and look forward to the next addition <3

  23. 4 out of 5

    Wendy Nelson

    I love this series! Normally I don't care for a change in point of view, but I love all of the characters at Keystone and really hope we'll get to hear more from the others that live there. I don't think I've given any story in the crossbreed series less than 5 stars. Highly recommend it if you love urban fantasy. I love this series! Normally I don't care for a change in point of view, but I love all of the characters at Keystone and really hope we'll get to hear more from the others that live there. I don't think I've given any story in the crossbreed series less than 5 stars. Highly recommend it if you love urban fantasy.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

    Uneventful While I’m glad everyone is okay and things got tidied up from the previous cliffhanger, I’m not sure these two needed an independent book for their platonic relationship. I think we were all hoping for these characters to have some epic love story instead of the grief counseling we all received. It was disappointing to say the least.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kari

    Overall a pretty decent story. This story follows Gem and Niko. And spend less time on the rest of the team. All throughout you’re hoping for the romance to develop between them, even though you know not would be impractical. However, when it doesn’t happen it was even more of a bummer. Nice look into a few of the other team members though.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ez

    Spellbound is mostly told from Gem's point of view so there's a slightly different feel to it compared to the previous seven books in the Crossbreed series. I wasn't sure how I was going find it because even though I'm a massive fan of this author and the Crossbreed novels are one of my all-time favourite urban fantasies, to me the series is Raven with a nice helping of Christian on the side. While we only get to see most of the team from the sidelines, it still packed a nice punch and gave a fr Spellbound is mostly told from Gem's point of view so there's a slightly different feel to it compared to the previous seven books in the Crossbreed series. I wasn't sure how I was going find it because even though I'm a massive fan of this author and the Crossbreed novels are one of my all-time favourite urban fantasies, to me the series is Raven with a nice helping of Christian on the side. While we only get to see most of the team from the sidelines, it still packed a nice punch and gave a fresh perspective to Keystone. Heads up - if you haven't read this series before or you're not up to date, you really need to read the previous books, especially Book 7 (Moonstruck), as Spellbound continues on with a story line that ended in a cliffhanger as well as picks up from a couple of breadcrumbs dropped by the author throughout the plot of other books. As I mentioned, most of the book is told from Gem's perspective and focusses on her trying to fix the dilemma she inadvertently created by using the ouroboros book that Niko had been protecting and hiding for centuries. Niko's in a coma and as the days pass, Viktor is left with the difficult decision of what to do with a Mage that's wasting away with no immediate cure. There's also the major issue of Kallisto being on the loose and possibly out for revenge - the majority of Keystone tackle this issue while Gem works furiously on saving Niko and unravelling the mystery of the red book. In taking a step away from the usual Crossbreed structure, this book gave a new perspective and therefore presented the reader with a taste of something different while keeping with the familiar Crossbreed themes. Due to Gem being the shining star of the story, we get to delve more into her naive, insecure but surprisingly upbeat character as well as learn more about her past and how she ended up as part of the merry Keystone bunch. The story gave a really unique insight to a a couple of key characters. For another fresh take, we also get a few chapters from Claude's point of view. This really surprised me because I thought the secondary story telling would still fall to Raven, but apart from being involved in the usual Keystone shenanigans, Raven takes a backseat and there are no chapters from her point of view. We get to see a brief section from Christian's perspective, but Gem and Niko are the main focus in Spellbound. We also get to read more about Niko's past and are able to spend time with him and Gem as they continue to develop a charming, caring, if not somewhat bittersweet connection. I must mention that I was really surprised that this book seemed to give the impression that Gem and Raven's friendship wasn't as deep and established as I'd assumed from previous novels told from the latter's point of view. I was a bit disappointed by this because I thought the two had built up a special kind of friendship, but Gem doesn't really mention her and says Claude is her only friend. While this book contained quite a bit of character development, there was still a decent splash of the action, humour and general zaniness that comes with the Crossbreed crew. It continues straight on from where Moonstruck left off and there's a nice little preface from the author to warn you that this is Gem and Niko's time to shine in order to do the story line justice that was started in the previous installment. One thing I found really entertaining was seeing the Keystone crew through a different lens. The author did a great job of showing events differently and it was nice to see the team dynamics and Christian and Raven's relationship from the outside. Oh, and for Mageri fans, there's a very brief mention of Justus. Aww, Justus. I love and miss you. This might sound a bit silly, but I'm not sure if I'd class this book as a book in the Crossbreed series or more of a spin off (i.e. a novel set in the Crossbreed world). Sure, the story revolved around Gem and Keystone, but to me, it's just not the same when the key heroine isn't Raven. Don't get me wrong, I love that Ms Dark went out on a limb and continued Gem and Niko's story in order to do the story line justice, but I saw this as more of tying up of loose ends from Book 7 as Gem tries to undo the mess she created from casting a spell from the red book. I guess that's the double edged sword that comes from creating such an amazing bunch of characters with a brilliant, strong female lead like Raven that is such an integral part of the success of the series to me. Anyway, I still really enjoyed it and it was a five star read for me, but I'm keen to return to the norm where Raven takes the lead (but that's mainly because I'm obsessed with her and this series. I'm not even sorry).

