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Review: Spellhacker by M.K. England

Hey all, Dani here.

Welcome back to my blog, and another review post. I’m still working through a bunch of my reads from the month of June, where I tried to balance myself between books written by Black authors, and books that would fall under my usual June reading for the ALA’s GLBT Book Month. So today I’m bringing another Pride read.

I can’t believe that June is almost over. I should probably get to work on my Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag post, as well as the next installment in my Top Reads of 2020 series. So look for those coming up in the next couple weeks.

Okay, let’s just jump into today’s review.

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Book Details

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 416

Publisher: HarperTeen

Publication Date: January 21, 2020

ISBN: 0062657704 (ISBN13: 9780062657701)

Summary

From the author of The Disasters, this genre-bending YA fantasy heist story is perfect for fans of Marie Lu and Amie Kaufman.

In Kyrkarta, magic—known as maz—was once a freely available natural resource. Then an earthquake released a magical plague, killing thousands and opening the door for a greedy corporation to make maz a commodity that’s tightly controlled—and, of course, outrageously expensive.

Which is why Diz and her three best friends run a highly lucrative, highly illegal maz siphoning gig on the side. Their next job is supposed to be their last heist ever.

But when their plan turns up a powerful new strain of maz that (literally) blows up in their faces, they’re driven to unravel a conspiracy at the very center of the spellplague—and possibly save the world.

No pressure.

My Thoughts

Rating: 4 stars

Okay, I’m going to be honest and start with talking about the cover for this one. It’s okay. It’s simple, but with an appealing color palate. But frankly, I think both of M.K. England’s books would benefit from a cover upgrade. Maybe that’s just me. Maybe there are people who absolutely adore these covers. But aside from the magical sparkle of the title text, and the tag line at the top…this book’s cover tells me absolutely nothing about the story. I get no feel for the characters or the world or the vibe of the story.

The premise sounded interesting though, and I’ve heard great things about M.K. England’s writing. So I wanted to check this book out. It didn’t disappoint. Granted, it didn’t completely blow me away either. It took me a while to really get a feel for the world and the layout of everything, especially when it came to the lingo and all that.

I did like the characters. I’m pretty much a sucker for a group of characters doing heist work, so this story sounded like something I would enjoy.

I also like the easy commonplace diversity of characters. I feel like we’re starting to see more stories where it feels…okay this is probably going to be phrased wrong so I’ll try to explain myself…but it feels normal and everyday. Okay, so I absolutely know that it is normal to find a diverse grouping of people out there in the real world, but a lot of times in books and TV shows and movies, the characters still mostly are white cis-het, which is lame and stupid. It’s also why I love seeing more stories like this one, where you get to hang out with some awesome characters who just happen to be all along the spectrum when it comes to race, gender identity, and sexual identity. I feel like the more we see it in the media we consume, the more “normalized” it will start to become to general society. Does that ramble make sense?

Anyway, because of how long it took me to sink into this story fully, and because I kept taking breaks from reading this one, that’s why I marked it at 4 stars instead of higher. I do still plan to pick up more books by M.K. England in the future.

Where to Get a Copy

You can pick up your own copy of this book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or from your local indie bookstore through IndieBound.

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