Under a Spell (Underworld Detection Agency Chronicles #5)
Published: August 6, 2013 (Kensington)
Purchase at: Book Depository or Amazon
Review Source: Provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review
Reviewed by: Amy
Rating (out of 5): 4 stars
Note: While this review will be spoiler free, it may contain information about past books.
I’ll admit, when I started this book I did not know that it was No. 5 in a series. Normally I do not read series books out of order for obvious reasons. I thought, however, for the sake of review I would give it a try. (Read a review of Under Wraps, the first book.)
Sophia Lawson works at the Underworld Detection Agency. She is their only human or “breather” on staff. She is impervious to magic and cannot perform it either. In Under a Spell Sophie’s boss tasks her with returning to her old high school as a substitute teacher in order to find out if there is a coven of witches on campus. The previous year a girl went missing and was found dead in a ritualistic-type of setting leading authorities to believe a coven was responsible. Another girl has now gone missing, hence sending Sophie in to investigate. Her role is only to find the coven, however Sophie’s heartstrings won’t let her forget about the girl and she veers off on an investigation of her own.
Posing as a professor, Sophie’s Guardian Will accompanies her on the assignment. Besides being with the Underworld Detection Agency, Sophie is also the Vessel of Souls. She is a being that holds all the souls of those in limbo. Needless to say, there are those that want the vessel and Will’s main job is to protect Sophie from the fallen angels that would destroy her.
Throw in a love triangle between said Guardian and an abovementioned Fallen Angel and you truly have trouble brewing. Not to mention Sophie’s immortal vampire roommate/best friend Nina, Nina’s vampire nephew Vlad (perpetually 16 even though he’s more than 100), Vlad’s on-again, off-again teenage witch girlfriend Kale who’s none too happy when the vampire’s eyes wander, and Steve the 3 ½ troll who’s in love with Sophie and refers to himself in the third person and you’ve got yourself a crazy cast of characters.
Despite not having read the series before I really enjoyed the story. The mystery of the missing girls drew me in right away and Sophie, while not without her faults, was endearing. She really tried her hardest to solve the case even when everyone wanted her to stay out of it.
I will say that for all Sophie wanted to do the right thing, she was really hindered by her bias. She didn’t have a good run in high school herself and she projected a lot of those pent up feelings into the job. It led her astray and kept her from seeing what I felt was right in front of her face. It also kept her from listening to others’ opinions, which was both good and bad in the end.
The plot was book specific, so if you were just picking this book up you shouldn’t be lost. I felt there was also enough information given about the overall series storyline, that I didn’t feel too confused. There were some things a little unclear, but I’m really interested in going back and starting the series from the beginning.
The romance was very light. My ears perked up when a love triangle was mentioned, but there was very little progress made on that front. From what I could ascertain something big happened in the previous book, so I’m thinking this may have been a slight breather from relationship stuff. And while the mystery was solved, Hannah Jayne definitely directs things into the next book with the ending.
Sexual content: Light references to sex