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Book Review | The Last Smile in Sunder City by Luke Arnold

From the publisher: In a world that’s lost its magic, a former soldier turned PI solves cases for the fantasy creatures whose lives he ruined in an imaginative debut fantasy. Welcome to Sunder City. The magic is gone but the monsters remain.

The Last Smile in Sunder City by Australian actor Luke Arnold treads some familiar territory. It reminded me of Shrek, of , of Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Humans managed to destroy all the magic in the world, and main character Fetch Phillips, a human, is trying to work off his guilt. Vampires, werewolves, elves, gnomes, and all other manner of magical creatures now mingle and try to live without what made them special.

Fetch was raised in a walled, nonmagical city of humans. He didn’t realize the wonders of…

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Book Review | The Dark Library by Cyrille Martinez

From the publisher: Libraries are magical places. But what if they’re even more magical than we know? In Cyrille Martinez’s library, the books are alive: not just their ideas or their stories, but the books themselves. Meet the Angry Young Book, who has strong opinions about who reads what and why. He’s tired of people reading bestsellers, so he places himself on the desks of those who might appreciate him. Meet the Old Historian who mysteriously vanished from the stacks. Meet the Blue Librarian, the Mauve Librarian, the Yellow Librarian, and spend a day with the Red Librarian trying to banish coffee cups and laptops. Then one day there are no empty desks anywhere in the Great Library.

Cyrille Martinez is very obviously writing from the perspective of a librarian who has heard…

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Book Review | Sparrow Hill Road by Seanan McGuire

From the publisher: They have names for her all over the country: the Girl in the Diner. The Phantom Prom Date. The Girl in the Green Silk Gown. Mostly she just goes by “Rose,” a hitchhiking ghost girl with her thumb out and her eyes fixed on the horizon, trying to outrace a man who never sleeps, never stops, and never gives up on the idea of claiming what’s his. She’s the angel of the overpass, she’s the darling of the truck stops, and she’s going to figure out a way to win her freedom. After all, it’s not like it can kill her — you can’t kill what’s already dead.

“No matter what form your soul takes when it hits the ghostroads, it has rules it has to follow. I can borrow flesh and blood from the living for the span of a night by putting on the…

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Book Review | Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko

From the publisher: Fans of Sabaa Tahir and Tomi Adeyemi won’t want to miss this instant New York Times bestselling fantasy from breakout YA sensation Jordan Ifueko! Nothing is more important than loyalty. But what if you’ve sworn to protect the one you were born to destroy?

Raybearer is the story of Tarisai, a girl raised in an invisible home with no one but private tutors and a mysterious mother known as the Lady, who she sees only once or twice a year. One day, the Lady tells Tarisai that she being sent to the capital of the empire to meet Crown Prince Ekundayo, where she’ll have a chance to join his Council of Eleven, the children who will make up his future ruling council and whose magical bond protects the…

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Book Review | Princess Floralinda and the Forty-Flight Tower by Tamsyn Muir

From the publisher: When the witch built the forty-flight tower, she made very sure to do the whole thing properly. Each flight contains a dreadful monster, ranging from a diamond-scaled dragon to a pack of slavering goblins. Should a prince battle his way to the top, he will be rewarded with a golden sword—and the lovely Princess Floralinda. But no prince has managed to conquer the first flight yet, let alone get to the fortieth. In fact, the supply of fresh princes seems to have quite dried up.

Those looking for a quick, easy fantasy read could do worse than Princess Floralinda and the Forty-Flight Tower. Author Tamsyn Muir made a name for herself with her debut novel Gideon the Ninth, a space opera-fantasy mashup that struck an appealing balance of…

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