What a fantastic novel. The thing that worked out best for this novel was how reminiscent it was of Final Fantasy VII. The idea and concept behind the novel, of magic being this thing that exists all around the planet, it is the source of life and a gift to some people. While Spellhacker seems familiar, the modernity of the novel, the characterization, and world-building give it a fresh edge.
The pacing here is also magnificent. The story opens with such a rush, introducing the characters and the world. It is a little jarring to be thrust in the middle of a character on the run from the police, but it offsets the tension and hooks the reader. Moreover, as the story progresses, it gives the reader an idea of the type of magic in this world, and the type of character Diz is.
After sucking the reader into the story with a fast-paced opening, the reader gets to know the dynamics between the characters. They have a strong family dynamic, being there for one another, and for Diz, this is hard to reconcile with the pain she has from losing her family years ago. It makes it tough for her to break down her barriers, and the entire story is not just about undermining an evil corporation that is threatening the entire planet, but it is also about finding a way to feel again.
Spellhacker is more than just an Oceans 11 type story with a Final Fantasy atmosphere; it is about the characters learning to open themselves up to the type of love that also means risking pain as well. It is about moving on from the grief of the past and those chains that way a person down. True, Diz does come off as selfish at times, but she is still an understandable and relatable character. Her fears, anxieties, her love and devotion to her friends, it makes her a grounded character and highlights her growth as a character.
Overall, a great fun, fast-paced read with diverse characters and an action-packed plot. (★★★★☆)
|Pub Date: Jan. 20, 2020||Page count: 416pp||Age Range: 14 & Over|
|ISBN: 978-0-0626-5770-1||Publisher: HarperTeen||List Price: $17.99|