  27. 5 out of 5

    TJ

    I actually enjoyed this installment. It is NOTHING at all like the rest of the books in this series, though. It is much more reflective and quiet. Most of the storyline involves Gem and Nico opening up and allowing the other (as well as the reader) to learn about their history, their lives and what makes them tick. In fact there is only one very small action scene in the entire book and even then the majority of it was just talked about after the fact. Although I wouldn’t enjoy this type of stor I actually enjoyed this installment. It is NOTHING at all like the rest of the books in this series, though. It is much more reflective and quiet. Most of the storyline involves Gem and Nico opening up and allowing the other (as well as the reader) to learn about their history, their lives and what makes them tick. In fact there is only one very small action scene in the entire book and even then the majority of it was just talked about after the fact. Although I wouldn’t enjoy this type of story to be the norm - that isn’t what we signed up for, after all - but for a one-time break, it was interesting. I did miss the rest of the gang, though. They are there but very little.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lindap

    3.50 / 4 Stars In Spellbound Gem and Nikko are the MC's with Raven and Christian as side characters. Even Claude is focused on more. This wasn't one of my favorite reads of the Crossbreed series, but I did enjoy getting to know the backgrounds of Gem and Nikko. Who they were before they became part of Keystone. I do wish Gem was a stronger character. Also, the little boy, Hunter, is slowly adjusting to his life with Keystone. It's also only 173 pages, so it's really not a full novel. So as I teet 3.50 / 4 Stars In Spellbound Gem and Nikko are the MC's with Raven and Christian as side characters. Even Claude is focused on more. This wasn't one of my favorite reads of the Crossbreed series, but I did enjoy getting to know the backgrounds of Gem and Nikko. Who they were before they became part of Keystone. I do wish Gem was a stronger character. Also, the little boy, Hunter, is slowly adjusting to his life with Keystone. It's also only 173 pages, so it's really not a full novel. So as I teetered on the 3.50 rating I pushed it to 4 Stars because Spellbound gave us a change to know Gem and Nikko better.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Goss

    The world building in this series is well done. The character of Gem has seemed light, cheerful and sprite like. Niko has always seemed insightful and we knew his past was filled with angst. Readers will learn that there is much more to both. Watching their friendship grow was beautiful and left me sighing. With each book, we have found more of the pasts of these characters that has led to their present. It was joyful to listen to the banter with Raven and Christian and know the love behind it. The world building in this series is well done. The character of Gem has seemed light, cheerful and sprite like. Niko has always seemed insightful and we knew his past was filled with angst. Readers will learn that there is much more to both. Watching their friendship grow was beautiful and left me sighing. With each book, we have found more of the pasts of these characters that has led to their present. It was joyful to listen to the banter with Raven and Christian and know the love behind it. I love this series and I loved this book.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Janine

    This book was different than the other books in the series and I loved it. Relationships arent always about the physical and this relationship between Nico and Gem is just great. Im excited to read how their bond strengthens. I was kind of bummed with how short it is though. I would have liked to see their relationship stretch out a bit farther. Perhaps him helping her with her fear of swimming and her showing him more things. Im excited to see where this goes.

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