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Blog Tour Review - A Power Unbound by Freya Marske

 Blog Tour Review - A Power Unbound by Freya Marske Secrets! Magic! Enemies to. . .something more? Jack Alston, Lord Hawthorn, would love a nice, safe, comfortable life. After the death of his twin sister, he thought he was done with magic for good. But with the threat of a dangerous ritual hanging over every magician in Britain, he’s drawn reluctantly back into that world. Now Jack is living in a bizarre puzzle-box of a magical London townhouse, helping an unlikely group of friends track down the final piece of the Last Contract before their enemies can do the same. And to make matters worse, they need the help of writer and thief Alan Ross. Cagey and argumentative, Alan is only in this for the money. The aristocratic Lord Hawthorn, with all his unearned power, is everything that Alan hates. And unfortunately, Alan happens to be everything that Jack wants in one gorgeous, infuriating package. When a plot to seize unimaginable power comes to a head at Cheetham Hall―Jack’s ancestral fam

Review - The Spectaculars by Jodie Garnish

Review - The Spectaculars by Jodie Garnish

When three figures arrive at Harper's window in a flying canoe, informing her that she is due to start her apprenticeship, Harper discovers she is a Spectacular - a magical performer, gifted special powers from the stars. Harper is thrilled to be part of the Spectaculars' travelling theatre and boarding school, until everything is plunged into great danger. With her new friends Trick and Thief, Harper sets out to save her school...

The Spectaculars is spectacular!

I'm sorry, I had to say it, but it is true. This is a really fun, cool, magical book.

It opens in the middle of a very dramatic scene, as an unknown group of people try to escape on a tram into the mountains. After that goes quite well, with just a little bit of tragedy the novel jumps ahead five years to where it picks up the main narrative. Harper, one of the young children on the tram, is now older and living a fairly dull life in a fairly dull town. Luckily it isn't long before she's whisked away to a much more magical life in a much more magical world, because this definitely isn't a fairly dull book!

She finds herself in her slippers and dressing gown in a theatre where she's about to being a magical apprenticeship and become a Spectacular! Spectaculars are spell weavers who use star light and star dust to add magical effects to their performances, costumes, set designs and everything else that's part of the theatre world.

That's one of the great strengths of this book, it beautifully blends the whole learning how to do magic in a world you never really knew thing with theatre school, and it just works so well. Everyone knows there's magic in theatre already, right? Well how about if you could actually create costumes which shift and change with magic? What if you could summon magical effects throughout the auditorium while singing your aria or change your appearance as your death monologue goes on and on and on? It's such a perfect fit, and Jodie Garnish pulls it off with style.

There's a wider world out there though, and a theatre built on a tram is a great way to see it! The Wonderia is a travelling theatre, allowing us to see little glimpses of so many other fascinating locations, from magical libraries to underwater performances by mermaid orchestras. We see witches and fae and goblins and it just left me wanting to explore more of this world.

There is, of course, an overarching plot beyond just magical theatre school, and it's a good one too. Magic, for the Spectaculars at least, is built on starlight. (Witches have their own very peculiar form of spellcasting that I just loved!) However, there were thirteen stars that fell when the tram first passed through the mountain portal, and they've never been found. There are also four curses, taking animal form in a decidedly creepy way, one of which, Misfortune, is stalking the Wonderia theatre causing terrible and escalating accidents. There are grim hunters and unlikely allies and a few very well kept secrets, and it is all, quite honestly, spectacular.


The Spectaculars by Jodie Garnish is published by Usborne Publishing on 29th September 2022.

I was given a review copy via Netgalley in return for an honest review.


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