An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard / Review

Many of you know that I am not a huge fantasy reader. I tend to stick to contemporaries anywhere from romances to thrillers to literary fiction.

However, I do enjoy a fantasy every now and then to break up my reading. I first heard of An Unkindness of Magicians a couple of years ago from Merphy Napier, who is a booktuber I really like! She mentioned that it was an adult standalone fantasy, and that peaked my interest for sure.

I’ve had it on my TBR for a while now, so I’m so happy that I finally got to it!

Goodreads Synopsis

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.


The Good:
  • The magic- I really enjoyed the magic system in this book. It was a lot darker than I had expected, but that made me love it even more. It was just really intricate in the way that it worked, especially once one of the twists was revealed.
  • Plot- As I mentioned, this book was a lot darker than I originally thought it would be, but it was oh so good. I really like any books with magical competitions, and this reminded me a bit of The Night Circus. I liked that there were a lot of hidden agendas for everything, and each chapter gave us a little bit more. And that ending? It absolutely destroyed me. Take that as you will.
  • The writing- I also liked the writing style of this book. It was easy to follow, but filled with very beautiful prose. There were quite a few quotes that really stood out to me from it, which is part of how I judge a book’s writing.

“Magic, at its heart, starts with sacrifice. You have to give up something to get something, and because magic is big, with all that it allows you access to, what you give up has to be big. It has to be meaningful.”

The Bad:
  • Character- I felt like the characters were lacking complexity for me. I love character driven novels, but this one was not the best at making me connect to the cast. There are a lot of characters introduced in the beginning, and I felt like they did not distinguish themselves enough. I got a bit lost and actually started the audiobook over when I was 3 chapters in because of that. However, once you got to know who each person was, I started to enjoy the story more.
  • Action- This was a slower moving story, which is something I tend to prefer. With this one, though, I wish that some of the challenges were described with more detail. I feel like they really could have been fleshed out to be more intense and action-packed. Those scenes were really underwhelming for me, which is unfortunate because I really liked the magic system and would have wanted to see more of it.

This was a really solid, enjoyable read. I would definitely pick up more from this author in the future, and I’m really happy I read this one!

Rating: 4 stars

I would love to know if you’ve read this one and what your thoughts were! I don’t see nearly enough people talking about this book (or the author in general).

I’m also in need of more recs similar to this one, so if you have any, send them may way!

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you soon.

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