Spellsinger, Chapter 18: Party Dynamics in Flux

(If you’re reading the original edition, this is Chapter 14.)

This chapter has completely different tones, depending on which edition you’re reading. The original edition is optimistic as hell, while the revision places the party’s integrity in doubt.

Both editions start out the same way: Kara has finally confessed to stealing the unicorn horn, and Adriane is pissed that Kara almost fulfilled not!Johnny’s evil plan. Kara is dejected because doing good is so much harder than being evil she has no control over her power and can’t make “good magic” like the rest of the party.

Here’s where things diverge. In the original edition, the party gives Kara a gift so she wouldn’t forget about the benefit concert:

“Okay, okay,” Adriane said. She reached into her backpack and lifted out a small box. “Face it, Barbie. You’re a star, whether you like it or not.” Kara stared at the dark-haired girl, then looked at the gift, a small smile appearing on her lips. “What’s that?”

“We all wanted to get you something,” Emily said. “So you would remember the concert and know that we will never forget what you have done.”

“Thanks … but I wish I could forget what I did. You shouldn’t have.”

“Yeah, but we did anyway,” Adriane said.

“I acted like such an idiot.” Kara opened the box and removed a silver and gold band. And in the center was a small clasp ready to hold a stone — or jewel. “Wow. This is really nice!” Kara admitted truthfully.

“Read the inscription,” Emily said, smiling.

To Kara,
Your star will always shine in our hearts.
Love, your friends at Ravenswood.

So wait … Kara gets a present, even though she treated everyone like crap throughout this book? That doesn’t make much sense. Also, it kinda seems like a dick move to give Kara something that reminds her of her mind-rape experience, especially when she says that she doesn’t want to remember it.

That scene is followed by one where the bonds between the party members are strengthened, because no matter what the hell Kara did with that Fairy Map, the party’s ready to face the Sorceress and thwart her plans!

“… whatever the Sorceress tries next, she’s got the three of us to deal with! Right, girls?” Kara held out her hand. Emily and Adriane stood strong and ready, jewels sparkling, hinting at concealed power.

“Right!” Emily put her hand on top of Kara’s.

“Right!” Adriane put her hand on her friends’ hands.

The new edition removes the above scenes and replaces them with one that explains why Adriane had resistance to Charm, while Kara didn’t:

Emily glanced at Adriane and nudged her. “You were also under the creature’s spell, Adriane.”

“Yeah,” Adriane signed. “And I’m really sorry about the way I acted. Really sorry, Kara.”

“I know.” Kara half smiled. “Thanks. But you broke your spell. I couldn’t.”

“Because of this.” Adriane held up her wrist. Her wolf stone sparkled with amber light. A stern look from Emily made the warrior quickly cover her jewel.”

“It’s okay, you can say it. We all know I don’t have a jewel.”

“And that’s why Johnny — whatever it was — was able to control you for so long,” Emily said. “That locket acted like a magic jewel, focusing your magic.”

“Only it wasn’t good magic,” Kara stated. “Just like the last jewel I didn’t have.”

And then, instead of the party deciding they’d best hang together, Kara suggests leaving the party because of her lack of control over her magic!

“…what about the next time? Am I going to turn against my friends when they need me? Or worse?” She hung her head, letting her long blond hair fall over her face.

“Kara, what are you saying?” Adriane asked.

“I … I’m just not good at magic and I hate being not good at anything! I’m not going to use magic anymore. I’ll help out with the Town Council, but you’re going to have to find another mage.”

“Kara, you’re our friend,” Emily pleaded. “You can’t leave.”

“Emily, that’s exactly why I have to.” Kara faced the other girls and animals. “You guys are my friends … and I can’t keep getting you in trouble. I just want to go back to being normal.”

While all this drama is going on in both editions, Ozzie is checking the Ravenswood e-mails. The Town Council wants someone to represent Stonehill in Washington because the preserve has been marked for landmark status. The party suggests Kara (in the original edition), but Kara decides to let Mrs. Windor go instead because she’s still all messed up about not being able to control her magic. Later, an odd shooting star-shaped icon appears on the magitech computer. Ozzie clicks it and discovers a message from Be*Tween and Henry Gardener. I’m posting both letters from the original edition, because their contents are smushed together into a single e-mail in the revision. Here’s Be*Tween’s:

Your concert was wonderful. We’re sorry we could not be there. We hope that until we return, you will continue to spread good magic with music. There is so much to be done. Music to heal, music to fire our passions, and music to blaze forever as inspirations of goodness. Don’t give up on the Spirit of Avalon.
Your friends,

And here’s Gardener’s:

Your path has been opened, young mages. Now you must go forward, together as three, and alone as a healer, a warrior, and a blazing star. It is time to walk your path … and come home. The magic is with you, now and forever.
Henry Gardener

If you’ve read the entire series (either edition), you’ll quickly realize that there’s no way Gardener could’ve sent a message to the party. So how does it get sent? (Thank god his message was added to Be*Tween’s in the revision — it makes things less confusing.)

The original edition just ends there, while the new edition suggests that while Adriane, Emily, and Ozzie are all for going on with their quest, Kara is very hesitant. What will her decision be: stay with the party, or just hang out on the sidelines? Right now … it’s all up in the air.

Status Update!
Kara obtains: a bracelet or necklace for a Sparkly Rock! (original edition only)
Kara leaves the party! (new edition only)

Next time: a new-edition-only epilogue — and the only redeeming part of this book!


  1. Good that so much was changed here to make the books more consistent. Interesting to end it on a downer, but I doubt anyone would fall for that, especially if they knew of the first edition.

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