So Catching a Sorcerer is about a teenager named Mel who had to move from Halifax to Ottawa a while back ever since her mother, Lavinia passed away, and has been living with her stern Gran named Alberta who only lets her out of her sight for school and the bathroom. The reason: Mel is an almost-turner. You know, nearly a sorcerer but not quite up to the task just yet. She also has a love interest named Rory who is apparently a superb musician but with the great lengths Gran will go to annoyingly protect her from apparently exposing her powers, a good relationship could be hard. I've read a lot of books and seen a lot of movies with the "You're not ready yet to go above ground and someone might realize your powers," and that is often an annoying and derivative-of-everything plot structure, but here I think this is one of the few books alongside Michael Vey to do it right. Then one day out of the blue after a not so good day of turning potions, most notably the Alacroport spell, an elf named Ethelwulf arrives at their apartment and demands Mel go on an undercover mission to try and figure out the "focus". You know, the energy generator, of Sir Gerrard Lebrun, by getting to know high-school outcast Savion Lebrun. The thing is, Gerrard is apparently a top-notch sorcerer and Mel is brought out for the mission even though noone's ever come back alive after trying this.
Let me just say, again, that I related to Melantha Caldwell just as much as Carson Phillips from Struck by Lightning, if not more. Her world seems to be in perfect harmony with mine, about how in regular schools people generally go out for pizza and burgers unless it's seriously cold, about how Mel is sick of boiled potatoes, about how to apologize to someone like, say, an ogre, for ever thinking he would hurt her, about now living in the age where it's good to get as much sleep as possible before school, about how annoying yet underrated some people may be, the list goes on. Every time Mel gave her opinion, I thought to myself, "That's me." I can't tell you how many books I've read where the author goes overboard into background detail or relationship problems and doesn't focus on the action or story. Maybe that's because there are no superhero books out there with only action and no kissing. Like, ever. Here, Catching a Sorcerer has many surprises of it's own, most notably this troll and this punishment principle that creeped me out in a good way, which paints themselves into action that stays human. Or if it's not action packed, it's busy describing comprehensibly what it's like in these magical rooms and forts in the eyes of a teenager who has never made a successful potion. Sending a girl like Mel in for a serious mission like this keeps her incredibly vulnerable and unbulletproof, and we feel that way too. Not to mention these are some great characters and they're all cleverly given the spotlight without going into some unnecessary back story.
The ending I found very surprising. I thought to myself, why did Mel say "yes" to that? Was it for the greater good like June thought it would be when she made her decision at the end of Marie Lu's book Champion? It's a decision I certainly won't forget for a very long time. I can't wait for Catching a Demon.