Cover Image: Ruthless Magic

Ruthless Magic

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Predictable YA fantasy but surprisingly I was super engaged. I was in the mood for a hunger games type story and I got exactly that with this book.
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ARC from Netgalley

Magic certainly is ruthless in the book.  It reminded me a lot of the Hunger Games.  I'm looking forward to seeing where the author plans to take the series next.
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Rocio and Finn two best friends waiting to hear if they get to continue to train together or have their magic dampaned. Ruthless Magic is a really fun and exciting book to read. I look forward to future installments.
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I found this book to be pretty boring and I was disinterested. The two main characters seemed like they'd do some cool stuff, but I was disappointed by the lack of their development. The writing itself was good, but it definitely could have been a better story.
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Rocio and Finn are from opposite ends of the magical world, but they both decide to risk the Mage's Exam in order to prove their worth and entitlement to magic. However, neither of them has any idea just how dangerous and ruthless the test are. As the exam progresses, they learn that there is more to the test than they thought. There are so many lies and secrets about what actually happens even if they do survive and become champions.
The author immerses you right into this world of magic and adventure, it's full of action and suspense. After reading the book I now know the significance of the title!
I'm not sure I would understand everything if I had not read the prequel and highly recommend reading Magic Unmasked.
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Ruthless Magic was an absolutely engrossing read! I had picked it up after a series of lackluster and not as engaging books, and was instantly sucked in to the story thanks to Megan Crewe's compelling writing. The story follows Finn and Rocio as they navigate an unforgiving world, each trying to not only survive, but to win. Ultimately, I was satisfied with the ending (despite wanting more!) because the characters faced actual moral and physical consequences. This wasn't another book where everything turns out just fine for our protagonists just because they are the protagonists, which is something that YA desperately needs more of. 

Overall, Megan Crewe brought a fresh take on a familiar genre to the table and I was here for it.
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Ruthless Magic was my first title by Megan Crewe, and unfortunately I wasn't able to get into it. The writing didn't pull me in or make me feel like I was a part of the story, and I found myself getting distracted by outside things as I was trying to read. I tried to read it a couple of times with no success, so sadly I have to mark it into the DNF pile. I do hope to try another of Megan's titles in the future and hope to fall into them better than I did with this one.
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Ruthless Magic is a fast paced, dystopian read. I honestly hadn't been sure what to expect going in, and I've heard a lot of people compare it to the Hunger Games. (I felt this too, and I still can't put my finger on exactly why it feels that way?!) The world building was what really drew me in and had it not been for that I'm not sure I would have enjoyed it quite as much, as the changing POV's often threw me off par.

My thanks to NetGalley and Another World Press for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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I read this for a blog tour, and am so glad I found it! Such a fun read and I loved the magic and characters in this story!
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What an amazing book! Magic is in the world and only the selected few are allowed to use it. For the others they must fight for it. 
      After graduating highschool those with strong talents are supposed to go on to college where they can develop their magic. Everyone else has two choices; allow their magic to be taken or enter a contest that can be deadly. 
       A book about friendship and finding the strength inside.
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Ruthless Magic was a really nice surprise for me – a pretty little gem I found on Netgalley. I started the book with no expectations and ended up liking it a lot. The story has a dystopian feel to it but I lean more towards it being YA Fantasy. Magic is now a fact of the world since mages have come out. They now live among humans with their own separate culture, following the laws set by the Confederation. The authority and strict ruling of the Confederation is what gives the story that dystopian feel.

Finn and Rocío have both chosen to undertake the brutal Mage exam and by “brutal”, I mean the exam is violent, cruel, absolutely ruthless. This part has a distinct Hunger Games feel to it that wasn’t bad. I liked the main characters, Finn and Rocío, a lot and the story was written in such a way that I was able to connect with both of them—to sympathize with their plights, understand their motives and reasoning behind their choices.

Rocío was my favorite. You just couldn’t help but like the girl and feel for her. She tried to do the right thing under pressure, to be stronger and break out of the mold the Confederation pushed her in. Finn was an intriguing character too, showing a pleasant face to the world when he had his own worries and issues to deal with. They were both complex, complicated characters who added a lot of value to the story.

The other characters played their role well and the story idea was a very good one which kept me in suspense for what would happen next. However, I did have a question about the human faction. There were hints and some backstory given about the humans’ reactions over the mages coming out ‘party’ though this was a tiny part of the story. The main part of the story focused on the Mages’ exam. But I hope to see some interactions with the human faction in the next books.

