magic

B+
A Marvellous Light

Freya Marske’s inventive and impressive début, A Marvellous Light, is an enchanting blend of magic, mystery and romance set in England in 1908, in which a newly-appointed civil servant finds himself suddenly part of a mysterious and fantastical world of deadly curses, spells and secrets.   It ...

C
Graceling: The Graphic Novel

I loved Graceling and its sequels, Fire, Bitterblue, and Winterkeep, and I also love graphic novels, so I was so excited to see that Graceling had scored a graphic adaptation. Well, at least I was excited until I read it. A graphic novel should be more than a literal illustration of a text. Not only ...

B
Within These Wicked Walls

Within These Wicked Walls is a fascinating transposition of Jane Eyre to Ethiopia with good world-building and lovely prose.  But a sour male lead took this one down a notch or two for me. Andromeda, called Andi, is a debtera – which, in the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, is an itinerant ...

B-
The Last Graduate

Sci-fi/fantasy novels are often written to be read in sequential order and The Last Graduate is no exception. Because the books tell one long story, this review contains spoilers for the previous novel – A Deadly Education - pretty much from the first sentence on. El Higgins has successfully re ...

B+
A Spindle Splintered

A Spindle Splintered, Alix E. Harrow’s wonderful retelling of Sleeping Beauty, stands the fairytale’s premise on its head while managing to hit the right familiar notes to evoke emotions in its readers. Zinnia Gray suffered through a rare industrial accident that has given her a fatal disease ...

A-
Seducing the Sorcerer

Lee Welch’s original and inventive fantasy romance Salt Magic, Skin Magic was one of my favourite books of 2018.  Like most of those who read it, I was excited to read the work of such a gifted new author, and I’ve been eager for more of it ever since.  In Seducing the Sorcerer, Ms. Welch once ...

A-
Blood Like Magic

Blood Like Magic is filled with richly-plotted worldbuilding and complex magical hierarchies.  Overall it’s quite a satisfying and engrossing read, with a few minor issues that kept it from getting a full-on A grade.  It’s a full-tabled banquet loaded with treats – most of them of a rather c ...

A-
The Priory of the Orange Tree

At 848 pages, Samatha Shannon’s fantasy epic The Priory of the Orange Tree is a beast of a book, and a beast of an achievement. The first half borders on perfection, and while the second half isn’t as strong, on the whole it’s a gripping read. Ead, a member of the religious order called the ...

A-
The Chosen and the Beautiful

I absolutely didn’t expect Nghi Vo’s next book to take up the case of the much sidelined Jordan Baker from The Great Gatsby and retell her story – but she has, and she’s done it so beautifully and so spellbindingly that it will captivate readers worldwide. It’s 1922, and when we first e ...

A
Winterkeep

Winterkeep is the fourth book in the Graceling Realm series, and I’d strongly suggest that if you like the sound of it, you start with the first book, Graceling. Like many fantasy series, the books build on each other, and there’s no way to write this review without spoilers. Fortunately, the th ...