is an urban fantasy novel by Lucy A. Snyder — the first in a planned trilogy of books. It's set in a world where magic works but is, for the most part, kept secret. Spellcasters are governed by councils of mages who try to keep everything running smoothly.
The book stars Jessie Shimmer, who starts out as an apprentice wizard in Columbus, Ohio. She's being taught the fundamentals of magic by her lover, Cooper Marron, but after a simple weather-control spell goes seriously awry, Cooper gets stranded in a hellish dimension, a giant monster is unleashed on the city, and Jessie suffers severe injury, losing an arm and an eye. She survives, thanks to her new familiar, a ferret named Palimpsest (or Pal, for short), but the local mage council, corrupt to the core, brands her an outlaw, bars her from trying to rescue Cooper, and puts every possible roadblock in her path.
In the sequel, Shotgun Sorceress,
Jessie has a lot more magical power, but she's also gotten on the bad side of a bunch of magical alien gods, who teleport her to a magic-drained county in Texas, where she has to save her friends and an entire town from a monstrous soul harvester, all while battling her own magically-debased emotions.
The third book in the series, Switchblade Goddess
, finds Jessie at How We Got Here
, where she must face off against the soul harvester, save Pal from an illness that's killing him, and do this pretty much unassisted because Cooper and his brother, The Warlock, have to return to Ohio for a family emergency, and her Long-Lost Relative
is busy helping with cleanup from Cuchillo's having been under siege by said goddess.
The Spellbent Novels Contain Examples Of:
- A Date with Rosie Palms: Jessie, as a result of magic done to her by Miko.
- And I Must Scream: Inazami tried to do this to Miko, binding her in magic chains and dropping her to the bottom of the ocean.
- Anti-Magic: Miko has found a way to cancel out magic in her realm.
- Badass Family: The Shimmers. There's Jessie's dad, Magus Ian Shimmer, Jessie's mom, who was also a powerful Talent. Her brother Randall, and Jessie herself.
- Came Back Wrong: As a baby, Warlock was murdered and then resurrected as a Damaged Soul. Not as severe as most examples, the main consequence is prophetic nightmares and an inability to use White Magic.
- Cannot Tell a Lie: The Devil Kittens cannot lie to Sara, a trait which Jessie exploits.
- Catapult Nightmare/Flashback Nightmare: Jessie's recurring dreams about her mother.
- Cats Are Mean: The Devil Kittens in the second book.
- Child by Rape: Warlock
- Crazy Cat Lady: Sara Bailey-Jones, who owns a large number of Devil Kittens and kills anyone who is mean to them.
- Creepy Child: Blue, through his trauma at his father and stepfather's hands.
- Deadpan Snarker: Pal.
- Deal with the Devil: Miko offers one to Jessie, but she declines. Miko herself made one with the God of the Depths.
- Demonic Possession: One of the demons in Cooper's hell infects Jessie, leaving her prone to occasional spells of going crazy and trying to kill everyone.
- And then Miko does it to her in the third book.
- Destructo-Nookie: Cooper and Jessie have sex to create a thunderstorm. Much later, their attempt to make love is thwarted when Jessie's magical hellfire arm gets overheated and catches the room on fire.
- Jessie and the Warlock also have some mutually abusive sex in Jessie's hell thanks to Miko.
- Determinator: Jessie, so very much.
- Dracolich: Sap Daddy, an old zombie dragon that has been overgrown by plants.
- Driven to Suicide: Jessie's aunt. Jessie feels very guilty about not having been there to see the warning signs.
- Eldritch Abomination: The Virtus Regnum are a race of extremely powerful other-dimensional monstrosities that govern the world of magic from behind the scenes. They're not really bad guys — mostly officious and condescending — but they don't like it when inferior humans strike back at them.
- Entropy and Chaos Magic: This is what both Jessie and Cooper specialize in.
- Evil Phone: Jessie's cellphone when the hell portal opens.
- Eye Scream: Jessie loses her eye early on. The scene where she is magically compelled to jam a magical stone replacement eye into her own socket probably applies, too.
- Feel No Pain: Blue.