The romance was slow and meaningful, fitting in perfectly with the story. The best part for me, was the author’s writing. This is my first book by Megan Crewe and her writing brought the story to life. I could visualize the magical spells and enchantments. The flow of words was beautiful and a pleasure to read. I can’t wait to read the prequel, Magic Unmasked, and the next book in this series.
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Meh, this book was fine. It actually felt like 2 books mashed together. The first part is the two main characters waiting and learning if they will get into the magical college to continue learning or have their magic snuffed out. Both decide to declare for the Exam to try and keep/earn their way into College. Then the next part is the actual Exam. So there is all sorts of introspection and learning about the world in the first part and then the second part is the actual Exam which gets all Hunger Games-esque and the participants realize how terrible their society pretty much is. I sort of liked this book, but had a hard time believing that the Confederation could keep how bad the Exam is and what it is actually recruiting for under wraps for so long. It just doesn’t make sense to me. And of course the two main characters are going to fight “the man” in their own ways now that they made it out of the exam. *Eye roll*
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Thank you to NetGalley for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Ruthless Magic by Megan Crewe sets off with a spellbinding start that slowly peters out well before the end. The North American Confederation of Mages selects only the most promising sixteen-year-old students to enter their academy--or so they say. Rocío Lopez, a mage from a low-standing, new-magic family has done everything right to be selected, only for the Confederation to reject her. Now, Rocío's only choice is to have her magic burned out of her or take the secretive and deadly Mages' Exam, the same exam where her brother lost his life. Finn Lockwood is in a similar predicament. Having been chosen unfairly by the Confederation because of his prominent, old-magic family despite his meager abilities, Finn declares for the Exam to prove his worth and support his friend, Prisha, a skilled new-magic mage who, like Rocío, is forced to declare for the Exam or lose her magic.

From the beginning, the novel explores the issue of privilege, namely how old-magic mages are trusted by the government over new-magic mages because the newer ones could potentially turn against everything the Confederation stands for... Whatever that is. However, it very quickly turns into a heavy-handed allegory for racism--Finn is white, and Rocío and Prisha are Latinx and Indian respectively--but it's never examined with that particular lens in mind. Just this old-magic vs. new-magic debate. Even when other characters are brought in of varying races/backgrounds (one character, for instance, is legally blind and relies on magic to "see"), it still feels like the author is still trying to discuss discrimination without actually going there.

Really, the only character I super liked through this was Rocío. Finn was okay, but his and Rocío's insta-love quickly bored me. Prisha started off awesome, gay-rep and all, but then she was just a name on a page. I'm not saying she was just Finn's token gay/Indian best friend, because she wasn't; there was something of a character going on with her. The book just very quickly became the Finn and Rocío's Love Story show, intermixed with "deadly thing about to kill the group" events, and Prisha was just sort of there. Being moody, mostly.

The magic system itself is loose, for lack of a better term. Some characters use Latin to focus their magic, some use song lyrics, some use their native language, and somehow that combined with their aptitude makes magic happen. Or not. It's a little unclear, and each characters' magic and what/how they can cast seems to rely more on whatever the plot needs from it at the time than any clear rules or standards as to what magic can be or do.

Also, I really don't understand why Finn swears by/exclaims to the Greek pantheon? And invokes Hades instead of hell? Does he just personally worship the Greek gods even in modern day? Is this an old-magic thing? Do other people in the world do it? (Signs point to no.) And if he does or it is an old-magic thing, then shouldn't they be using Greek instead of Latin to cast magic? This was a character quirk that quickly got on my nerves because it was so random but never explained.

As for the Exam itself, there's a lot to unpack here, and I don't intend to cover everything. Without spoiling anything, I will say that the examiners do give a reason aka conspiracy why the Exam is so brutal. However, no explanation is given to any of the characters ever about what each part of the test is meant to reveal about the examinees nor is their performance on why they passed or failed discussed at length at all. And the majority of the book is having to read through brutal test after brutal test, so I expected some sort of payoff once I got to the end about why we all just went through that. Besides the Super Secret Reason, I got nothing, so by the time it was done, I didn't feel anything about what I'd just read except an overwhelming sense of fatigue.

Don't get me wrong; Ruthless Magic isn't horribly written by any means--Crewe's style is just fine--but what's on the page didn't keep me captivated for long. The cycle of tests combined with some of the characters' repetitive discussions about the Confederation's intentions and their doubts about the test/the government/the Exam, etc. wore on a tad too long with very little reward at the end of the day. I don't even care what became of any of the other characters besides Rocío, and I know I was supposed to.

However, it was a good attempt, hence why I rounded my rating up to three stars, and I can see many people enjoying this story, especially those starved for diverse representation. The world-building, characters, plot, and concepts in Ruthless Magic just weren't enough to make me feel like something new was brought to the table; I've already read many a book just like it and enjoyed the impact it had on me much more.
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An awesome YA fantasy novel that touches many topics at once race, class, sexuality, and government issues. Which helps to understand a society. Fun characters and dialogue, great use of discription to encase the reader in the pages.
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I absolutely, thoroughly enjoyed this book and it's incredible story, Probably up there with one of my favourites. It was kind of like The Hunger Games but for people with magical abilities. I don't think I put this book down and I read it within hours!

I am a fiend for multiple Points of View so having this story told alternatively between the two main characters, Finn Lockwood and Rocío Lopez, was brilliant. It was so easy switching between them and there was never any chance you'd lose whose chapter it was. They're both sixteen and are waiting to hear from the North American Confederation of Mages as to whether they will continue their magical training or go through a dampening of their skills. If not chosen the only way left to prove themselves is to declare to join the brutal Mages’ Exam.

