Deadly Spells by Jaye Wells: A Review

Let me begin by saying I love ARCs. And I adore our favorite authors who send us ARCs and NetGalley copies of their books. Once again, the Wenches were lucky enough to view Jaye Wells' latest Kate Prospero book, Deadly Spells, on NetGalley! Woohoo! Since I adored the first two, I got to this IMMEDIATELY!

If you want to catch up before venturing into this review, here are the Wenches' reviews of Dirty Magic and Cursed Moon! (Both 4 star reads!) 

(On a side note, these books probably have some of my favorite covers! BAD.ASS!)

Click through to read the Wench review of Deadly Spells! Very mildly spoilery. (But I will assume you are up to date with the events of Dirty Magic and Cursed Moon!) 

Where do I begin? I had a LOT of thoughts about this one. Mostly good, but there might have been a couple of developments that weren't exactly making me jump up and down in excitement. I adore Jaye Wells. I loved the Sabina Kane series, and I love Kate Prospero's world even more! Ms. Wells has a gift for creating the most fascinating universes and completely drawing the reader into the events unfolding in said universe. 

Deadly Spells was no different. The book opened at the scene of a grisly murder. Just the way this Wench likes 'em! It was like something out of Bryan Fuller's artistic and awesome mind, only it was out of Jaye Wells artistic and awesome mind. But what gets our Kate about the crime scene, is that it's someone from her oh so dark and mysterious (and oh so interesting) past. 

"He was Abe's left hand -- his enforcer."

On the surface, the murder looks like an act of retaliation in the always present Coven issues in Babylon. But as Kate observes, it's almost TOO convenient. 

Honestly, Kate's past is something that intrigues me to no end. And is so chock full of issues it makes me rub my hands with glee when we find out ANYTHING about it. I also know Kate will never truly be at peace till she deals with and accepts her past. And the people in it. *cough Volos cough* But more importantly, the truth behind her mother's death and the players involved is what intrigued me from the get go. Especially when you read Kate's recollection of her last encounter with her mother:
"She was smiling and pulling on her coat. Telling me she had to run an errand, but she'd be back before Danny woke up from his nap. Before she walked out the door, her eyes had been bright. "Thing's are looking up for us, Katie. I just know it.""
Kate dealing with her brother Danny makes me SO glad I have zero teenagers to deal with. It's a tough job! My sympathies to anyone who loves the teen they are currently taking care of! But she's made the right choice, allowing Mez to teach Danny clean magic. I really admired Kate for her parenting in Deadly Spells. Danny is going through serious issues at school, and there's a girl in his life, but Kate handles it all like a pro. She gets better at the parenting thing every day, and it's great to read her be such a natural at it, even though she might not think so herself. 

Early on in the book, we meet a new character, Hot Pocket. I absolutely refuse to spoil ANYTHING about him for you guys. Needless to say, Little Man and Mary are great, Aphrodite Jones was awesome, Hot Pocket.... I don't know HOW Jaye Wells comes up with these characters. But I want to live in her mind for a while because the weird and wonderful in there is AMAZING. He's the witness to the murder, and right off the streets of Babylon. And there is a very, very gross, albeit interesting, reason he's called Hot Pocket. 
"What can you tell us about what happened at the church?"

"Already told the guy at the scene. Doody?"

"Duffy," I corrected, biting my lip. 
Love a book that makes me laugh.
Morales calling Kate "cupcake" constantly is something that actually makes my eye twitch angrily since Cursed Moon. I don't know why. It just really bothers me and I had to physically stop myself from highlighting and counting the amount of times he says that instead of her name. It also weirds me out that Kate calls him Macho. Especially at some moments. I'll be the first to admit that I eagerly turned pages to get to any Kate and Volos page time. They have what Wench Barb calls "eye melting chemistry" and she is SO right! 

