I received an ARC of Brother's Ruin through NetGalley. Thank you to Emma Newman and Tor.
Brother's Ruin is the first novel in Newman's Industrial Magic series. This is an urban fantasy story set in an alternative London circa 1850 where people who have magic within themselves become members of the Royal Society of Esoteric Arts. Civilians who have magic capabilities that are currently latent/inactive have to be handed over to the Empire before they become "wild" and they can attend one of three colleges, learning the science like details about their powers. They then use these abilities to aid the smooth running of the nation.
This brings us to our two main characters. An intelligent young lady called Charlotte who is an artist and her brother Ben who has been suffering from poor health recently. Both can "manipulate" magic but one greatly more so than the other. My favourite character has to be the good looking, charming and mysterious teacher from the College of Fine Kinetics, Magus Hopkins.
Brother's Ruin is not a book about the life, trials, and tribulations in a magic establishment but is regarding the process up unto that point. The tale is also about a certain problem that Charlotte and Ben's family find themselves in. Knowing what the diabolical outcome could be, they spend the story trying to fix things. These two parts of the plot do cross over. It isn't the most complex story in the world which was fine for me and I completed this in one day so I must have enjoyed it a fair bit.
Although this is quite a short story, with the limited amount of characters, I found that they were still developed and interesting. When the tale came to a close I definitely wanted to find out more about them and the next book's adventures should be great. In a similar way, there are only two or three settings where the action takes place but for this story focused tale, that was not an underwhelming element at all.
If Brother's Ruin is anything to go by, then the Industrial Magic series should be fascinating. I get the vibe that this book is almost an introduction to this world because when it finishes, things are set up enticingly well for the next story. I was planning to give this narrative about 7/10 until the conclusion which included an excellent reveal so it earned the extra marks! To conclude, a highly enjoyable quick read that is well written, with quality characters and an intriguing ending. The only negative aspect really is that I received this as an ARC and I have to wait longer for book two.
Review by James Tivendale
7/10 from 1 reviews
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