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7/10
Review: An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard
Reviews / October 2, 2017

A solid 3.5 star read. Kat Howard enchanted me with her debut Roses and Rot last year, so I was excited to check out An Unkindness of Magicians, her sophomore novel about a hidden world of magic and power. In this “Unseen World”, members of elite magical houses come together every few years to duke it out in a tournament called the Turning, with each family represented by their chosen champion. Ostensibly held to place each house in a hierarchical order based on magical proficiency, the competition may in fact be a front for a more nefarious purpose, as this twisted and snappy tale will soon reveal. Unlike Howard’s first novel which was written in the first person, An Unkindness of Magicians features a larger cast and bounces between multiple third-person perspectives. Our key players include Sydney, a relative unknown who bursts upon the scene with her extraordinary and unmatched talent with magic; Laurent, an outsider who hopes to enter the Turning for a chance to establish his own House; Grey Prospero, Laurent’s best friend who was disinherited from his House as the result of a serious and undisclosed transgression he committed; Harper, an independent magician determined to infiltrate the Unseen…

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8/10
Review: Roses and Rot by Kat Howard
Reviews / May 18, 2016

They say there’s a certain amount of truth in fairy tales. Despite their fantastical nature, the stories usually have some basis in reality, providing a moral compass during turbulent times, often teaching lessons which can be applied to one’s own life. If nothing else, the “trueness” may lie in the big picture rather than the details, such as the honesty of the character’s emotions or the essence of their relationships. How far would you go to save someone you love, for instance? And what might you be willing to sacrifice to get your happily ever after? Roses and Rot is a novel that encompasses these concepts, using metafiction to address the basic literary conventions of fairy tales in order to convey the story’s full purpose and meaning. It follows the lives of two sisters, both of whom are talented artists in their own fields. Imogen, our narrator, is a writer, while her younger sibling Marin’s passion is in dance. The two of them grew up together suffering at the hands of their cruel, controlling and abusive mother, but it was awkward and introspective Imogen who bore the brunt of the mistreatment. This prompted Imogen to leave home as soon as…