Cover Image: Obsidian

Obsidian

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Member Reviews

Shade Nox is my hero. She's a badass character that gets it done. The writing was very typical for a YA Sci-Fi/Fantasy. I feel like there are some authors who do it better. The world building was lacking, which I consider the most important part of a a fantasy book. The character besides Shade fell into her shadow. Side characters deserve love too!
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Reminded me a lot of Leigh Bardugo's Grishaverse, but where that had the shadows this has the waste lands. Hardly a unique idea to either series so hopefully it appeals to the same fanbase whilst avoiding critiques of copying.
Did a lot things that I disliked such as flaunting with the enemies to lovers trope and dealing with the death of a loved one by immediately having sex with the nearest warm body, but again that isn't uncommon in the subgenre.

If you like the blurb you'll like the story. It doesn't lie to you.
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This was entertaining and fun, though there were a few issues. The world-building wasn’t entirely clear and lacked in some places. The characters, while interesting were also unlivable. However, the authors prose was pretty good and I’d love to read more of their works if they worked out a few of those kinks. The story was there, it just needed more work.
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The main character in this book is Shade Nox, known in Sicaria as the Black Witch. She uses blood magic like the rest of the bloodwizards and her goal is to raise a Veil where her people could live. 

The other characters - Raiden and Dante Safire were also given focus here as they both have the same goals as Shade, though with different intentions. 

Shade here has Celeana vibes, however, Shade’s backstory was not delved into that much to make you want to relate to her. She is strong and feisty.

The story was gripping enough, although there wasn’t much climax. 50% into the story, and there wasn’t anything to make me go to the edge of my seat. This is under fantasy after all. It went good at around 75%.

Overall, this book is still good. I just wish there were short explanations of some of the names/terms because I felt it was thrown around at the start of the book.
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Same old, same old. Another fantasy novel of a mage whose powers are unleashed unleashed by self-mutilation with puissant blades. The writing here is a bit better than most but really I am so tired of these stories.
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CHARACTERS
🔲 mary-sue party
✅ mostly 2D
🔲 great main cast, forgottable side characters
🔲 well-written
🔲 complex and fascinating
🔲 hard to believe they are ficitonal

PLOT
🔲 you've already heard this exact story a thousand time
🔲 nothing memorable
✅ gripping
🔲 exceptional
🔲 mind=blown

WORLDBUILDING
🔲 takes place in our world
🔲 incoherent
✅ OK
🔲 nicely detailed
🔲 meticulous
🔲 even the last tree in the forest has its own story

ATMOSPHERE
🔲 nonexistent
🔲 fine
✅ immersive
🔲 you forget you are reading a book

PACING
🔲 dragging
🔲 inconsistent
✅ picks up with time
🔲 page-turner
🔲 impossible to put down

I really liked the idea of this book but sadly the execution felt weak to me.

When I was browsing the new fantasy releases for this year Obsidian immediately caught my attention, mostly because the magic system mentioned in the synopsis. Sadly the book didn't live up to my expectations for multiple reasons.

First, the said magic system wasn't as well developed as I was hoping for. We didn't get any real explanation about the importance of the different kinds of gemstones used for the magic, and also the magic itself turned out to be a very generic elemental magic system. Don't get me wrong, elemental systems can be interesing and I met some great examples, but with this book it felt like it was lacking any details.

My second main problem was about the characters. I'm always super picky about them, I know, but the main cast felt very tropey and I couldn't find any depth in their personalities. Also I'm not sure what happened but there weren't almost any women in this book other than the MC which started to really bug me as I was reading.

The best thing about this book for me was the prose which felt super easy to follow without being boring and it set the atmosphere of the story successfully. The plot was pretty interesting in my opinion, it took some turns that I haven't expected but ended up enjoying the direction it went. I have one complaint about it though, and that is the romance subplot. It was weird, didn't fit with the main storyline, and had an absolutely out of nowhere sex scene which I still don't understand and just wanna forget.

The pacing wasn't great, and I think the main reason for this was that the book felt unnecessarily long. The middle section especially, I think it could have been about a hundred pages shorter. It did pick up towards the end though, which was nice.

