Spellbent: My First Novel

book coverSpellbent by Lucy A. Snyder
Paperback & eBook · 368 pages
Published by Del Rey
ISBN-10: 0-345-51209-X
ISBN-13: 978-0-345-51209-3
On Sale: December 29, 2009 · $7.99
Order from: Amazon.com · Random House · B&N · Chapters Indigo · Amazon.ca · Amazon.co.uk · Amazon.de · Amazon.fr · Tower Books · Books-A-Million · IndieBound

Also available in ebook formats: Kindle · Nook · ePub · PDF · Mobipocket · Microsoft Reader

Also available in French as Liens Infernaux.
Also available in Russian as Opasnaia magiia (Опасная магия).

★ Selected for the 2009 Locus Recommended Reading List
★ Nominated for the 2010 Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel

The story continues in Shotgun Sorceress and Switchblade Goddess

"Apprentice wizard Jessie Shimmer breaks a lot of rules to get her boyfriend/teacher back from hell in this quirky and fast-paced dark urban fantasy, a very impressive first novel."

"Another first novel that deserves widespread attention is Spellbent by Lucy A. Snyder, which moves freely between a modern America penetrated by magic and a darker region of hell, with a blunt, kick-ass heroine who turns out to be one of the year's most likeable first-person protagonists."
LOCUS reviewer Faren Miller

Dangerous Magic"Notable first novels this year included Lucy Snyder's Spellbent, a fun and distinctive dark urban fantasy, full of attitude, humor, and bits of real horror in a fast-paced tale following student mage Jessie Shimmer as she tries to rescue her teacher from hell."
LOCUS reviewer Carolyn Cushman

"Snyder combines the best of Jim Butcher and T.A. Pratt in this wildly imaginative and intensely gripping urban fantasy trilogy launch. ... Threads of romance, horror, action, and humor weave throughout, serving as the perfect backdrop against which memorable characters and a unique system of magic can shine." (read more)
Publishers Weekly starred review

"A fun, action-packed adventure" (read more)
SF Site

"It's a book with balls. Big meaty ones." (read more)
Lurv a la Mode

"Snyder's first Jessie Shimmer novel is a lot of fun to read, is loaded to the brim with action, monsters, and surprises around every corner. Shimmer is a tough-as-nails, smart female lead who I think most genre fans will take to before the second chapter ends." (read more)
Horror Fiction Review

Liens Infernaux"Jaded urban fantasy fans should consider giving Spellbent a try. Snyder adds together a determined yet flawed heroine, fun secondary characters, a plot with tons of forward momentum, and one seriously creepy Hell, and the end result is a visceral, powerful modern-day Orpheus myth." (read more)
Fantasy Literature

"(Snyder's) real strengths lie in telling a story brimming with energy and attitude ... you can't help but throw yourself on for the ride." (read more)
Graeme's Fantasy Book Review

"Fun, exciting, and mixed with humor ... this is one that demands to be read." (read more)

"Jessie makes a nice change from the (usual) heroines of urban fantasy stories ... Snyder is off and running and the story doesn't slow down until the final page." (read more)
The Green Man Review

"Ignore the cover and the back-copy and buy this damn book. Buy it now. Have a damn good time reading it. Thank me later." (read more)
Horror News

"This fast-paced urban fantasy has a few twists that make it stand out from the pack. Yes, the plot moves quickly, but that doesn't stop Snyder from developing her characters and building her world. Fans of Kim Harrison's Rachel Morgan series should be pleased with Jessie, another butt-kicking female witch who doesn't let anyone tell her what to do."

"Lucy Snyder's Spellbent marks the debut of a real talent. It's a gripping ride of a story – I couldn't put it down!"
— Sarah Langan, author of Audrey's Door

"Spellbent is a total blast! A fun, unique, and constantly surprising contender for the urban fantasy crown. In her thrilling trial-by-fire debut, Snyder's heroine – Jessie Shimmer – is transformed from young apprentice to first-class magical butt-kicker. I can't wait for book two!"
— Christopher Golden, author of The Myth Hunters

"Snyder's writing is as hypnotically fascinating as her characters. She takes you on an exhilarating ride of magic and mayhem. I loved every minute I spent with apprentice witch Jessie and her familiar Pal as they embarked on a dark and dangerous journey to find her lover."
— Sèphera Girón, author of Mistress of the Dark

"(Spellbent features) a cast of unforgettable characters and relentless action and suspense. Snyder masterfully weaves a fantastical plot into a real-world setting, never once breaking stride."
— Deborah LeBlanc, author of Water Witch

"Lucy Snyder hooks you from the beginning, delivering a strong protagonist and a fresh, engaging world of magic. I can't wait to see what she does next."
— Alice Henderson, author of Voracious

Spellbent is an urban fantasy set in Columbus, Ohio. It contains a lot of humor to balance out the gritty bits, and I'd like to think it has the sense of wonder that's missing from a lot of current urban fantasy. I tried to write the kind of book that excites me as a reader who enjoys a wide variety of genres.

Here's a quick synopsis of the novel:

Jessie Shimmer's roguish lover, Cooper, has been teaching her ubiquemancy, the art of finding the magic in everyday things. But things go terribly wrong when the couple try to call a rainstorm in downtown Columbus. A hellish portal opens, and Cooper is ripped from the world. Worse yet, a vicious demon invades the city. Jessie barely manages to slay it, but she's gravely wounded and the capital's center is destroyed. As if losing an eye and a hand isn't bad enough, the city's ruling mage, Benedict Jordan, brands her an outlaw. With only her ferret familiar to help her, Jessie must find the dimension Cooper's trapped in and bring him back alive before sinister machinations make both of them vanish for good.

If you'd like to read a sample, click the link below to go to the first chapter of the book, which is entitled "A Simple Storm-Calling"; please bear in mind that it does contain some violence, profanity, and sexual content.

>> Spellbent: Chapter One, Part One

Spellbent's Frequently-Asked Questions

Q: Who painted the cover art?
A: Dan Dos Santos is the artist; he's also done the covers for Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson series and T.A. Pratt's Marla Mason series.

Q: What's with the ferret on the cover? He looks a little out of place perched there on that big demonic wyrm.
A: The ferret's name is Palimpsest, and he's Jessie's familiar. He's an important character, so he needed to be on the cover. The artist's original version omitted him, and so Pal does have the look of having been added in later. I think Dos Santos did a fabulous job taking an action- and image-packed storyline and condensing it into an exciting, eye-catching cover image.

Q: Is that big demonic wyrm also a major character?
A: I've nicknamed the wyrm Mister Not-Appearing-In-This-Book. :) He's a composite representation of the several dragons, firedrakes, and wyrms who do appear in the novel.

Q: What about those strange eggs? Are they in the book?
A: The dragon eggs do feature prominently in one scene. More metaphorically, I believe the artist thinks the novel has great big huevos.

Q: In the bit about "things go terribly wrong" in the synopsis above, do you really mean "through our stupidity while playing with magic, we opened a portal to hell"?
A: Er, no. The portal to the hell is not opened due to stupidity on the part of the protagonists. The reason why a fairly routine spell for them went horribly, drastically wrong is a major part of the ensuing plot. But don't take my word for it: read Chapter One for yourself ... the portal gets opened toward the middle of the excerpt. If you want to skip right to the action, go to Chapter One, Part Eight.

Q: How long did it take you to write the novel?
A: It took me a couple of years, mostly because I kept setting the manuscript aside to write other things.

Q: How long did it take you to sell the novel?
A: I sold Spellbent fairly quickly; you can read about that in How I Got My Agent.