By Blake Charlton
Tor, $24.99, 410 pages

In this second book of the Spellwright series, Francesca DeVega, a physician in the city of Avel, is shocked when one night a dead patient comes back to life to warn her of the coming war of Disjunction. With an attack following quickly after the warning, Francesca takes the words to heart and goes in search of Nicodemus Weal, an infamous wizard who is in exile. Together they must attempt to undue a demon’s work before the entire world is thrust into chaos and war.

Spellbound is a book that has a clever concept – words having tangible power. All the spells are written, one misspoken word can cause disaster so the entire world operates in an underlying world of hieroglyphs and spells. Unfortunately, the characters get lost in the book. They should be interesting but all seem disconnected from emotion and focused on creating witty banter instead, making it hard for the reader to connect to them. The plot itself is well laid out but lags a bit in parts. Fans of fantasy will still enjoy the twist on magic and likely enjoy this book.

Barbara Cothern