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Blog Tour Review - To Cage A God by Elizabeth May

 Blog Tour Review - To Cage A God by Elizabeth May To cage a god is divine. To be divine is to rule. To rule is to destroy. Using ancient secrets, Galina and Sera’s mother grafted gods into their bones. Bound to brutal deities and granted forbidden power no commoner has held in a millennia, the sisters have grown up to become living weapons. Raised to overthrow an empire―no matter the cost. With their mother gone and their country on the brink of war, it falls to the sisters to take the helm of the rebellion and end the cruel reign of a royal family possessed by destructive gods. Because when the ruling alurea invade, they conquer with fire and blood. And when they clash, common folk burn. While Sera reunites with her estranged lover turned violent rebel leader, Galina infiltrates the palace. In this world of deception and danger, her only refuge is an isolated princess, whose whip-smart tongue and sharp gaze threaten to uncover Galina’s secret. Torn between desire and duty, Galina mus

Review - The Marvellers by Dhonielle Clayton

Review - The Marvellers by Dhonielle Clayton

Eleven-year-old Ella Durand is the first Conjuror to attend the Arcanum Training Institute, a magic school in the clouds for Marvellers from around the world. Ella discovers that being the first isn't easy but she finds friendship in fellow misfits Brigit, a girl who hates magic, and Jason, a boy with a fondness for magical creatures and support from her Elixirs teacher, Masterji Thakur.

Then the notorious Ace of Anarchy escapes prison, supposedly with a Conjuror's aid, and Ella finds herself as the prime suspect. Worse, Masterji Thakur mysteriously disappears while away on a research trip. With the help of her friends and her own growing powers, Ella must find a way to clear her family's name and track down her mentor before it's too late.

A truly marvellous read!

The Marvellers pulled me in right from the start with a New Orleans setting perfectly suited to a supernatural, magical feel as young Ella Durand prepares herself for magic school, the Arcanum Training Institute. But magic schools, and particularly outsiders heading off to a magic school they know little about, is such a staple of children's fiction, I headed into the book wondering and hoping that The Marvellers would bring something new to the genre.

And I'm pleased to report that it does! The most immediate and obvious element is the diversity it brings and how well it delivers it. There's plenty of racial diversity within the Arcanum Training Institute, with pupils and teachers from all over the world bringing their distinctive cultural elements into the mix, from marvel styles and approaches to cuisine, and it feels like a very rich and diverse culture. But it quickly becomes obvious that there are other divisions in this otherwise idyllic society that mirror some of the divisions in our own. Ella isn't from a Marveller family, she's a Conjuror, something that might look the same to a casual observer but is treated as wholly different and untrustworthy, if not outright dangerous! 

The way this is presented throughout the book really is fantastic. Ella's father had to fight legal battles to overturn the rules keeping Conjurors out of the institute, though his daughter is the only one who actually goes to attend. Once there she faces prejudice in the form of whispers and unpleasant notes, petty vandalism, but also discrimination from many of the teachers and staff, being punished for small acts that other students do unnoticed. You can really see how snide and secretive many of the forms of discrimination are, little acts of spite and pettiness that are hard to point a finger at but contribute to a general feeling of being unwelcome. You also see the pressures on Ella to be the best, because expectations and standards are greater for her than for her peers. It's clever, it's subtle and it gets a powerful message across to readers.

I love the richness of the world too, and I can't wait to explore more of it in future books. There's enough in there about Marvellous cities and about the history of the place to keep me gripped and eager to learn more. 

I really loved Brigit, with her sarky and pretty unpleasant attitude to the place, which to be fair did nothing to deserve much more from her. Seeing her character grow and develop, and how this was largely due to Ella's support and friendship, was really lovely. I felt like every smile or kind word from Brigit was a major breakthrough and I was living for them!

I absolutely loved the idea of a magical (or marvellous) Commedia Dell'Arte! I think that would just be the most superb thing, and I'd love to see it explored more too. With that and the New Orleans flavoured land of the dead, there are some amazing thematic elements of this book.

A rich, diverse and fascinating book!


The Marvellers by Dhonielle Clayton is published on 5th January 2023 by Piccadilly Press.

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


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