Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Rhodes's (the Falling Kingdoms series) fast-paced fantasy duology starter opens in the Regarian Empire, whose monarch is fighting to eradicate "every last trace of magic" from the land. Seventeen-year-old socialite Josslyn Drake, who cues as white, supports this goal since her father--former prime minister of the empire's capital--was assassinated a year previously by a rebel warlock. When Josslyn attends a Queen's Gala, unexpectedly encountering dark-haired, dark-eyed thief Jericho Nox, his botched attempt to steal a magical artifact inadvertently releases illegal magic into Josslyn. Forced to ally by their mutual objective of removing the magic slowly poisoning Josslyn from within, the pair is locked into a race against time, en route uncovering political secrets about the empire. Tracing Josslyn's evolution from deeply unlikable socialite to thoughtful protagonist, the rapid-paced plot features an intriguing romance, fueled by generous doses of amusingly antagonistic dialogue. Though the landscape--a fusion of modern technology, pseudo-historical high society, and magic--can feel haphazardly built, a straightforward and compelling first-person prose style ensures narrative cohesion. Ages 12--up. Agent: Jim McCarthy, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. (Jan.)
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Review by School Library Journal Review
Gr 8 Up--Seventeen-year-old Josslyn Drake aims to maintain her glamorous social media presence, sport the best clothing, and continue to impress the queen. On the one-year anniversary of her father's assassination, she surprises everyone by attending the Queen's Gala. At the event, she is exposed to a piece of stolen art that places the magic memories of the darkest warlock, whom she believes killed her father, within her. While on a lavish shopping spree with her best friend, the handsome thief she encountered at the Gala kidnaps her, hoping to rid her of the magic and contain it for his boss. The two embark on an adventure, where they grow closer together despite the dark history between them. The worldbuilding will appeal to teenagers, as themes of acceptance among social media peer groups and desire to please adults permeate the text. Readers will enjoy the sarcastic tone and flirtatious banter between Joss and Jericho. Unexpected twists and turns coupled with an exciting plot keep this longer novel moving quickly. Deep character development coupled with the crafting of complex, interesting relationships will keep readers yearning for more at the end of the text. VERDICT This must-read book will convert readers who avoid fantasy titles and should be available in libraries for leisure reading.--Angie Jameson
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Review by Kirkus Book Review
A glam teen girl, a hardened criminal boy, and the forbidden magic that will either save or destroy them. In the Empire of Regara everybody knows that magic is the source of all evil, and its users are punished by death. So when 17-year-old socialite Josslyn Drake comes into contact with a box that accidentally contaminates her with a type of dark magic that allows her to access the memories of the empire's most infamous and dangerous warlock (the very one who killed her father), she will do everything to keep this fact a secret until she can have the magic removed from her body before it corrupts her soul. Temporarily allying herself with 19-year-old Jericho Nox, a dangerous (but gorgeous) blackguard who has his own secrets, is just the first step in a journey that turns into a roller coaster of magic, politics, and dark secrets. The first in a duology, this fun adventure fantasy is full of twists and genuinely entertaining, if slightly rushed. Josslyn's snarky voice is engaging and funny, and the story effectively shows her character growth from mostly self-absorbed to someone who makes hard choices after learning unthinkable truths. The witty banter and the enemies-to-lovers dynamic between Josslyn and Jericho are undeniably charming. Most characters are White. Magic, romance, and politics combine in an oh-so-fun, fast-paced fantasy. (Fantasy. 14-18) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.