Spell Bound by F. T. Lukens Review

Posted on April 29, 2023

I don’t know about you, but I’m always in the mood for books about a magical society needing to rectify itself by two people who may like each other a lot. Or just a book on magical realism in general.

Edison Rooker doesn’t have an ounce of magic in his body, something that would have kept him in the magical world after his grandmother died: no wand, spell book, or Hagrid to whisk him away on his 13th birthday. While there is no eccentric half-giant with a cake and motorcycle, Antonia Hex is a powerful sorceress on-call for magical emergencies big and small. Thanks to Antonia’s technological illiteracies, Edison is given a new job, and nickname, as the office clerk. Edison–now Rook–is okay with this as long as he’s back in the magical world and its community.

Rook eventually meets Sun, an apprentice of Fable, who is also Antonia’s ‘Frenemy.’ Sun has nothing in common with Rook, who is cheerful, wears colorful clothing, and isn’t afraid to bend any rules in the magical world. Unlike Sun, who wears all black, carries a sour expression, and is a stickler for the rules. However, as magical sidekicks continue to do more missions for their bosses, they hate each other a little less.

Can you tell that I’m a sucker for grumpy/sunshine romances?

The sunshine/rain duo becomes enemies, then frenemies, then friends, and almost something more until the Consortium hears of Rook’s invention, the Spell Binder, which has the ability to detect magical lay lines. Of course, Rook didn’t create the Spell Binder to hurt anyone, but whoever breaks the Consortium’s rules faces dire consequences.

With Sam and Rook’s mentors in a bind, the semi-magical duo will have to work together to get them back or lose any chance of using magic again.

While there’s enough world-building to make planning my next vacation easier, the entire story felt like it had built up to a more significant antagonist. While I loved the resolution to Rook and Sun’s problems, the backstories asked who Rook’s grandmother was before she died, what happened to Antonia’s first apprentice, and what will the Consortium do next. The book was published no less than three weeks ago, but Spell Bound does not deserve to be a stand-alone book. Most of the questions on the author’s Goodreads account are if there will be another sequel for most of their novels, so you can say I’m not the only reader that wants more from them.

This is my first reading from F. T. Luken, and I loved it. I imagine it would be perfect for reading in the summer when school’s out and your friends are away at summer camp. This book is so perfect as an audiobook. Kevin R. Free, who voices Antonia through Rook’s point of view, is an excellent narrator. He should always narrate or voice act for all sassy overpowered witches. Neo Cihi, who voices Sun’s point of view, perfectly narrates as a nonbinary teenager who hates emotions and hot weather. I put Together We Will Go by J. Michael Strarzynsky on my TBR because Kevin and Neo also narrated it.

I hope your experience reading or listening to Spell Bound is the same as mine, if not better. I hope Lukens’ story and the narrators’ voices brighten your day and make you want more out of it.