Book Review: An Unkindness of Magicians

Posted January 10, 2018 by Kara in book review, Kara / 0 Comments

Book Review: An Unkindness of MagiciansAn Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard
Published by Saga Press on September 26th 2017
Genres: adult, fantasy
Pages: 355
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
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three-half-stars

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.

An Unkindness of Magicians is Kat Howard’s sophomore novel. It’s the first book by this author that I have read, and it will not be my last. I love her ideas even though the book was not a perfect read.

The storytelling was absolutely awesome, and I loved the idea of dueling magicians and a competition to battle for domination of the Unseen World and/or the establishment of your own house. I loved the duels themselves, though they happened awfully quickly and I wished they would have been drawn out a little longer for the excitement factor.

The story was fast moving and full of drama, which is just the kind of fantasy I like. It <i>is</i> hard to follow at times though because of the multiple POVs. Sydney is the POV we are in the most, and it was my favorite. But there’s also a lot of important other characters who have POVs of their own, and there is just a LOT going on in this book.

<i>An Unkindness of Magicians</i> starts out with Sydney perfoming an incredible feat of magic as an audition for a man who wants to establish his own house of magic. Sydney is brilliant and dynamic, and the only character in the book to have a full personality. The rest were fairly flat, to be honest, and there were some chapters I practically scanned just to get back to Sydney and Laurent’s story.

The action kept me engaged, but I fully believe this world and the characters could have been fleshed out better. What exactly does a House of Magic do, and once one is established, how do people join it? Some of the people that entered The Turning were challengers, so they were one person trying to establish a house, so what would happen if they had one? Would they just have a one-person House, and isn’t that kind of stupid?

I also was half disappointed in the ending. I just expected a better outcome for some of the characters than the one I got. I felt they deserved better. I was generally unsatisfied. I appreciate that all of the female characters were fierce bad-asses though, and that’s probably what kept this book at a positive rating for me. I definitely enjoy Kat Howard’s writing but I feel like she tried to do too much here and was unable to pull it together in the end. The book felt a little rushed.

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