Blogtober Book Review: An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard

GoodReads Summary:
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 (An Unkindness of Magicians, #1)Review:
This book is one I discovered from the bookish community on Twitter. It’s been raved about by so many people that I bought it. I bought it forever ago and it’s been on several TBR’s, but I finally picked it up because my library had the audiobook. I didn’t totally love the audiobook, but I liked it enough to listen to the whole story. I’m really picky about audiobooks, so this says a lot.
An Unkindness of Magicians was a bit confusing at first. There are a handful of characters introduced right from the beginning of the story and it was a little confusing between who was who and when we switched to a new character’s story. I think the audio did a great job of making it clear which was which (I started reading this physically before switching to the audio.)
I ended up really enjoying this story. The characters were diverse and interesting. This was a way darker story than I was anticipating and I loved it. The characters we follow are all dealing with different things, from planning to change everything about the magical world to attempting to keep a hold on power. I really liked the political complexities of the world and that there was more than one character trying to change the way the magical world was run. I liked the way the magic was written about as well. The author used vivid imagery whenever the characters were actively doing magic and I enjoyed that. I also liked that there were physical consequences for magic use and the big goal of the story was to change the fact that some of the more powerful houses had found a terrible way around these consequences.
Overall, this story was way darker than I thought it was going to be, but I still enjoyed it. I ended up really liking that there were so many characters that we followed. It felt like we really got to see all the different aspects of this magical world. The ending was sort of heartbreaking, but I think I’m alright with it.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

GoodReads Summary:
Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, in fact, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?
Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. These eight windowless “tombs” are well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street and Hollywood’s biggest players. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive.
Ninth House (Alex Stern, #1)Review:
What to say about Ninth House? I absolutely loved this. I don’t understand why so many people didn’t like it. Many said the beginning was slow and boring, but II completely disagree. I was invested in the story almost immediately. I think for me, I can relate to Alex because of our shared history of substance abuse. So, that makes me connect with her in a way many people probably don’t.
I absolutely adored the setting and atmosphere of Ninth House. I grew up a few hours away from Connecticut, I could totally feel the biting winter cold and the old, historical feel of the town. I thought it was so well done, and obviously done by someone who had lived in the area. I know Bardugo went to Yale and clearly spent tons of time researching.
I really enjoyed the societies. They were dark and magical and infuriating. I think this story is told by Alex, an outsider, gave the whole story an interesting perspective. She wasn’t just another rich kid being a Yale legacy. She was working for her place there. I also thought it was great that Alex worried about her classes, her non-society friends, and things outside of her ‘job’ there.
Darlington, my dear Darlington. I spent most of the book wondering what happened to him and then being pissed when I found out. I liked that we got to see him teaching Alex all of the Lethe ways. I liked that we got his backstory too and learn that he’s more than the persona he presents to the world.
Let’s talk about the darker elements of this book. There have been many conversations about the content warnings provided. I don’t really find myself having too much trouble reading about horrible things very often, and this was no different. I actually got to a certain part of the book and remembered one of the content warnings. Then I thought about all the other ones I knew of and actually thought to myself “oh, I already passed the kid eating shit and didn’t really even think about.” I know this is not the case with everyone, but I thought all of the darker aspects of the story were well written, well thought out, and were not included just for any sort of shock value. I though Bardugo handled them all very well.
Overall, I absolutely loved this book. I didn’t know it was going to be a series, so I am HYPED for the next book. I cannot wait to see where these characters are going to go. I had so much fun reading this one and I highly recommend it for those that enjoy darker books.

Quotes:

“Mors irrumat omnia. Death fucks us all.”

“All you children playing with fire, looking surprised when the house burns down”

“Peace was like any high. It couldn’t last. It was an illusion, something that could be interrupted in a moment and lost forever.”

“That was what magic did. It revealed the heart of who you’d been before life took away your belief in the possible. It gave back the world all lonely children longed for.”

“Alex didn’t have money. But she did have power. She’d been afraid of it, afraid of staring directly at that blood-soaked night. Afraid she’d feel regret or shame, of saying goodbye to Hellie all over again. But when she’d finally looked? Let herself remember? Well, maybe there was something broken and shriveled in her, because she felt only a deep calm in knowing what she was capable of.”

 

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.