From there we see many challenges and trials that they have to go through, losing people along the way and learning about some secrets. There is fast-paced action, brutal losses and more than enough excitement to keep you wanting the next instalment of the stories.
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Ruthless Magic is Megan Crewe’s latest release and is a blend of Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, introducing readers to a magical world of deception, action and high stakes competition where not everyone will make it out alive. 

Though they live in the same society, mages Finn Lockwood and Rocío Lopez couldn’t be more different. Finn comes from a family of privilege, whose ties to the mages governing body, North American Confederation of Mages, runs deep. Too bad Finn doesn’t seem to have inherited any of his family’s power or ability. Rocío on the other hand is a supremely gifted mage, but her family’s lowly stature mean she is often overlooked and ostracised. Wanting to prove their worth above all measure, Finn and Rocío’s greatest hope is in securing a coveted position with the Confederation to study and train in magic. Yet when Rocío is rejected and Finn’s selection is only due to his family’s position, both teens decide to declare for the Exam, a mysterious test offering them a second chance. Neither teen is prepared for the secrets and dangers that come with the Exam but as they become unlikely allies in a series of deadly trials, Finn and Rocío quickly discover that nothing is what it seems and their examiners may be testing them for a future neither of them is prepared to enter into….. 

Heading into Ruthless Magic I wasn’t sure what it expect. The only novel I had read by Megan Crewe in the past was her debut novel upon its release and I wasn’t really a fan. That being said, I was willing to give Ruthless Magic a go…..and I was delightfully surprised by how much I enjoyed the novel. If ever there was an example of how far an author had come with their writing style and abilities over a number of years, it was Ruthless Magic. 

Unfolding through the back and forth perspectives of both Finn and Rocío, Ruthless Magic allows readers a well-rounded look at the society they live in. Finn and Rocío really are from the very opposite ends of the spectre so we as the readers are immersed in both sides of this magical world—if only for a brief time. With the majority of the novel taking place whilst the novices are within the Exam, readers will only have a small glimpse into the overall world within Ruthless Magic before finding them drawn into a very Hunger Games-esq competition where competitors try to outsmart and outlast each other through a series of trials that increase in danger with each round.

Both main characters Finn and Rocío are quite likable and develop well throughout the story as their circumstances change. During their time in the Exam they both come to reassess their thoughts and beliefs about the world they live in; especially Finn who having come from wealth has been very sheltered and isn’t aware of what is lacking in his society. Discovering some of the double standards and hypocrisy leave the teens determined to be the voice of change against an unjust system. 

There’s a lot of potential within Ruthless Magic. Civil unrest is a real possibility as our main characters vow to fight a corrupt system. How they plan to tackle this remains to be seen, but I’m keen to see what Megan Crewe has planned for the series and her world next.
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I'm reviewing this book so late because I had to stop reading at some point. The synopsis of this book is what originally pulled me in. I loved Hunger Games and having it compared to it was good enough for me. However I didn't finish this book like I thought and wanted to.

I had a problem with Finn. All he wanted to do was prove himself, which is fine in itself, but he was doing it for others, not himself. He was trying to please others and ultimately did it for them. Not himself.

The world building in this could have been so much better.
I give it 3 stars because it didn't work for me but it could for you.
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I found this to be an engaging, and quick read. I liked the dynamics among fledgling and skilled magicians with different abilities and the magic system. I could have used a bit more explanation of the how the magic worked. I liked the shifting POV's. 

I've never read anything Crewe has written before, but I think her storytelling and her world-building are awesome. She has created interesting characters with real emotions and real struggles. There's some great action in here, some brutal magical challenges, and the pace was breakneck.  I constantly wanted to pick up the book again whenever I paused reading because the story was so intense.
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I don’t really have much to say one way or the other. Someone else’s review said it was a blend of Hunger Games and the Magicians. I think I’d add The Maze Runner in there t
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Thank you to the author, Megan Crewe, the publisher Another World Press and NetGalley for giving me an ARC in exchange for my candid review.

Wow!   I really loved this book and these characters!   It is a YA book, but certainly engrossing and readable for all ages.   If I had to type it, it would be a cross between Harry Potter and Hunger Games with a lttle bit of Marie Lu's Legend series thrown in.   But, having said that, this series is really its own story.   It is a world in which magic exists and people are born with varying levels of magic---all the way from expert to none.   And every student that has magic powers wants to get invited to the magic University---because if you are not---they will remove all magic ability from you.   But , if you are not selected for University, you can appeal the decision and elect togo through 4 days of trials in order to qualify as a champion.

This story is about the 4 days of trials for a group of students.   The story is imaginative, and refreshing, and exciting.   I really enjoyed the characters and the story of this world.   There is only one bad thing about this book----NOW I am going to have to WAIT for the next chapter in the series. 

Please read it ----you will love it.
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