Cover Image: Ruthless Magic

Ruthless Magic

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Member Reviews

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for sending me a digital ARC of "Ruthless Magic" by Megan Crewe. The plot and pace of the book is very interesting but the wordiness made it difficult to engage with the story. I did like the main character but yet again the length of the sentences made it difficult to fully connect with the main character. This book reads more like a debut and I was surprised by the number of books this author has published. The plot and pacing will work for many though.
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I read this book here and there over the course of 3 months. Each time I opened the book, I was immediately sucked back into the story. I think it says a lot that I didn’t feel the need to reread previous pages. The story definitely keeps you engaged and interested the whole time. The descriptions of Ruthless Magic being like the Hunger Games with magic is pretty accurate. Basically, after high school, mages are either “chosen” for college or dulled – meaning they get their magic mostly removed by the magical government. Their magic is dulled to just enough power to perform some small task slightly better than non-mages. For example, they might leave you with magic that is especially good at sewing so you all you are fit for is to be a really good tailor. Along those lines.

But the government gives teens one last option. To fight in a ruthless competition. The winner gets to be named Champion, the rest of the competitors are either killed during the competition or burned out. Their magic is completely removed.

The story focuses on a group of teens who have all decided to join the competition. They each come from different classes in this society. My favorite character was Rocio because she is so badass at magic but also has a super kind heart.

The challenges in the competition were really fast-paced and interesting, but the book takes place entirely on the competition so after a while, I got a little tired of it. I loved the more traditional magic system used of how the mages created enchantments, spells, and castings that went on in the book. However, there were elements of the books that were not developed enough. Unlike in the Hunger Games, we see the teens realize the hypocrisy and corruption of the government but nothing really happens. I felt like the dystopian type government was an underdeveloped element of the story that needed more attention.

Another thing that irritated me a bit was the instalove between two characters. Most of the romance was sweet though, not too dramatic like some instalove romances can be.

Overall, I thought it was an enjoyable read so I give it 3.5 stars. It looks like this is a first in a series (Conspiracy of Magic #1) but I think you could enjoy this as a light standalone fantasy too. As of now, I’m not sure if I will continue with the series.

***Thank you to Netgalley and Another World Press for giving me a digital galley of the book in exchange for my honest review.***
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Let me start by saying that if you compare a book with The Hunger Games, I will start reading it with dread in my heart. I love The Hunger Games, I really do, and therefore, I will judge the quality of the book without any pity. If you dare compare yourself, then your book better make me lose track of time and dream vividly at night.

And you know what - this one did. 

Trust me, I wouldn't have reviewed this book positively if it didn't reach my expectations. I loved the world created in this book. I loved the concept (à la Hunger Games, obviously) of magic testing through the "exam", or, The Magic Games as I started calling them in my head. There's just enough difference between the two books that this read as a fresh story. The addition of magic was wonderful, and I didn't force myself to suspend any disbelief. 

There are a lot of characters, but nothing feels overwhelming. You'll get attached to the two protagonists and to the other students as you follow them through the book. They're relatable and they aren't boring. I have to admit I was heavily rooting for Rocío throughout the book, but I liked Finn for his determination and his easygoing nature. Another five stars in this category for character development!

Extra points for a slow-build romance, and for avoiding the possible trope of the heart-wrenching love triangle!

I'd like to thank Another World Press, as well as Netgalley, for the free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I can't wait for book 2! Until then, I will pick up the novella prequel, Magic Unmasked.
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Ruthless Magic begins with a slow burn as you work out who is who and what the stakes are for the characters. As the story progresses it becomes quite intense and by the last few pages, I found myself highly invested on who was going to make it and who would fail the test. Finn Lockwood and Rocio Lopez have been forced to face the rather terrifying Mage's Exam when they fail whatever standards the North American Confederation of Mages use to determine whether a sixteen-year-old can carry on magic training or is to be burnt out losing all connection to magic. The only way you can avoid the second fate if you don't get approval is to throw yourself into this horrific test of powers. 
The story is told from these two characters' points of view and they are there for very different reasons. Finn did get a letter of approval but turned it down when he felt he only received due to his family name. Rocio comes from a family not known for magic - she has new magic so has to work to be recognized. Little does anyone realize how strong her powers actually are. 
The testing begins and not everyone will see the end intact or even alive. 
This is a great young adult novel that plays with a number of themes well. The strongest of these is friendship and what we will do for others but also there is a nice exploration of how those in power aren't always ethical. It did take me a little time to understand the rules of this world and how all the pieces fitted together, however by the time I reached the end of the book I was pretty Finn and Rocio's lives. I'm very much looking forward to the next book to see what will happen next. 
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in return for an honest review. Thanks so much
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I really enjoyed Ruthless Magic, my favourite part of the Harry Potter books was in Order of the Phoenix and the exam chapter and this book is pretty much all set in an exam! Throwback to my love of exams at school I think :p 
I thought this was an easy book to get into, the plot flowed (with some twists I wasn't expecting) , I thought the characters were likeable and I felt as though I was a part of the story. I Love it when a book makes me feel as though I am right there with the main characters.

