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An Unkindness of Magicians av Kat Howard
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An Unkindness of Magicians (utgåvan 2017)

av Kat Howard (Författare)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
4381942,718 (3.88)3
"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"--… (mer)
Medlem:Pamchop
Titel:An Unkindness of Magicians
Författare:Kat Howard (Författare)
Info:Saga Press (2017), 368 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
Betyg:
Taggar:Ingen/inga

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An Unkindness of Magicians av Kat Howard

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This might be a weird review, but I'll keep it short.

Pacing was strange. Apparently high-stakes threats got brushed away with ease and perhaps a bit of anticlimax every time (apart from one major sacrifice, but that kinda got dropped in unceremoniously, with little sense of directed tension and, thus, little payoff). The large cast of significant characters made it difficult to keep things straight, especially Miranda and Madison (both of whom wore the surname Prospero); it took me a while to remember which was which, especially given how much each of them spent around desks and how they both tended to dress formally (if somewhat differently). The protagonist was wildly overpowered. It was difficult to sympathize enough with anyone to care at the beginning, and it took quite a while for me to realize Sydney was the real protagonist of this tale. The author abuses sentence fragments in a way I found deeply frustrating and distracting when she wanted to create a sense of appropriate atmosphere for the reader via description; I had to train myself to look past that while reading.

The emotional challenges ruled this story, though, not the magical or physical challenges, which might be a big part of the reason I like it so much despite all those problems. The real hurt of those emotional challenges sneak up on me, too, because in the beginning the book doesn't really explain to us enough to get a sense of how much she must be hurting when she seems to easily, and unflinchingly, make decisions that we later learn probably tore at her. That "sneaks up on me" character of the emotional struggles lends a sense of accelerating momentum to the tale, because it allows that tension to build through the reader's growing recognition of it.

Sydney was an excellent protagonist, in terms of character concept and execution, even if her power level made any possible threats to her seem (all too often) meaningless after the fact in some way. The richness of the setting's premises, despite it being a very contained world in which the characters operated, really absorbed me once I got past how difficult it was to latch onto something at the beginning.

I want to read a book about Sydney becoming a secret hunter of horribly evil magicians after this, or something like that. The way it ended, and the cost to her, should ensure that statement means something different to people who've read the book than to those who haven't.

Yeah, that ending -- apart from a flaw I already mentioned in the climax -- was great. It was pretty fearless about how it visited the hurt on the protagonist, while still giving her a life to look forward to living.

There may have been other annoyances that I've forgotten, and I'm positive there are good qualities of the novel that I've forgotten as well. Considering how much flaws like those I described can ruin a book for me, the fact this book was good enough outside of those flaws to still elicit a four star rating from me seems significant. I want to read more by this author, though I hope she overcomes her addiction to scene-setting sentence fragments. ( )
  apotheon | Dec 14, 2020 |
Series Info/Source: This is the first book in An Unkindness of Magicians duology. I borrowed this book from the library.

Story (5/5): I really enjoyed this story a lot. Basically New York City is the center for the world of the Unseen and this year a Turning will be taking place. A Turning means that the Houses of Magicians will compete to see which house will lead the Unseen until the next Turning. Enter Sydney, an unknown magician who belongs to the mysterious House of Shadows. She is trying to win her freedom from that House and will do anything to get it. Along the way Sydney finds out magic is failing and struggles to solve that mystery as she struggles to work her way through defeating New York City’s finest magicians.

Characters (4/5): I really loved a lot of the characters in here. Sydney is an excellent character but so are all of the other characters. I will say that there are a lot of characters introduced very quickly, so I had to do some paging back and forth to remember who was who (initially I kept getting Ian and Grey mixed up...which is odd because they end up being very different characters in the end). Aside from the issues of introducing too many characters too quickly, I thought the characterization was amazing.

Setting (4/5): I enjoyed the setting of New York City and how the world of the Unseen was woven into the modern day world. I am not a huge fan of New York City in general but the city setting worked well for this book. I will say that the world outside of New York City was not well developed. I was curious if the world of the Unseen exists everywhere? Is it just head-quarteered in New York City? Hopefully the world will be expanded upon some in the second book.

Writing Style (5/5): I adored Howard’s writing style. I love how she focused on different characters and threaded their individual stories together to make a cohesive whole. It was very well done. Howard’s writing is beautiful and descriptive but easy to relate to. The characters here are engaging and I whipped right through this book. I loved the idea of the House of Shadows and how we get appearances from famous magicians in the form of the Houses of Merlin and Prospero.

My Summary (4.5/5): Overall I really loved this and would recommend to those who enjoy reading about traditional magic woven into a modern day setting. This is beautifully written and I enjoyed the ideas here and the characters. I definitely plan on picking up the sequel, “A Slight of Shadows” and plan on checking out the other books Kat Howard has written. ( )
  krau0098 | Dec 9, 2020 |
This is a fantastic (and fantastical) urban fantasy! Not only does Howard not use the tried and true mystery formula (or any formula), but she’s done an amazing job realizing present-day magical New York. Of course the top magician families are a bunch of rich WASPy snobs. Of course they’d enchant their buildings and offices and landmarks. There are even magical lawyers! And there’s a beautiful sense of wonder to the magic too—cars doing aerial ballet, gardens growing in ballrooms, houses that know how you like your tea.

But as with any society, any fantasy, any magic system, it’s not all fun and games or perfection. Everyone in the story is flawed, some way more than others, and the Turning brings out all the nastiness that you’d expect from a bunch of wealthy white people into politics. Plus there are dark secrets, classism and racism, greed, and the thing I mentioned with the magic. It makes for compelling reading, definitely, and Howard’s prose is on the edge between lyrical and thrilling, which helps.

It’s also one of those novels where every piece, every character, and every scrap of plot is necessary. There’s no padding, but also little or no foreshadowing about how anything or anyone will get used, unless it’s to keep you turning pages to find out when it will. There’s a side plot focused on Sydney’s backstory, and another with a young lawyer, and you think you know how they’ll end but …

Anyway, yeah. If you like urban fantasy, go read this one. You won’t be let down.

Warnings: Slavery and torture. Sexual predation and violence (not condoned).

7.8/10 ( )
  NinjaMuse | Jul 26, 2020 |
As I was reading this, I was caught by just how bleak and depressing the world of magic is. It carried over to me almost immediately and I wondered if I was falling into a black spell.

But no, I think it was mostly just the world of this imagination.

When we're talking about the unkindness of magicians, it's a real dog-eat-dog life with some of the evilest requirements to keep the magic flowing I've seen, brought home even more because it's our modern world. The ending wasn't as bleak as most of the journey, thank goodness, but I was really struck by the effect.

I probably should have been in a different kind of mood when reading this. Maybe I should have been prepared for just how cutthroat it was, but that, in itself, isn't bad if that's what you're looking for. If the author intended it, then Howard succeeded very nicely.

That being said, I'm bogged down in a little bit of an existential horror by reading this. :) Bravo!

I have to wonder if it was just this book or whether the rest of Kat Howard's writing feels like this. The effect is marvelously disturbing. I just didn't want to be disturbed in quite this way, and so my enjoyment suffered. Alas.

Even so, it was interesting to find out exactly why the magic was failing. :) ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
Super solid pick-up for anyone who loves V.E. Schwab or The Magicians! ( )
  allison_s | May 25, 2020 |
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But this rough magic I here abjure...
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"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"--

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