An Unkindness of Magicians
by Kat Howard
Recommended for a fast, fun read
Published by Saga Press
Publication Date : September 26th, 2017
Available as eBook & hardback – 352 Pages
Source : Library
As frustrated as I was with Roses and Rot back in 2016 I decided I wanted to try another Kat Howard. I never could completely click with Roses and Rot, the more time I spent away from it the more I grumbled about it. Thankfully, An Unkindness of Magicians was an improvement for me. There was definite growth here, though there were still somethings I wish we had more of, I feel like it was in the right direction.
Just like her previous book this one is a urban fantasy, though not nearly as dark as Roses and Rot. And just like Roses and Rot it’s a ‘hidden world’ type of urban fantasy where a society lives amongst us without being revealed. If we look at this book as just a fun popcorn book and not too deeply this one was fun and did that well. If I let myself think on it I do wonder on how well that was thought out with these grand duels and deaths, the big effects, etc. The both isn’t exactly made for that though, I think it is meant to be just a fun and twisty ride.
We have an assorted cast, including the main female lead – Sydney from House Shadow, who dominates the story. Everything circles around her and through her. Ultimately everything comes back to Sydney, making her not quite the chosen one but damn close. She is, for the first part of the book, aggravating but fun to follow. She’s angry and distrustful, all edges because of where she comes from. She has stepped into this hidden world of magical Houses during their a grand tournament where they choose the next house to lead their very secret society. She pulls together a group of individuals to help her in this, all of whom knit together outside of her because of how small this society seems to be. Through them we do get glimpses of the rest of the world, little teasers if anything on how things are run and worked.
About the time the halfway mark is met she seems to become very quickly quite a bit trusting and the book unfurls towards it’s ending. Just like Roses and Rot this novel’s conclusion did feel a bit rushed. I was hoping for a bit more time, both with the characters and in the tournament. Sydney’s character fluctuates between that angry and distant mode and a more believable and trusting one in a way that I’m still not sure was intentional. I wanted more to her, unlike the setting which I could ignore for the type of novel it was I wanted more in Sydney. We get a few glimpses of what life was like for her that built her up to the way she was, very few. We also see glimpses of her soft side, I still recall her talking about the blankets on the foot of her bed and being cold – I loved that image. We just don’t get enough.
That can be said for most of the cast at that point though I do think Sydney was the focus. The tournament felt second to Sydney and what she wanted to do, everyone else felt like tools for her to use. It was a fast and tense ride and one that did keep me thinking about it even after I’d put it down. I’d recommend this for someone wanting something light and fast, it’s a great popcorn read. You may come out asking how it could all really make sense or wanting more out of Sydney but it was a ride and I’ll definitely keep reading more from this author.