A very enjoyable read.

Thank you NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to review this book.
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This is a book that would cater to the tastes of the "Hunger Games' lovers as well as all lovers of down on their luck Magicians and other young people who do not quite fit into the society as it is presented.
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Really fun read! I loved all the magic and thought the entire system was extremely creative--sort of like Fantastic Beasts meets Hunger Games, with the wizards and the various schools and the brutal exam. I won't give anything away, but I thought the twist near the end in regards to the exam was great and I didn't see it coming, yet it made perfect sense! Also liked how modern themes were strung throughout the novel to mix real life lessons in with the fantastical! 

I'm curious to see where it goes. Almost all of the novel was set in the exam, so we didn't get to see much of the magic world as a whole, but the ending made me think the next book would bring that aspect!

Huge thanks to Netgalley for giving me a copy in exchange for an honest review!
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Love magic?
Love characters you root for?
Love an inventive plot?
Then Ruthless Magic is the book for you!
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I liked this book, it reminded me of other series I really liked.. however.. that's not always a good thing. I love that it is action packed and shares a very powerful story with aspects I had never seen before, but in the end it all seemed like a blend of previous read ya novels. 

I am looking forward to the rest of the series, hopefully it'll be a story that's completely on it's own and will only remind me of the book itself!
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I had such a hard time with this book. I could not find a connection that I was desperately looking for in these characters. 

The two main POV’s sounded nearly identical and despite them changing between each chapter, I had a hard time differentiating them. 

As for the plot, I was really looking forward to this, but I was ultimately let down. I was supposed to be on the edge of my seat but I found myself trudging through each chapter, each page. The concept was very interesting and I applaud the diverse cast but I feel that this fell flat to what I was expecting. 

I know many will enjoy this book and I respect that, but sadly, I am not one of them.
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“Ruthless Magic” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Megan Crewe ( Ms. Crewe has published eleven novels. This is the first in her “Conspiracy of Magic” series.

I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set on an Earth where magic has been real but hidden from the general public until recently. Now each year the North American Confederation of Mages assesses every sixteen-year-old who has a magic ability. Some of these are ‘chosen’ while the rest have their magical abilities destroyed. The only other option is to take the Mages’ Exam.

The two main characters are Rocío Lopez and Finn Lockwood. Lopez has dedicated herself to excelling in magic, but because of her low socio-economic standing, she is not ‘chosen’. In a desperate attempt to retain her magical abilities and advance in society, she chooses to take the Mages’ Exam. Lockwood has shown only mediocre ability but is ‘chosen’ because of his family. Feeling ashamed, he chooses to take the Mages’ Exam to prove his worth.

They and a group of others taking the Exam are put through a series of grueling and dangerous tests. Lopez and Lockwood become allies to survive. That evolves into a romantic feeling for one another. The challenge they have is to survive the tests.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 9 hours I spent reading this 350 page young adult fantasy. I liked the characters and the plot. I have read two other novels by Ms. Crewe and have liked them as well, though of the three I think this is her best. The cover art is OK. I give this novel a 4.5 (rounded up to a 5) out of 5.

Further book reviews I have written can be accessed at

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (
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I thoroughly enjoyed this read, although it steals too many ideas from the Hunger Games. It’s not only the trial-like setting and the cruel examiners but the whole setup of a disadvantaged but gifted girl beating the odds and defying the authorities. Their final testing ground is even called the ‘arena’ – no comment. In comparison to the Hunger Games, it lacks the gripping plot with twists and turns and exciting character development. Finn and Rocío are a pair of goody-two-shoes that feel responsible for saving their whole group – as if only they could do it. Especially, Finn is so thoroughly self-less and good-natured it’s borderline cheesy. You can’t even hate him for it – he’s just too good. Thank God he sucks at magic because if he were a magic ace too, he’d be insufferable. Rocío is cool, but overall a bit meh. What really bugged me was the fact that their voices are almost indistinguishable. The chapters alternating between Rocío’s and Finn’s point of view wouldn’t be so confusing, if their characters weren’t so similar. Also, the plot is not perfect. The characters stumble from one test to the next without much breathing room or time for their feelings for each other to develop into a full-on burn.

