Title: An Unkindness of Magicians
Author: Kat Howard
Length: 354 pages
Genre: urban fantasy
Where Bethany’s Copy Came from: IndyPL
Plot Basics: Among the Houses of the Unseen World, the Turning comes seven years too early, seeking to re-balance power among the Houses and give outsiders an opportunity to win a place. The great Houses have their own feuds (such as Ian Merlin hiring himself out to the be the champions for rival House Prospero). But bursting on to the scene is unknown magician Sydney, representing newcomer Laurent Beauchamps who hopes to secure a House. Her magic is powerful, but set on revenge.
Banter Points: When I saw this book was blurbed by Neil Gaiman, I was fairly certain that meant I should read it, and right away. Everything about the concept — secret, dueling magicians in NYC — sounded like my kind of book.
And, Kat Howard delivered. Not only did she build a compelling world in the space of 350 pages, she brought to life great characters to boot. It’s a complex cast of a lot of people and she deftly handles them all and their foibles in her compact, smart, near-perfect work.
I’m not sure if Howard was going for “unkindness” as the name for a group (such as a herd of cows, galaxy of starfish or murder of crows), but if that’s what a group of magicians is called, she proved why.
Banter Points: Some of the plot becomes a bit predictable.
Word Nerd Recommendation: This is a great book. I wish there would be a sequel but it seems like this is going to be a standalone book. I suspect that “An Unkindness of Magicians” will make my top 10 for this year.