The Book of Spells by John J. Miller – Book Review

Hello fellow book nerds!

I am finally working on some old reading copies I have been given and this was one I’ve had for way too long.

This was one of my first books from YABC that was provided to me so a huge thanks.

Happy Reading!

The Book of Spells

John J. Miller

2.5 out of 5 stars


Taken from Goodreads


Transporting the reader back to Southern England into the midst of the seventh century, THE BOOK OF SPELLS takes readers to the Kingdom of Vilgar, governed by a generous king in whose household an evil wizard has positioned himself. Convincing the king that his powers of magic and premonition will benefit the kingdom, Malecar becomes the court wizard, surreptitiously studying the dark arts in his quest to rule over the kingdom. When Martir, a kind and gentle wizard arrives, he is appointed Malecar’s apprentice and becomes a close friend and confidant of the king’s son, Audric. The forest bordering Vilgar is a refuge to three witches. The women are in possession of a book they cannot open. Dabbling in the dark arts so that they might protect themselves, they realize that the book may contain the darkest of spells. Confronted by Malecar, the sisters give him access to THE BOOK OF SPELLS, and the evil within him allows him to open it. What happens when an evil wizard has access to powers beyond his wildest desires? Or when a gentle wizard becomes his nemesis and the only protection for the Kingdom he serves?


I really went back and forth on the rating of this book, which is why I decided on the half star. There were things that worked and things that didn’t. Let’s start with the things that did work. I really enjoyed the story as a whole. The way that Arthurian legend was brought in definitely sold me as well since I’m a huge Arthurian fan. It wasn’t enough to feel like it was just being used but had just the subtle amount. This book was also very descriptive which I appreciated it. Each setting was well described and easy to imagine but the words didn’t really repeat themselves. My issues with the book was more on the pacing and the dialect.

The beginning of the book felt so slow and the ending very rushed. This book definitely sets up for the second one but I honestly felt like this could have been one book with a majority of the beginning cut out. While it does set up nice character arcs and a background of what’s happening, I think it was a little too expanded on. The focus on the beginning didn’t really leave much room for the climax or ending of the book. The dialect was my next major issue. This one actually bothered me a lot. It was the dialect of the King and Prince. There are so many characters in the book that speak the English language with no accent. But then the King and Prince, who should be the most educated of all the characters, spoke in an accent and using words that no one else seemed to use. It really bothered me and it honestly took a lot of enjoyment out of the book for me.

However, I really did enjoy the characters themselves. While I thought the focus was going to be on the three witch sisters, they actually played a very small role. Audric and Martir were really the ones with the majority of the time but I liked them. It’s always refreshing when there is a good King and Audric was one of the bests. Martir was an interesting character as well with his magic and support of the kingdom.

Final Thoughts

Overall, The Book of Spells by John J. Miller was an okay book but had a lot of potential. The story itself is solid and interesting but a lot of bad choices were made with the final product. The pacing in of the book is not good, with a slow beginning and a way too rushed ending. This book would have really benefited from a shortened beginning to a more elaborated ending that didn’t feel like it was over right when it started. Along with the pacing, the choice of dialect just did not work for me. It wa so hard to enjoy the King and Prince when their dialect was so different and did not make sense for their position. I really thought the characters were well developed and definitely made me want to know more about them. If you can look past some issues this is a good little short read, unfortunately, I was unable to look past them.

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