[Review] An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard

Title: An Unkindness of Magicians
Author: Kat Howard
Publisher: Saga Press
Publication Date: September 26, 2017

There is a dark secret that is hiding at the heart of New York City and diminishing the city’s magicians’ power in this fantasy thriller by acclaimed author Kat Howard.

In New York City, magic controls everything. But the power of magic is fading. No one knows what is happening, except for Sydney—a new, rare magician with incredible power that has been unmatched in decades, and she may be the only person who is able to stop the darkness that is weakening the magic. But Sydney doesn’t want to help the system, she wants to destroy it.

Sydney comes from the House of Shadows, which controls the magic with the help of sacrifices from magicians.divider_line (1)Review: This was such an incredibly dark and deeply satisfying urban fantasy! It’s basically Gossip Girl meets The Magicians. Lots of drama and social-climbing, but even more duels, murder, and revenge plots. It’s all about a duelling competition called the Turning where magicians duel to see which House comes out on top.

I love how magic is set up in this book. It comes at a price, and the bigger the spell, the bigger the consequences. The House of Shadows was put in place so that magicians can make sacrifices so they don’t have to pay the price themselves. Those who do end up paying the price are known as Shadows, which is what Sydney is.

She has incredible power, which is why Laurent hires her. She is a sure thing to help an outsider like him establish a House on his own. Although, unbeknownst to him, she has her own agenda. I absolutely love her character because she is so brutally honest and having no emotional attachments makes her ruthless. She doesn’t allow anyone or anything to get in the way of her endgame or her freedom.

There were two things I think could have been improved. One, I wish there was more explanation for the Turning and the history behind it. Two, the POV’s would switch at the end of a paragraph and sometimes I wouldn’t know who it was.

All the characters in this book are pretty much morally ambiguous in some way or another, which was amazing. I can’t say there was really a single good person in this book at all. Okay, maybe one or two. But all the main characters had me questioning them at every turn. I honestly didn’t actually know who was going to make it to the end. There were a lot of twists happening throughout the book. Alliances kept changing, families were torn apart, and plots kept unfolding.

Overall, an incredible read! If you love a fantasy that is action-packed, filled with mystery, murder, suspense, magic, duels, and revenge, then I highly recommend An Unkindness of Magicians!


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