Summary: In the contest to keep their magic, the only options may be die… or kill.
Each year, the North American Confederation of Mages assesses every sixteen-year-old novice. Some will be chosen. The rest must undergo a procedure to destroy their magical ability unless they prove themselves in the mysterious and brutal Mages’ Exam.
Disadvantaged by her parents’ low standing, Rocío Lopez has dedicated herself to expanding her considerable talent to earn a place in the Confederation. Their rejection leaves her reeling—and determined to fight to keep her magic.
Long ashamed of his mediocre abilities, Finn Lockwood knows the Confederation accepted him only because of his prominent family. Declaring for the Exam instead means a chance to confirm his true worth.
Thrown into the testing with little preparation, Rocío and Finn find themselves becoming unlikely allies—and possibly more. But the Exam holds secrets more horrifying than either could have imagined. What are the examiners really testing them for? And as the trials become increasingly vicious, how much are they willing to sacrifice to win?
Review: 4 stars
I received a copy to review from Netgalley and Spells and Stars books.
I read the prequel before picking this up and it did add a little history to the background of the world that this book takes place in. Ruthless Magic occurs years after magic has been unveiled to the magic less society, where in Magic Unleashed those without magic don’t know about its existence. The main character in the prequel is not one of the main characters in this novel, but Jonathan is Finn’s father. Both novels can be read as standalones, but they both occur in the same world if you want more of Megan Crewe’s writing.
Ruthless Magic was in an interesting urban fantasy novel. It is written in first-person and the viewpoint switches between Finn and Rocio. The prejudices that mages face from the non magical people and even from one another based on skin color or if they’re “new” or “old” magic feel realistic. In society people judge each other and sometimes this aspect isn’t shown in novels with magic. If magic was unveiled to exist I doubt everyone would accept it and this novel captures that sentiment well. The contrasting views from the two characters, one of which was considered “old magic”and the other was considered “new magic”, help show the prejudices and the different viewpoints within the magical society.
The plot and pacing were both really good. The story kept moving at a steady pace and the plot kept me interested. The magic enchantments were so creative and cool. The different ways the mages hearkened magic were so neat. It took a little bit for this book to get really exciting, but once it did it was really cool.
I did get confused with who was who because of the point of view alternates, but both characters are written in first-person. Neither character’s view has overwhelming personality and that makes first person necessary. I think it would’ve been less confusing and the same story could’ve been told if it was written in third person instead. Typically a first person doesn’t bother me, and I rarely confuse viewpoints, but in this book there were several times that I did.