Unnatural Magic Review

Hello, all!

I'm always looking for more stories led by independent, strong females and Unnatural Magic by C.M. Waggoner checked all my boxes. Big thank you to Ace Books for the copy!

Pub Date: 11-5-19
Adult - Fantasy
Onna is a genius when it comes to writing parameters for spells, and can do so better than any young man in her small village school. Despite her talents, she's denied admission to the nation's leading arcane academy. Onna doesn't let this setback stop her, and she sets sail for the bustling city of Hexos, hoping to earn a place at a university that doesn't frown upon women in magical education. However, she soon finds herself swept up in investigating the recent string of troll murders that've been plaguing the land.

Tsira is a troll, who despite being the daughter of a clan-leader, never truly fit in so she decides to strike out on her own. On her way, she crosses paths with an injured human soldier in the snow and nurses him back to health. The pair form an unlikely bond which is quickly tested as an unknown mage threatens Tsira's life. After tragedy strikes her family, Tsira swears to uncover who's behind the troll deaths before she's next.

This one is a little interesting for me because even though I enjoyed it, I found it a little hard to get through. It wasn't so much the characters or plot, but more the the pacing. There were a lot of dense parts, especially in the beginning due to all the world building, so it is slow going for a while. Despite that, I did end up liking the different cultures and places Waggoner created, and I also enjoyed the way her magic system works more mathematically than you usually see in fantasy. Telling the story through both Onna and Tsira worked well, but personally, I liked Tsira's perspective a little more because she came across way more dynamic, and I enjoyed her relationship with Jeckran. I do wish their paths would've come together a bit quicker because I think they worked well together. Overall, slowness aside, this was a fresh, imaginative and interesting debut, but I was just hoping for a smidge more.

Rating: 3/5


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