Ahoy there me mateys! I received this fantasy eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. So here be me honest musings . . .
brother’s ruin (Emma Newman)
Title: brother’s ruin
Author: Emma Newman
Publication Date: TODAY!!!! (paperback/e-book)
This novella was quick-paced, a fast read, and fun. The story is set in 1850s Great Britain which was win number one. Win number two was the protagonist, Charlotte Gunn – intelligent, feisty, and loving (me favorite type). Win number three was the magical society set up in this book.
Charlotte is a woman who wants normal things like marrying her fiance and having a family. She also wants slightly more challenging modern things like continuing to earn her own income from her illustrations and keeping her male publishing pseudonym unknown. But most challenging off all is keeping her magic talent a secret. If it is found out, the Royal Society of the Esoteric Arts will claim her and her dreams of the future will be forfeit.
Keeping her magic a secret is not so easy. Charlotte has the guilt of not joining the Society to give her parents and brother a better life as well as the challenge of holding her magic in check and not going “Wild.” However events soon spiral out of control and Charlotte has to decide whether her dreams or her realities will determine her choices.
This novella is super short at 192 pages and felt more like a set-up or prequel to a longer novel. I loved it and wanted more. Charlotte’s family members were loving, struggled, and were realistic in many of their reactions to the occurring events. The magic of the society is introduced but ye don’t get all the bells and whistles of how it works or what it can do . . . yet. The plot was predictable at a few points but I didn’t care.
The novella had a great ending, left lots of questions to be explored, and had tantalizing hints of what may happen next. Whether the next installment be a novella or (hopefully) a longer novel – sign me up!
Side note: This author sounded familiar because I had just purchased her other novel planetfall, a sci-fi, to read! Stay tuned for that review in the next log post.
So lastly . . .
Thank you Macmillian-Tor/Forge!
Additional side note: the blurb is rather spoiler-y and misleading. Be forewarned and read at yer own peril!
Netgalley has this to say about the novel:
The year is 1850 and Great Britain is flourishing, thanks to the Royal Society of the Esoteric Arts. When a new mage is discovered, Royal Society elites descend like buzzards to snatch up a new apprentice. Talented mages are bought from their families at a tremendous price, while weak mages are snapped up for a pittance. For a lower middle class family like the Gunns, the loss of a son can be disastrous, so when seemingly magical incidents begin cropping up at home, they fear for their Archie’s life and their own livelihoods.
But Archie Gunn isn’t a talented mage. His sister Charlotte is, and to prevent her brother from being imprisoned for false reporting she combines her powers with his to make him seem a better prospect. However, maintaining the charade will mean masquerading as Archie’s assistant, and delaying or destroying her own plans for marriage.
When she discovers a nefarious plot by the sinister Doctor Ledbetter, Charlotte must use all her cunning and guile to protect her family, her secret and her city.
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