- Fertile Blood: Strange moss and spiked vines grow from the ground where Smoky the familiar's blood falls.
- Fiery Redhead: Jessie, in a more literal sense than usual, after the events of the first book.
- Finishing Each Other's Sentences: Poppy and Callie, the twins Jessie meets in Cuchillo.
- Gender Bender: Miko can change her gender.
- Giant Spider: Pal's true form.
- Girl on Girl Is Hot: Miko wants Jessie. And Jessie might want Miko, too.
- Green Thumb: When Jessie has to temporarily move in with some college-age stoners, she pays her rent by magically making their pot plants grow.
- Groin Attack: At one point, Jessie casts a spell to rapidly shrink the underwear of an irritating security guard.
- Handicapped Badass: Hello, Jessie Shimmer.
- Hell: Cooper gets stuck in something very like it. Later, Jessie takes it over to use as a hideout.
- Hell Gate: The series begins when Jessie and Cooper accidentally open one.
- Kill It with Fire: Miko is vulnerable to fire. Or at least, she used to be.
- She also cannot kill using fire, because she won't get credit for the kill if she does, since her brother is a Fire god.
- Long-Lost Relative: Jessie's got a brother she only meets for the first time in the second book.
- Lotus-Eater Machine: Miko has created a paradise-like afterlife for the people whose souls she's consumed.
- Magic Mirror: Commonplace method of communicating among the magically Talented.
- Magic Music: Shanique's singing pacifies Sap Daddy and even weakens Miko's influence over Jessie for a while.
- Malfunction Malady: Jessie's is a non-comedic version. She gets infected with multiple pernicious diseases and loses access to her healing magic. Her hellfire is also diminished.
- Masquerade: Officially, magic doesn't exist, and everyone tries to keep it secret.
- Menstrual Menace: When the Shadow was attached to Charlene, it was strongest during her periods.
- No Name Given: The Warlock. This is a huge handicap for him as having a name affects how one is able to do magic.
- Opera Gloves: Jessie wears an enchanted one over her replacement hellfire arm.
- Orphanage of Love: Mother Karen's place.
- Our Demons Are Different: Demons are pieces of damaged souls, not always malicious but usually wild and violent. Devils are entities which attempt to influence people; the nicest are the muses, but there are also much crueler ones.
- Our Dragons Are Different
- Our Zombies Are Different: Miko makes hers by stealing people's souls.
- Parental Issues: Loads and loads.
- Disappeared Dad: Jessie's dad is alive, but was absent for most of her life. Cooper's father is dead.
- Missing Mom: Jessie's mom is dead, and so is Cooper's.
- Miko's mother is a goddess, who hired a demon to raise her.
- Powered by a Forsaken Child: The childhoods of Cooper, The Warlock, and their little brothers.
- Put Off Their Food: Happens to Jessie and Cooper in Shotgun Sorceress when they discover that, as a side-effect of some necromantic magic they performed, they can feel the death of each item of food they taste. They regretfully pass up the rib-eye steak in favor of a salad.
- Sadistic Choice: Miko holds one over Jessie's head throughout the entire third book, which turns out to have been a trick.
- Sanity Slippage: Sara, as a result of Miko taking her husband. It gets worse when she asks Jessie to bring his soul home, and he refuses. Sara believes Jessie lied, but the kitties tell her the truth.
- Shout-Out: Charlie says, "It's dangerous to go alone! Take this." when she first gives Jessie a Devil Kitten.
- Super Senses: What Jessie gets with her magical eye.
- The Apprentice: How Jessie starts off in the first book.
- The Omniscient Council of Vagueness: The governing magic circles are all about this.
- Training from Hell: What Miko went through to become excellent at killing.
- Urban Fantasy
- Weasel Mascot: Pal, at least initially.
- With This Ring: Cooper places the engagement ring on Jessie's right had because her left is made of sparkly magic.
- Wreathed in Flames: Jessie's replacement arm. It's made out of hellfire until events in the third book change that.
- You Didn't Ask: Madam Devereaux pulls this on Jessie regarding contacting her father.