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‘Spells’ a teen faerie drama

Teenage Laurel has accepted her life has changed — especially after she sprouted a blossom and trolls tried to kill her. But now she faces another challenge — faerie school.

“Spells” begins six months after the end of Aprilynne Pike’s “Wings,” with 16-year-old Laurel being summoned to the Academy of Avalon. It’s at the academy Laurel must catch up with all the other Fall faeries, learning rudimentary potions as well as more advanced defensive herbology so she can protect herself and others from trolls.

Laurel knows it’s imperative that she study hard, and she’s committed, but she’s captivated by the vibrant world of Avalon, as well as being a bit distracted by her handsome faerie friend Tamani, who takes her sightseeing.

They entered some kind of open-air fair with hundreds of faeries congregating in doorways, browsing in facade-fronted shops and milling about kiosks hung with sparkling wares. Everything was rainbow-hued and vivid and it took Laurel a few seconds to realize that the bright, multicolored flashes she saw weaving through the crowds were the blossoms of the Summer faeries.

Ignorant to the ways of the fae, Laurel’s shocked upon discovering they live under a caste system. Winter faeries, rare, powerful and revered, protect Avalon’s gateways. Fall faeries, not as rare as Winters, study hard to perfect their skills at mixing potions to protect and heal. Summers, a little larger in numbers, are the artists and entertainers. The Springs, like Tamani, are the most numerous, doing all the hard work that keeps Avalon functioning. To Laurel’s astonishment, Spring faeries have to bow, serve and walk behind faeries of another rank. When Tam follows custom, Laurel challenges him, asking if he would be free to be with her, a Fall, if she lived in Avalon.

“I’m not allowed to ask. You would have to ask me.”
Her breath caught in her chest, and Tamani looked at her. …
“I can’t just storm in and proclaim my intentions. I can’t ‘steal’ you away. I just have to wait and hope that, someday, you’ll ask.”
“And if I don’t?” Laurel said, her voice barely above a whisper.
“Then I guess I’ll be waiting forever.”

Sigh.

After her time in Avalon, Laurel returns to the human world and her very human boyfriend, David. She loves him but still feels strongly connected to Tam. Laurel knows she will have to choose between her two worlds. As if that choice wasn’t enough of a burden, her relationship with her mother has become strained and Laurel knows that they are all still in danger from the trolls.

Pike’s “Spells,” the second in a four-book series, will divide teen girls as the love triangle continues, much in the way of “Twilight.” But what really brings the book to life are the colorful, lush descriptions of the magical Avalon, the images of which are only limited by readers’ imaginations.

And readers don’t have much longer to wait for the third installment. "Illusions" hits shelves May 3.

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