June 2020 Reading Wrap Up [Books]

June 2020

JanuaryFebruary / March Part 1 / March Part 2 / April Part 1 / April Part 2/ May Part 1 / May Part 2

In the Before Times, I would have been really happy with having read 8 books in a month. Now, I’m happy I ‘only’ read 8, because after hitting double digits for a few months in a row, I hit a sort of mini reading slump at the start of June. But I did hit 75 books total for 2020, so now I’ve increased my Goodreads 2020 Goal to 100. So not too bad all round.

A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians

a declation on the rights

starstarstarstarstar

My Review

I really liked this book, and would absolutely love to read more Historical Fantasy. It was a fascinating look at the revolution in France, the slave uprisings in the Caribbean and the growing abolitionist movement in England, all with the added bonus of magic, and the way its used to keep down different groups of people.

Penny Dreadful, Volume 1

penny dreadful

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My Review

It’s rare I don’t like a graphic novel, but this definitely was lacking in something. The art is fantastic, for sure, but the actual story felt weak. Maybe because it doesn’t really add much to the overall Penny Dreadful story. Prequels are difficult, but prequels done in another format have a lot of different directions they can go in, and this didn’t seem to take advantage of that.

The Ringmaster’s Daughter

the ringmasters daughter

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My Review

Historical Fiction. The cover and description made me think they’d be a touch more ‘magic’ to this, of the kind that can be found in delightful places during dark times, not the sort of magic in A Declaration. Unfortunately, the book was lacking in the magic department, and the love story wasn’t as gripping as I’d thought it’d be.

The Darkwater Bride

darkwater bride

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My Review

Another Historical. This one leaning more towards horror. I enjoyed this. It’s a full cast production of the story, and I think if it had been a single narrator I would have got frustrated, but I honestly really am enjoying a lot of what I’m listening to on Audible.

Hell in the Heartland

hell in the heartland

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Review Coming Soon on Dead Head Reviews

True Crime, a fascinating, heart-breaking account of a community struggling with drugs, murder, arson, kidnapping and grief. Jax Miller takes us right into the events surrounding the disappearance of two teenage girls, while exploring the other issues affecting this area. I strongly recommend this one.

Hold For Release Until the End of the World

hold for release

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Review Coming Soon on Dead Head Reviews

Bizarro Horror, a genre I’ve not had any experience with before. I really enjoyed this, a little more than C.V. Hunt’s Zombieville. If you’re a fan of strange horror, definitely check this one out. I listened to it on Audible too, and the narration was perfect.

The Only Good Indians

the only good indians

starstarstarstarstar

Review Coming Soon on Dead Head Reviews

Horror, man versus nature, a brutal tale I really couldn’t put down. Jones creates vivid, intriguing characters who really draw you along with the story and make you deeply care about what happens to them.

The Never Tilting World

the never tilting world

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My Review

A brilliant, wonderful fantasy that had me hooked right from the start. This book is engaging and beautiful and honestly I could go on and on about how good it is. It feels different and fresh, and I am super excited by the prospect of a second book.

So there we have it. The books I read in June. I’m going to have less free time going forward, so I don’t expect the numbers to jump much up from this now. But I do have a lot of books I want to try and get read this month, as they come out either in July or August. But we’ll see.

 

A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians – H.G. Parry [Books]

a declation on the rights

Genre: Historical Fantasy
Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: June 23rd, 2020

Rating: starstarstarstarstar

As you can see above, I’m trying something a little bit new with the reviews on the blog. Please do let me know what you think about it.

Thank you to Orbit for providing an ebook version of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

William Pitt and William Wilberforce are old friends, drawn together by their careers and enjoying the last years of their youth. But a trip to France, shortly before Pitt becomes Prime Minister, sees them encountering something strange and deadly. Meanwhile, Robespierre discovers his own magical abilities, and uses them to light a spark to France’s revolution. In Jamaica, Fina’s body starts to rebel against the potion that keeps her and other slaves unable to do anything but obey the men who run the plantations.

A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians is a book which covers the growing abolitionist movement in Great Britain, the French Revolution, and the slave uprisings in the Caribbean, with the addition of magic. In this world, the aristocrats are able to essentially use magic freely, as long as their form of magic isn’t too dangerous. The commoners, however, are tested when born, and if they are found to have magic, The Knights Templar – who oversee the use of magic – attach a bracelet to them, which alerts them and injures the wearer if magic is used.

Many of the main characters are dedicated to trying to eradicate this system, seeing it as unfair and cruel, while Wilberforce is particularly troubled by the treatment of slaves. There are many historical names that crop up during the course of the story, and it’s clear the research done for this novel is solid. Parry makes it feel like this book could have been lifted from 18th century. The way magic presented is interesting, but the majority of the book, admittedly, is taken over by dialogue and politics.

This book is politics heavy. It’s something I really liked, but I can imagine would put other readers off. I liked the discussions between the characters, the talks over morality and freedom and responsibility. There were still some tense action scenes too, but most of the big action was sort of shifted off-screen slightly, with the POV characters only taking small roles and not witnessing much of the actual action.

I really enjoyed the verbal exchanges between various characters, which at times felt like reading a dance or sword-fight, as characters untangled their words and tried to plot their next steps.

My only (minor) complaint was that the novel finished really abruptly, but I was very relieved to find out this was the first in a duology.

In a lot of ways, the book reminded me of Johnathan Strange & Mr Norrell, another book I really loved, with the time period and the weaving in of magic with actual historical events. But in A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians, the scope is wider, the story more sprawling, and it covers more aspects than Susanna Clarke’s novel.

I’ll be eagerly awaiting the sequel to this novel, and if you like Historical Fantasy with a heavy dose of dialogue and politics, definitely pick this one up.