Super, duper, double dreamy.
I did love Volos whenever he was on page in most of the book, but towards the end, I have to say, I was disappointed. And a little upset. I get that he's a politician, and it's idiotic to expect acts of nobility from them, but I guess I just expected... more from him. All in all, I felt some things that happened weren't lining up with what we've been told about him and shown in the last two books. But then again, maybe that was the point? All I know is, Volos's story line left me feeling empty, and more than a little sad. Mostly because I don't see how things can possibly get better when it comes to him. And Kate. It was something I was excited to read about. It's safe to say I was crushed. The worst thing about hope is, I still have a tiny bit left when it comes to Volos. And I can't explain why. 

It's not that I loathe Morales. It's that he makes me feel nothing. (Except irritation when he calls her cupcake.) He's a great partner. Casual hookup material. Safe material. Awesome friend material. And maybe it turned me off more that EVERY character, including Danny, was pushing Kate to get a room with him. (Had to stop myself from counting the number of times people kept pitching Morales to her too..) It's more like she's doing it because everyone else keeps saying it's so, so it must be true. I don't see the sparks. Not even at the hottest moments. (That could be just me, of course.)

But if I was honest, I'd probably hit that if I were Kate. It's just another way I'd run from my past, my clearly unresolved feelings for Volos and why I avoid him like the plague when I can, and why I'm always so angry at him (although there seem to be other reasons for that too, now.) It's yet another layer to hide behind. But I'm afraid that's not where the story is going and Morales might be the one. And you know what, that's okay. I gave up on team wars a long time ago when it came to the heroines I love. I just want them in a good place when it all ends. And as long as I can get that, I'm good. Kate seemed to have this whole closure thing going in the end, but it was just words. I didn't SEE it. What I did see was a whole lot of anger, and hurt. (Which explained the extent of the anger.) 
Not proud of it, but can't help it.
In total denial about Morales being her HEA. 
Lots of Baba scenes to look forward to, because she's awesome. And we would totally invite her to be part of the Wenches! We'd love to read and discuss dirty books with her! It was great to see things are good with Pen and Kate, and Pen, like a lot of other characters, makes a big decision in Deadly Spells for a very good reason. Kate has a lot to deal with in this one, from the murder, to her past, to Danny's school issues (which are SO relevant in the current state of the world), to a date with someone new. You won't be bored for a single second. 
"The truth is, Kate, sometimes you gotta get your hands dirty before things come clean. Until you come to terms with that, you'll always be at odds with the job."

I gaped at her. "You sound like Volos."

There's also a lot of harsh truth and wisdom in these, especially from Gardner. And I don't think Kate has realized just how true what she says is, but I completely agree. I wish the world didn't work that way, but it does:

"You want to make it a better place? You're gonna have to get over yourself and start fighting the war in the real world, not some fictional battle where the lines between the good guys and the bad guys are clear-cut. In a perfect world our moral choices would be simple, but our world is far from perfect."
You will meet a lot of new Coven members in Deadly Spells, learn a lot of new, interesting things. Kate's MEA team get a lot more page time, especially Gardner, and the facets to her are pretty intriguing. Her past has a lot to do with the case they are dealing with in this, and I loved every second of it! We get to meet shady Uncle Abe again, and hate him even more for things both past and present. There is a lot more going on than just inside Coven politics, or Mayoral politics. New magic, FASCINATING new characters, including a shaman! The more I read of this world, the more fascinated I am. There's been a huge shift in my expectations with the story, but I still couldn't put it down. Ms. Wells does action scenes like few others, crazy confrontations with shamans and angry dogs in a junkyard, murder scenes, climactic scenes at the docks, it's exciting and riveting and impossible not to get completely engrossed!

A must read for fans who have enjoyed the series so far! Just, be warned, you might not be ecstatic about her love life. I wasn't. And it's hard not to let that affect everything else. The thing that upset me most though, was Volos's character arc in this. But the book is an excellent read despite that.

This Wench rates it : 


  1. Oh, Zee, you are not alone in this: I thought Volos is the most intriguing character, simply because there is at least some complexity about him and ambiguity...but after book #2 it became clear to me that stage was set up for pushing Drew as romantic interest and she just cemented it in this one by killing any possibility of her and Volos.
    Great review. :)

    1. Thank you! :) and sorry this reply is so freaking late. But yeah.. I was in deep denial about Drew from the get go. But it's been fairly obvious for a while.


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