On the plus side, it’s a unique take on the “teens with magical abilities” theme. It addresses the pressure young people in some parts of the world feel to get into college and twists it into some nasty trial that makes a regular college application look like a walk in the park. Moreover, it deals with current issues of power, influence, and wealth, and how they are distributed. While white Finn enjoys a life full of comfort without a concern in the world in his fancy Academy and luxurious Upper East side apartment, Rocío, the daughter of immigrants, gets bullied at her regular high school for being a mage. Although she is incredibly skilled, she doesn’t stand a chance to get accepted into this exclusive circle.

“Do you really think it’s a coincidence Mom and Dad got perfectly set up as the domestic help? Javier had said once.”

“And what about me? They’re going to Damper me for being good at magic, no matter how well I’ve followed their rules, just because I might think some of those rules are stupid? As if my opinions somehow make me dangerous?”

“Nothing I do, with my family, with my name, is ever going to be enough for them. […] As long as I have magic, I have choices. Burn me out and I’m just another ghetto-trash Dull girl.”

I think this says more about modern-day USA (and many other countries) than about this fictional world. Maybe Rocío seems a bit dull (hardy-har-har) sometimes because she has to hold back. She needs to follow the rules more than the others as she has no bargaining power except her talent, and that’s precisely what the authorities fear most. She needs to play along because for her everything is at stake. Finn, however noble his intentions might be, will never understand this. In sum, I really loved how these current issues are woven into the story. Also, like the Hunger Games, this book raises the question how far you would go and, which atrocities you’d be ready to commit when it’s not only about achieving your dreams but about kill or be killed.

So overall, Ruthless Magic borrows old ideas but fuses them into a unique story many teens will enjoy. On top of that, it features diverse characters and dares to ask important questions about our society and humanity in general. I didn’t immediately catch fire, but I felt the sparks flying off every page of this book.
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This is the beginning of a great new series for the lovers of Harry Potter and the Hunger Games.  Or really any book that works on the urban fantasy format with teenagers as the central characters.  There is an opening for this series and it certainly shows tons of potential.  It flows well and is an edge of the seat read that you won't want to put fact, I implore you to also read the prequel.  It's not neccesary but it is fun.  Enjoy!

Also posted on Goodreads, LibrarThing, and Amazon.
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I have to admit, when I started this book there were  similarities to Harry Potter in the way they received their invitations to study at a magical school. I was afraid this might be a little too close to that story line but happily I was mistaken. The story is about a group of kids who have been rejected by the mages college and have decided to take their chance by competing in the brutal Mages Exam. There they can be proclaimed Champion and go to the mages school or loose and be "burned out" (loose all of their magical ability). Think of Hunger Games meets Harry Potter. The two main characters are Finn, who comes from a long line of wealthy powerful mages but can't cast spells very well, and Rocio, a poor hispanic girl who lost her older brother to the Mages Exam but is more powerful than anyone has seen for a long time. Rocio gets turned down by the college and declares for the Mages Exam. Finn get accepted but feels the school is being unjust because he knows his talent wasn't good enough to get him in and that it is only because of his family name that he was accepted. He declined his invitation and also declares for the Mages Exam. Finn, Rocio and several others must face a gamut of brutal trials that they must survive in order to be declared champion. They realize that this contest could mean they could lose more than their magic, they could lose their lives. They also realize that there is a much darker side to the Mages Academy than any of them ever knew.  I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Honestly, it has been a while since I've been captivated by a book! Ruthless Magic seized my attention and entertained me throughout the read. I found it had the best elements of YA fiction while telling its own unique story with lively characters. What I loved about the characters is they were very real, each one had something I liked about them and something I didn't. The plot is intense and the subtle growing romance kept me hooked! I liked the balance of magic and mythology with the real-life issues like race, class, privilege, and corruption. It leads to a very touching uplifting message. I read this book a couple of times before I posted my review because that is what great books make you do read them again and again! I recommend to everyone, not just the 13-18 YA audience it is targeted too for the adventure, magic, and world with enthrall anyone!
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Well this was a fun read! Ruthless Magic really was a powerful, action packed adventure to begin this new series. 
It reminded me of some other books I loved, but there is some originality to it. 
I really enjoyed this story. I haven’t read a book this magical in a long time.
I loved this book way more than I expected to. It is a fast-paced and engaging roller coaster ride; I constantly wanted to pick up the book again whenever I paused reading because the story was so intense!
Im really excited to read the next book in the series! :3
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Ruthless Magic appealed to me from the start. I love a good magic book and it sounded different from ones that I normally read. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. It’s an easy read with the essential YA plot devices of the rich boy and the girl from the wrong side of the tracks, however Rocìo is strong almost too strong in magical ability while Finn’s ability isn’t too great.

