In a fantasy-world New York where everything is controlled by magic energies that are fading away for mysterious reasons, a rare magician with unmatched powers and unique awareness of what is happening resolves to destroy the system she unwillingly supports. - (Baker & Taylor)
When the power of magic begins to fade in New York City, Sydney, a new, rare magician with unmatched power, may be the only person able to stop the darkness that is weakening the magic. - (Baker & Taylor)
"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"-- - (Baker & Taylor)
'A remarkable writer.' 'Neil Gaiman, bestselling author of American Gods
An Alex Award Winner
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. - (Simon and Schuster)
One woman's quest for revenge transforms New York City's hidden, magical community in Howard's second dark fantasy novel. In the Unseen World, power can be made and unmade during the Turning, when each House's champion—magicians selected by blood or hired by contract—duel for prominence. New Houses may be established, powerful ones may fall, and one House will become ruler. For Sydney, an unknown magician with matchless ability, contracting with a candidate house offers a chance to destroy the House of Shadows, the Unseen World's shameful open secret. However, others want to expand Shadows' parasitic influence or steal its ill-gotten power. Howard's vengeance-fueled urban fantasy is stylish, macabre, and spellbinding, if occasionally overwrought. The bureaucratic machinations behind the magic add an interesting layer to the violent competition. Sydney's overpowered magic is balanced by her sacrifices in exchange; her emotional and physical trauma keep her vulnerable, even while crushing her enemies. Howard rarely checks her story's forward momentum, preferring to whip through scenes that should have greater import, but it's a wild ride to the satisfying finish. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.
A dark tale of revenge and battle magic among New York City's secretive elite.Everyone in the Unseen World gets the message: another Turning has begun, which means all magical Houses must once again compete to become the head of New York's magical world. Old Houses, like House Prospero and House Merlin, the current ruler of the Unseen World, will try to get ahead—or stay on top. Grey, the disinherited son of House Prospero, expelled for "pushing boundaries" with his magic, will attempt to found his own new House, as will his friend Laurent, who's hired a champion to fight for him—an outsider nobody knows. That outsider, Sydney, an unusually powerful magician, has big plans for this Turning. She aims to do nothing less than disrupt the fundamental ways the Unseen World works, exposing its secrets and punishing those responsible for the injustice at its heart. Meanwhile, Harper is desperately trying to get a glimpse inside the Unseen World and avenge her best friend 's death. In a Turning, nothing is certain. Anyone could win—anyone could die. Sydney is a fascinating character, and her drive for vengeance propels the plot forward. The sickness at the heart of this world is presented in stark and compelling terms, and the many magical battles keep the stakes high, although some of the big moments feel a little rushed. Strong characters and a captivating revenge plot make this a fun, absorbing read for those who like their magic, and their magicians, dark and twisty. Copyright Kirkus 2017 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.
Library Journal Reviews
During the tournament known as the Turning, the magically talented members of the Unseen World vie for rule of their community. The Unseen World is centered in New York, and powerful House Merlin has dominated for generations, based mostly on a spell it claims permits magicians to use magic at little cost to themselves. There is a cost, but the spell allows this flaw to be passed along to the House of Shadows, whose members come from sacrificed children given up by the powerful families. Sydney, a determined heroine fighting to end a despicable system that oppresses children in order to ease the lives of the elite, is one of only two magicians to ever leave the House of Shadows, and she has entered the Turning as a duelist for an upstart house. Her real goal is to bring down the Unseen World. VERDICT Howard, whose debut, Roses and Rot, had more than a touch of the gothic, returns strong with another fantasy with a dark center. The magical duels ratchet up the tension as readers can't be sure Sydney will even survive to achieve her revolution.—MM
Copyright 2017 Library Journal.
Publishers Weekly Reviews
Howard's sophomore novel (after Roses and Rot) is zippy at the expense of character development. Sydney is a magician in an alternate modern-day New York who's hired to represent House Beauchamps in the Turning, a magical competition that determines the hierarchy of houses in the magical community called the Unseen World. Magic isn't an ability magicians have unlimited access to, but rather a resource that can be bottled and transferred from magician to magician. As a child, Sydney was a captive of the House of Shadows, who siphoned some of her magic to strengthen the abilities of other magicians, but she won her partial freedom after challenging the house. Now, with each magical duel she wins, her abilities grow and the reservoir of stolen magic shrinks. The houses in power plan to eliminate her if she survives the Turning. The plot is very rushed, and readers will find Sydney difficult to connect with; any obstacles or sources of tension are no match for her magic. The other characters treat events that should be devastating without prolonged concern, thus discouraging the reader from getting emotionally involved. When Howard slows down, both the characters and the Unseen World flourish in her gorgeous prose, but these moments are too few. (Sept.)
Copyright 2017 Publisher Weekly.