Book: Ruthless Magic (Conspiracy of Magic 1) by Megan Crewe
Release Date: May 30th 2018
Tags: Fantasy / Magic / Dystopia / Contest / Champion / POC / LGBTQ+ / Trigger Warning / Animal Cruelty
Each year, the North American Confederation of Mages assesses every sixteen-year-old novice. Some will be chosen. The rest must undergo a procedure to destroy their magical ability unless they prove themselves in the mysterious and brutal Mages’ Exam.
Disadvantaged by her parents’ low standing, Rocío Lopez has dedicated herself to expanding her considerable talent to earn a place in the Confederation. Their rejection leaves her reeling—and determined to fight to keep her magic.
Long ashamed of his mediocre abilities, Finn Lockwood knows the Confederation accepted him only because of his prominent family. Declaring for the Exam instead means a chance to confirm his true worth.
Thrown into the testing with little preparation, Rocío and Finn find themselves becoming unlikely allies—and possibly more. But the Exam holds secrets more horrifying than either could have imagined. What are the examiners really testing them for? And as the trials become increasingly vicious, how much are they willing to sacrifice to win?
Ruthless Magic seems to be getting great reviews so far and I was so excited to read this book. But I am just going to stand in the corner again for being the odd one out, again.
It isn’t a bad book, do not get me wrong. I enjoyed reading this book. But that is about where it stayed. I think the biggest thing for me was that it just wasn’t memorable. It doesn’t quite stand out from the crowd.
A lot of that, for me, has to do with the characters. They are likable but not memorable. The story focuses on Finn, who comes from an old magical family, and Rocio, who is considered new magic and poor. Just from that one would think that they are quite different. Yet when I was reading the chapters I sometimes didn’t see the change in character. I sometimes mistook Rocio for Finn and vice versa halfway through a chapter. . They just didn’t have a distinct voice from one another. It didn’t help that the point of view changes every chapter.
Having said that, beyond the not distinct voices, I do think the book was written well. The pacing and set up of the plot were done well. The world building was also done well. Having two main characters from two different sides of the coin helped a lot with this. Though I thought Finn’s reasons for joining the exam were a bit flimsy.
I quite liked the idea of the magical community feeling the pressure on revealing itself to the rest of the world as they have done in this book and some of the troubles that brings. There is some commentary on privilege that Finn has for instance, and I liked that he was so aware of that for the most part or that he could be called out on it and he would listen.
Overall the book reminded me of Red Rising and The Hunger Games a lot with the different groups of people, the game element and some of the brutal element the story has. I think for that this book would be a good fit for those that quite liked these books.
I would like to warn for some animal cruelty at the start of the book where someone deliberately kills their own pet to make a point. That was not okay.