What I liked about this book was the way magic has been incorporated into the modern world, it’s no secret that people have magic but only the well off are able to attend academy’s where they can learn more about their abilities. The middle and lower classes attend regular schools with next to no magic teachers. All the 16 year olds are tested every year and the privileged few go on to learn more the rest must either chose to have their ability destroyed or fight for those abilities in the Mage’s Exam where nobody knows what’s going to happen.

The world building is quite good especially the way it has been incorporated thoughtout the regular world or how those with diminshed abilities use their magic to improve their area of expertise be it baking or tailoring. It feels quite realistic as well.

The characters are interesting as well with wealthy Finn taking a stand even with his guaranteed acceptance to the Confederation; Rocìo determined to prove that she is the best and will let nothing stand in her way. There is also a host of supporting characters that you come to empathise with as you journey along with them Prisha is the one that first comes to mind. Both Rocìo and Prisha have strong abilities that should have had them accepted but their lower class background has excluded them. They way they deal with it is what defines them.

I didn’t really like the speed with which Finn and Rocìo fell in love, it was only a couple of days since they met properly yet they get very close very fast. This was really the only problem that I had with this book. I found it an enjoyable read and will be happy to read then next in the series to find out what happens to these characters.

I rated Ruthless Magic 3.5 stars
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I will start off by saying that I don’t really like books that split the POV... It just seen unecessary and messy. With that being said this one wasn't bad. Ruthless Magic did indeed have a hunger games feel to it as well as the Harry Potter vibe. But overall it was an interesting book.
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Every sixteen year old is assessed for their magical skills, and is either accepted for further study or has their skills burned out so that they are as Dull as those without magical abilities. The only way to avoid that fate is to declare for the Exam, which has a considerable and deadly risk. Finn Lockwood knows he was Chosen because of his family affiliation, not because of particularly outstanding talent despite how much he studied and trained. His best friend Prisha is new magic, with no affiliation to the Confederation of magic. They both declare for the Exam and meet a number of other teens who are also fighting to keep their magic. This includes Rocío Lopez, who has a knack for magic, is gifted with it, but poor enough that she didn't attend any of the magical academies in the country. Along with a few others, they're grouped together to take the Exam, which is becoming more and more of a conspiracy as it goes on.

This is a magical Hunger Games, as the tagline had described it, and it's certainly as vicious and potentially lethal. At first, you think that the Exam can't be as bad as everyone feared in the beginning of the novel, but the very start of the Exam set the tone for the rest of it. Relationships are made and broken, and the motives of the Confederation and Circle running it are called into question by several of the students in the Exam. They happen to be injured badly over the course of the exam and don't manage to escape it.

The action is practically nonstop once the Exam starts, and even the downtime moments in it up the ante with the malevolent atmosphere. The burgeoning romance between Finn and Rocío is nice and never pushed too far or too fast for sixteen-year-olds. It's not the main focus in the story but serves as additional motivation for the two to push through the Exam, no matter how relentless it gets. Both are determined to succeed without compromising their values, which is certainly difficult when faced with life or death in an indifferent atmosphere. The Examiners are more or less cardboard cutouts, and even at the end have no real presence other than to be the emotionally blank and somehow menacing figures in charge of the atrocities being committed in the name of the Exam and the Confederation.

As the first in a series, this book certainly sets up the world and the laws of magic within this universe. It's very coherent, and the characters remaining at the end are certainly vibrant enough to draw the attention for future books in the series. I want to know more about the conspiracy and why the Exam is structured the way it is, as well as the theories that  Rocío had about the nature of magic in this world. It's a fascinating start to what is bound to be a great series.
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Excellent book that held my attention throughout the entire book.  I love when characters have to prove themselves while being the underdogs.  Also like magic and unique world building.  I highly recommend this book.
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