20 Nov 2018

Review - The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel

Title: The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel

Author: Alyssa Palombo

Release Date: 2 October, 2018


When Ichabod Crane arrives in the spooky little village of Sleepy Hollow as the new schoolmaster, Katrina Van Tassel is instantly drawn to him. Through their shared love of books and music, they form a friendship that quickly develops into romance. Ichabod knows that as an itinerant schoolteacher of little social standing, he has nothing to offer the wealthy Katrina – unlike her childhood friend-turned-enemy, Brom Van Brunt, who is the suitor Katrina’s father favors.

But when romance gives way to passion, Ichabod and Katrina embark on a secret love affair, sneaking away into the woods after dark to be together – all while praying they do not catch sight of Sleepy Hollow’s legendary Headless Horseman. That is, until All Hallows’s Eve, when Ichabod suddenly disappears, leaving Katrina alone and in a perilous position.

Enlisting the help of her friend – and rumored witch – Charlotte Jansen, Katrina seeks the truth of Ichabod Crane’s disappearance, investigating the forest around Sleepy Hollow using unconventional – often magical – means. What they find forces Katrina to question everything she once knew, and to wonder if the Headless Horseman is perhaps more than just a story after all. In Alyssa Palombo's The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel nothing is as it seems, and love is a thing even death won't erase.

I received a free ebook copy of this book from the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

My Thoughts:

When I started to read The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel, I thought I was in for a spooky adventure, but unfortunately the novel was a real letdown from many aspects. 

When you engross yourself in a Sleepy Hollow story, you naturally expect a lot of action involving the Headless Horseman – well, in this book he only appears in dreams and as hearsay. Up until the very last pages we don't know if he is a mere legend or more than that. Even the dreams in which he is present are repetitive and therefore they completely failed to excite me.

I understand what the author was aiming for in this book. First of all, she tried to write a feminist retelling of a well-know story in that she succeded. Second of all, she wanted to show that while old superstition made people afraid of bloodthirsty apparitions, in reality people themselves could be monsters enough, even bigger ones than supernatural villains. But hey, I was here for the Headless Horseman, not a drama-ridden love story... I didn't get what I signed up for and the substitute just wasn't good enough.

The focus is clearly on the romance and it is the cheesy kind, unfortunately. I was eager to get through the first part where Ichabod was courting Katrina, because it was plainly boring, but even after they got separated in the middle of the novel, it just didn't get better. I was thinking about giving it up, but I had put too much energy into reading it already so I pushed on till the end.

Guys, if you are after a Sleepy Hollow retelling with lots of Headless Horseman, this is NOT it. On the one hand I'm so sorry I couldn't like this novel, on the other I feel seriously betrayed.

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