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.

Venators: Promises Forged – Devri Wells [WriteReads Ultimate Blog Tour]

Goodreads Summary

It has been mere days in the world of Eon, where Rune Jenkins, her twin brother Ryker, and their friend Grey have been trapped, fighting for their lives. After discovering the truth of their ancestry, the three are far from home, and far from anything resembling their mundane lives of the past.
While Ryker is still held captive by the eerily beautiful Zio and her goblins, Grey falls into the clutches of Feena, the Fae queen. She begins to drain his soul bit by bit to feed her dark underground garden, and Grey has no hope of escaping on his own.
It is now up to Rune to save Grey, as his precious time slips away inexorably. But the Council has denied her permission to embark on a rescue mission, until she can harness her Venator gifts and prove herself capable of venturing into the Fae queen’s territory. As Rune discovers that promises in Eon are forged with life-or-death consequences, she realizes that she must act quickly, or else be swallowed – and Grey along with her – by the dangers of Eon.

venators 2

Review

So today is my stop on The Write Read’s Ultimate Blog Tour for Venators: Promises Forged. I was really excited for this, after being part of the tour for Venators: Magic Unleashed, and absolutely loving that book.

It did not disappoint.

The first book left things fairly unresolved, and the second picks up immediately after the first, with the characters recovering from their adventures. They have to deal with the fallout of their actions, and both Rune and Grey realise the world they’re in is a lot more complicated than they initially thought.

Promises Forged does a great job of deepening this world, revealing more of the politics and customs surrounding the council and the various situations likely to affect these characters. We also get glimpses of Ryker, seeing what effect his imprisonment and the strange world he’s found himself in are having.

We get to see more of Rune and Grey, as well as witnessing the consequences suffered when they rush into situations without fully understanding them. Rune, though desperate to get her brother back, knows she cannot do her job without Grey. And Grey still just wants to help people, but through the course of book 2 they both learn how they might be able to use the various rules and constrictions to their advantage.

I really enjoyed seeing more of the characters around Rune and Grey in this book, as well as the further worldbuilding that takes place. There’s some interesting antagonists introduced, and the last third contained enough twists and turns to make it feel almost like a rollercoaster.

Sometimes, in a trilogy, the series starts out with a strong premise that maybe falls a little flat in book 2. It’s the second book which will convince people to read the next, and even if the series is longer, I think it’s the second book which can really hook people in and make them stay for the duration. It can be dangerous territory, but Wells pulls it off really, really well.

Promises Forged delivers on, well, it’s promise. It does exactly what a second book needs to do; it resolves some situations, while leaving others open to be continued in the next book, it deepens our understanding of the world and develops the characters further, while putting them in even more danger than the first book.

I liked the first book, but I loved the second., It was a fun, enjoyable read that does a lot for this series, and now I feel completely engaged with Rune and Grey’s story, caught up in this world and the possibility of what might happen to them. Both Magic Unleashed and Promises Forged, with everything you could want from a portal fantasy and more.

We Hunt The Flame – Hafsah Faizal [Books]

we hunt the flameZafira is The Hunter. Disguised as a man, she enters the dark, dangerous, cursed forest, to feed her people. If she is exposed, it will all be for nothing, her actions rejected no matter what good they have gone. Nasir is The Prince of Death. The heir to the throne, and an assassin, killing by order of the sultan.

Zafira is tasked with a quest: to go to a cursed island, and restore magic to the land. Nasir is issued with an order: to kill the Hunter, and steal whatever is required to restore magic.

We Hunt the Flame is the debut novel for author Hafsah Faizal. This is something I’ve said about other novels before, but it also applies to this one – it doesn’t feel like a debut. The worldbuilding is tight and we’re introduced to this land in a really fluid way. Everything feels natural, rather than events stopping to explain to the reader exactly what one thing or the other is.

Faizal skillfully weaves together this world and characters, making them feel completely and utterly part of one another. And the relationships built up between the various characters, whether it’s the relationship between the two protagonists or between them and the ‘side characters’, are an absolute delight to read.

The danger hangs over the heads of the characters throughout their journey, and Faizal effectively increases the tension and mystery with every page, keeping the reader absolutely hooked. I found myself completely caught up in the characters’ quests, eager to see how they would cope with the next obstacle thrown in their way.

There are familiar tropes buried within these pages, but given a fresh breath of life at Faizal’s skillful hand. The characters and this world are fun to read, the events that transpire are absolutely gripping, and I can already see this being one of my top books read this year.