If you are more of a plot-driven reader this book might work better for you, but sadly it wasn't for me 😅
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This is a stand alone YA fantasy focusing on Shade Nox, a powerful wielder of blood magic with a goal of creating a place for her people to live free of evil beasts and demons. In Malavita, there are areas under domes of protection called Veils, which provide protection from the wastes which are plagued by Blackstorms and hideous evil creatures. Shade pursues her dream of creating a new Veil free of the manipulative Brotherhood.
The world building and magic system are so well done in this story. The use of blades made from different gems(obsidian, amethyst, ruby) and requiring blood to access the magic but with tattoos to ward and provide healing is wonderful. The stark differences between the wastes and life inside the Veils is well described and makes the story interesting. The plot moves along quite quickly and while I certainly liked Shade a lot, I never felt incredibly drawn to any of the other characters. So that left me feeling a bit underwhelmed and wishing for more depth in the characters. There is so much here to work with and it just misses the mark with the character development.

Thanks to Angry Robot Books and Netgalley for the ARC.
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Obsidian was a fast-paced and intriguing read. The world is a mix of dystopian and fantasy with an interesting magic system using blades made of gems and a degree of blood magic. The first part of this book hooked me. I liked the style of writing and wanted to know more about the setting and lore. Our leading witch, Shade Nox, had a powerful presence on page. She had a sort of morally grey and ruthless ferality. I liked the flaws of her arrogance which was portrayed in the text as flawed and she had a bit of charm.

But as I kept reading, I lost momentum. There are a lot of really interesting scenes and backgrounds to dynamics that are explained in exposition rather than the scenes actually happening on page. There are a few time skips and we don't get to see these character dynamics form.

Romances start to happen with little build up, nearly every character has had some sort of romantic or sexual interest in Shade Nox. And while, I LOVE a bisexual queen, I just wish these dynamics had more time to really develop. (See Dante and our biggest offender of this, Matteo).

The characters had potential and a neat blueprint but the execution was lacking. Obsidian does seem to be the author's first book and I am not completely writing off this author or the world. There were some really neat ideas and concepts in here and moments of good character writing. I'd say Obsidian was still a solid and engaging read!
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This is a dystopian world where a long ago battle with demons left the land broken and curse, unable to support life. Humanity remains behind their veils. Bubbles of magical protection created and controlled by the church but the church hasn't raised a new veil in over 100 years. Shade Nox, a woman who welds men's magic openly, has decided she is going to create a new veil but she need the help of Raiden, the 7th son of the Emperor, Dante, a local prince, and her family, outcasts that travel the wastes. 

The premise of this book and its BEAUTIFUL cover drew me in. Unfortunately, unlike the cover, Sarah Daley's writing is adequate but uninspiring. At no point reading this book was I fully able to fall into the story. I was always aware that I was reading. The story itself didn't feel very original. There were a lot of overused tropes and a few too many "groups" of "bad guys". We didn't need the church, the mafia, the local nobles, the empire, an underground cult, AND a race of godlike creatures that vanished years ago. There were also a lot of plot holes and confusing romances. While this is far from the worse book I've ever read the best I can say is that its mediocre.
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~Thank you Netgalley and Angry Robot Publishing for allowing me to receive an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!

5⭐ 𝐒𝐭𝐚𝐫𝐬

•This book was a unique fantasy that I thoroughly enjoyed reading and found it to be a simple, enjoyable read.

𝐏𝐥𝐨𝐭
•I liked the plot of this story a lot. It had complex aspects and fun twists but it was able to be wrapped up in a satisfying ending that was full of fluff and true friendship that was a breath of fresh air from the usual fantasy endings of secrets and set up for sequels. 

•The worldbuilding also added to this plot and allowed me to make connections between characters, the history of the world, and the unique people and characters in the story. All of this together truly wove a story that moved at a proper pace and kept my interest.

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐬
•The characters were all unique and changed throughout the story and many held secrets that pushed the story along. All of them interacted in ways that made sense and the growing friendships and romance also made them realistic and gave them layers. 

•Each one was dynamic and the author made sure to give them proper motives and stick to them. This combined with the world-building mentioned before truly brought them to life.

𝐖𝐨𝐫𝐥𝐝𝐛𝐮𝐢𝐥𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠
•The world crafted in this story is full of depth and history that all connected into the story and had unique aspects that helped this story stand out. The rich history and creation of numerous legends gave it life and made it appear ancient and a testament of time rather than a flimsy world made for a story. Essentially, it made me feel like the story was made for the world, not the other way around.

