Ed. note– I owe a profound apology to author Monique Snyman. She sent me this novel for review ages ago, and I promised her and myself that I would review it soon after. I can cry about my insanely busy schedule, but in the end I have no excuse. I hope this review, at this late hour, serves the novel well, and that Ms. Snyman hasn’t cut me off from reviewing her future works. She’s got talent, as you’ll see once you read below.– P.F.
Charming Incantations: Enticed begins with a classic setup for a fantasy novel. In time immemorial, the world was in great peril. The supernatural forces formed an alliance that included a Werewolf, Vampire, Banshee, Witch, Shape Shifter and the sole representative of the natural world, a Human. Though the stuff of legends, the group still exists to protect the world from Goblins and other supernatural nasties. It’s an intriguing start for the book, and author Monique Snyman shows a lot of potential. She’s written a novel (the first in a series) that aims squarely at the Twilight crowd, and hits that target nicely. My only complaint is that Enticed spends too much time developing the love affair between Human representative Elizabeth and the feisty Werewolf Romulus, that it plays it safe, where it could have been more daring.
This is strictly because Enticed is the first novel in a series. Like many of the first superhero movies in vogue, the novel takes much of its time establishing character at the expense of action. Elizabeth is the proverbial fish out of water, who needs to learn the ropes from supernaturals who are well ahead of the curve. As our first person narrator, she’s a dynamic character who grows throughout. She’s young, and should appeal to the Young Adult crowd that will comprise Snyman’s audience. She’s at turns sensitive, overwhelmed by hormonal drives, and best of all plucky. Keeping her on her toes is Romulus, the feral embodiment of pure id who’s also sarcastic and playful. Her protector, he takes the role seriously even as he flirts incessantly with her. Yes, this is a romance, and those who pine over Edward Cullen will find plenty of joy here. As a man who’s about to turn 40, I’m not Enticed’s target audience, but as a reviewer I’m wise enough to understand this will work for its intended readers.
I fear, though, that the target audience will all too easily forgive the novel’s greatest fault: It plays itself safe from page 1 through page 158. I know it intends to establish characters and a budding romance, but it does so on safety rails. I wish Snyman had been more daring, thrown challenges and obstacles at Elizabeth from the outset, instead of placing her for so much of it in Romulus’ stately home. By the time the big battle scene, against the Goblin army in a series of caves, comes about 2/3 of the way through, it’s too little too late. If it had come 1/3 in, that would have lit things up.
My only other issue is the prose comes across a little amateurish. But it’s told from the perspective of a young woman, and having taught high school, I know not to expect Shakespearean turns of phrase from that age bracket. Young adults reading Enticed will likely feel it’s written in their tongue, and that probably works as a strength.
Charming Incantations: Enticed is a perfectly enjoyable novel for the Young Adult crowd if those YA’s are into fantasy and horror. Snyman has potential, and I look forward to the next entry, which I suspect will have much more of the action that a second in a series usually provides.