Novella Review: Commencement by Paige Cuccaro

Title: Commencement (Hellsbane 0.5)
Author: Paige Cuccaro
Genre: New Adult; paranormal; urban fantasy
Publisher: Entangled Publishing 
Publication Date: September 2012 
Pages: 87 pages
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):

Hell hath no fury like a woman’s scorn for frat guys…

Emma Jane Hellsbane knows something evil is worming its way through her college campus—she can feel it. Literally. Her freakish ability to feel other people’s emotions as though they were her own has always been monumentally awkward, and it’s easier for her to just pretend it doesn’t exist. But this time her paranormal ability just might help her save lives.

Emma Jane’s fairly certain that whatever the hateful, egomaniacal, Godlike thing is, it’s set up shop inside her boyfriend, the frat boy/soccer star Justin. And if she doesn’t figure a way to get it out of him soon, Justin’s soul will be the appetizer to the main course—the whole student body. Problem is, the big baddy is granting sinister wishes, and with each one the risks grow higher and the phrase Be careful what you wish for becomes a real-life dire warning. Of course for Emma, what feels like it could be the end is in fact just the beginning…

My Review:

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed reading this introduction to the Hellbane series considering my usual dislike for novellas. It’s short and sweet but we get to see a great snapshot of Emma Jane at 19 – intelligent, caring and determined to help those she cares about.

With computer savvy boy genius Mihir at her side, Emma tries to work out what’s bothering her boyfriend and first true love, soccer star frat boy Jason never realizing that it’s more than anything she’s seen before. Her empath’s gift is telling her that this is an evil beyond anything she’s ever considered to be real. Jason has found himself a Jinn and not even Emma can come between him and his wishes.

Plot wise – well… there’s not all that much that can happen in 87 pages especially when so much character development is occurring. But I really liked how the characters were detailed. Emma is interesting and Mihir? I’d love to read more about him and his practitioner of the Dark Arts grandmother. The many pop-culture references were another plus in Commencement‘s favour for me. – seriously, Mihir wants to be Giles to Paige’s Buffy? 😀

The first book in the Hellsbane series starts five years after this novella and would not count as young adult fiction since Emma is then 24 but I think that this is a series I could definitely fall in love with.

Thanks to Entangled Publishing and NetGalley for the review copy.

Purchase the novella from:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.