𝐎𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐚𝐥𝐥
•I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys YA Fantasy, morally gray characters, and decisions that have the world hanging in a balance. I understood the stakes in this story and was rooting for the characters the whole time.
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3.5 ✨
“If anyone can upend a century’s worth of planning, it is Shade Nox.” (For Trigger warnings see the end of review)
Obsidian had me gripped from the first few pages and in due course I devoured it in a day. A great read for fans of A Court of Thorns and Roses
introducing the cast and setting the scene
We follow
Shade Nox - infamous black witch; powerful, daring, desperate, and full of daddy issues
Captain Raiden Mad - morally focused, law abiding, Imperial Emissary, short and similarly riddled with parental issues
Dante Safire - high prince, high power, high risks playboy... seemed somewhat free of daddy issues
And then the backup boys of Petra, Manoli, Cyril, Matteo and Angelo

  I love this writing style, it felt so easy to immerse myself in Malavita. In a fantasy post apocalyptic-seque world, a devastating war left the land burned by black magic and uninhabitable. Through powerful blood magic the Brotherhood raised Veils which protect the population. Only the morals of the Church and Brotherhood leave a lot to be desired.
With the support of Dante and through Raiden, the empire, Shade hopes to open a new Veil. One that is far from the tainted powered of the Capomagji. One in which the Golondrina, the people who saved her and raised her can live in peace.
My only wish with this book is that we could have seen more of Shades badassery. It felt like every hundred pages she got saved by Raiden. Which I’m not saying in itself is a bad thing, I liked that she wasn’t a “strong independent woman “ ( I.e a man with boobs) but I felt that a) this wasn’t expanded on enough outside of the combat side of things and b) I didn’t feel like there was a full scene where we saw her full power and why she was so feared without her being saved.
I loved the found family aspect between Shade and the Golondrina - especially Cyril. To be honest I love all the drama friendship relationships and arcs. The Romance arcs on the other hand fell slightly flat for me. Too much happened to fast for me to get behind relationships, also a small love triangle makes an appearance and I am really not a fan of that trope.
Overall it’s the writing of this book that I really enjoyed, it was like a perfect combination of pacing, world building and dialog. Completely compatible to binge reading
Trigger warnings:
Self harm and mentions of suicide.
The self harm isn’t exactly self harm, but the magic system is such that wizards cut themselves to release magic.
Suicide is only mentioned once in the book.

Massive thanks to Sarah Daley and Angry Robot Publishing for the opportunity to read this book !
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The world building in this book was pretty great, I love stories with blood magic and alchemy, the use of tattoos and crystals in this magic systems were a different twist. Some of the characters and relationships didn't always feel fleshed out or like they made sense in the end but I am also VERY particular about relationships I deem realistic or believable in the media I consume, so it could be just me. Other than that, it was a fun ride!
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3.9 stars. To save her people, Shade vows to raise a Veil of protection against the encroaching Wastes. But powerful enemies see her as a force of destruction and swear to see her obliterated first.

I tend to seek characters I can empathize with on some level, but I was never able to get beyond Shade's arrogance, which fueled not only by her confidence in her power but also by the devotion of the men around her. I understand that that arrogance is what pushed her character forward against darkness and through the obstacles thrown in her way, but usually there's a path of growth that characters travel as they face their final trial. That was missing here, though it showed up in some of the secondary characters. Perhaps I might have enjoyed the story more if it were told through Raiden's eyes, as he became more than the two-dimensional spare royal who appeared in the first chapter. I would definitely like to have seen more of Raiden; his facets and talents were never fully explored even as he grew beyond the misconceptions grown from his limited experience outside the Empire.

I was given the opportunity to review an e-ARC of OBSIDIAN by Angry Robot and Netgalley.
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I’m always looking for fantasy reads and this one didn’t disappoint. Good plot and well built characters.
I would give it a chance!
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Obsidian is take on an apocalyptic world with a magic system, and Sarah J. Daley does a great job with the world building.  

Obsidian is about a is a dystopian post apocalyptic world that was destroyed in a magic conflict. All the surviving people now live in protected conclaves under magic shields known as veils. The original combatants have presumably disappeared, leaving only the humans struggling to survive. They are ruled by a corrupt brotherhood of "bloodwizards" which is essentially the Church and capomagj which is their version of the mafia. The magic is based on blood from slashing wounds with gem based knives that determine the strength of the wizard. This is how we get to our main character, Shade Nox. Wounds can be healed by using magic tattoos, which allows the wizards to repeatedly cut themselves.

I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook and have voluntarily left this review.
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I'm sad to say that I don't think that this book really did it for me. Obsidian is a fun, fast-paced young adult fantasy standalone that sadly missed some marks.
Let's talk about some of them.

