Review: Under A Spell by Hannah Jayne

Posted March 5, 2014 by Joshua Burns in Josh, Reviews, Urban Fantasy / 7 Comments

Review: Under A Spell by Hannah Jayne
Under A Spell by Hannah Jayne
Series: Underworld Detection Agency #5
Published by Kensington
Published on: August 6th 2013
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 416
Format: Paperback
Source: Borrowed
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Sophie Lawson was seriously hoping life at the UDA would get back to relative normal now that her boss Pete Sampson has been reinstated. Unfortunately, her new assignment is sending her undercover into a realm where even the most powerful paranormals fear to tread…her old high school. Being a human immune to magic is no defense against soulless picture-perfect mean girls—or a secret witch coven about to sacrifice a missing female student. And Sophie's Guardian, uber-proper Englishman Will, is determined to convince Sophie he's the kind of temptation she should indulge in permanently. Now, as the clock ticks down to apocalypse, he and Sophie will have to summon every trick in the book to battle devilish illusion, lethal sorcery—and betrayals they'll never see coming…



Under a Spell clicked with me up to the last forty pages.    So many of the interactions that I would have thought had gotten old between a non-magical breather, her English-accented Guardian, a fashionista vampire, and her two hundred year old vampiric cousin eternally stuck with the looks of a sixteen year old looked like new.    Steve, the three-foot tall troll, also snuck in an uproarious cameo.    But so much more could have been done with him.    Here begins my laying into the book.

Having reached book’s end, I can tell you that many details are left unexplained involving both the case and the side story.    First, the case.    This time around, Sophie must go undercover into her high school to uncover the possible existence of a witchy coven.   Fantastic premise.

Not only does one get further back-story to peg onto our loveable central figure but also one gets a better idea of witchcraft in this world, a so far sorely neglected paranormal angle.    Where the last book may have been heavily about werewolves, this one details the witch.

Second, the side story.    Nina true to her character – in if not the last book, then the one before it – recognizes her need for a creative outlet.    What starts as a musical quickly devolves into a documentary.    But its status, when all’s said and done and this might be the running joke that is beginning to shape up, is left incomplete and unmentioned.    I think this is a real bummer since I had hopes it would come to a climax of sorts.

I would have mentioned the abandoned details in the case but that would slight all the expectations that you will develop with each new clue.    It seems, if I myself can parse what am I suggesting is, I wanted this book to be three times as long as it is to better accommodate the numerous high school characters who are introduced, a much more thorough development of Nina’s documentary, a werewolf scene or two from Samson, and more appearances from good witches like Lorraine and Kale.

This might be too much to ask even for the parameters of my generous imagination.    It’s like I don’t want to hop into a twelve hundred page read about a klutz, her English-accented Guardian, a vampiric fashionista, etc. but then I remember there are the hilarious moments that come about just when two of the characters greet each other.    Or they find our friend, Steve the troll.

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7 responses to “Review: Under A Spell by Hannah Jayne

  1. I’ve only read her YA contemporary novels and really enjoyed the first one, the second not so much. But I do love her writing voice, I know I have books 1 and 5, can I get away with reading these as stand-alones?

  2. Enjoyed the review. I’ve had this series on my to-read-list. The blurbs on the books sound interesting and I’ve seen some really good reviews on this series.