The Characters
The characters were clear from the beginning, and felt like they all had their own voice. But I couldn't get attached to me at all, and they felt very one-sided or like a character trope. Our main character, for example, didn't feel like a fleshed out human with clear motivations. Shade felt like a typical "I'm not like other girls, 'cause I'm a badass strong female" type; because all we got was some remarks from other characters telling us this. We knew why she did what she did, because we were told so. Which goes for a lot of other characters as well; And that brings me to--

The Pacing
Okay. So. The main reason I didn't vibe with the characters or plot, was because the parts I thought were most interesting or impactful, were being skipped. We knew that they happened and how they happened, because after the timeskip we got told what and how it happened. The cool stuff was all "off-page", so to speak. That really threw me off, personally. Especially when it came to Shade Nox's past, I feel like we could've gotten way more attached to her as a character if we actually experienced her road to where she was at the beginning of the book. The same goes for Raiden; for him to get together with Shade a lot had happened to him, which has clearly impacted him a lot.
All in all; it was all tell but not show, in a way that I felt was kind of weird. For this, I wish the novel would've been longer, so that these moments could've actually been written out in the present, so that we as a reader may experience them along with the characters.

The Plot
Let's just say that the plot was pretty standard, and dare I say, predictable. I really didn't feel like the stakes were high at all, and the ending was way too easy in my opinion. From the beginning, I already didn't really feel on board with the motivations behind our main character's actions.
One more critique I have for this one, is the romance. For me I just really didn't understand why those characters got together; I had no base to go off on that explained why they actually liked each other? And it felt a little weird how it happened as well.

The magic system was a really cool concept though, I have to give it that. The concepts could've been explored more; what was up with the Brotherhood? And how did the discovery of this type of blood magic with magical gemstones happen? And what is actually behind the Veils people live behind?

Conclusion
If the book solved some of the problems it had (like I stated above), it could've been a really great and unique one with a really cool magic system including magical tattoos and elemental bloodmagic. The characters felt like first drafts of what could actually have been very likeable, humanlike ones. I wish the author just would've taken some more time and space to work stuff out a bit more.

A big, big thank you to Netgalley and Angry Robot for providing me an ARC in exchange for an honest review!
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I was drawn to Obsidian immediately with the beautiful cover and the premise of the world, wasting away to dangerous magic and beasts, the only protection being magical shields called Veils that envelop entire cities, and a fiesty stubborn witch using magic forbidden to anyone but men. 

The pace moves fast from the very first page as we are dropped into the action very early on.  There is an interesting political dynamic with an expanding empire, a small country that has been conquered so many times it doesn't really care who rules, and independent factions living beyond the protection of the Veils.  I especially liked the mix of elemental and blood magic and different gemstones determining the level of power to each wielder, and how each different faction used the magic differently. 

The main character is Shade Nox, a blood witch laughing in the face of the Brotherhood and other blood wizards, knowing that she is stronger than any of them even after they tried to keep the magic forbidden to her.  She is arrogant and cocky in most situations and willing to fake being arrogant and cocky for the rest.  For the most part it makes her very fun to follow.

Even with the constant action and interesting world I struggled to get into this one and remain focused for any length of time.  The problem is that its such a plot focused book that it never really delves that far into the characters themselves or their motivations.  Everything is all very surface level and it makes it difficult to get invested in the characters and all the relationships between the group feel disconnected. This isn't helped by the fact that, despite a large group of characters interacting, their is very little dialogue to speak of and what is there feels awkward and stunted.  I have always preferred character driven stories though, so people prefer plot driven ones might not care too much. 

If you like fast plot driven action and fiesty bisexual women taking on the patriarchy then this might just be the book for you, but if you want deep characters you can get invested in then maybe not.
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This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review

There are a lot of things I didn't like about this book and there are some things I think were interesting. 

Obsidian is set in a fantastical world with the main character, Shade Nox, a bloodwitch, who has a goal of creating a veil for her people. The chapters explore her relationships with other characters. 

Firstly, the world building didn't come in strong. While reading fantasy, there's always a need for context but Obsidian doesn't provide that. There are a few words and events that happened that readers can imagine or experience because there's no showing. 

This book has more telling than showing. The Characters are another reason I struggled to finish. The main character, Shade Nox, honestly there's no reason why you should like her. 

She's comes off as the "I can do everything and anything I want" kind. In my opinion there was no emotional growth and Character development for Shade Nox. 

Every Character has a "Why" their desire to keep the plot moving that often changes when they realise their goals are unachievable. There was none for Shade Nox. There's also no backstory for her, just a few mentions of her father. 

We never got to see how she became a part of the Golondria  clan or end up working for Dante Safire another Character. 

Another thing that I didn't enjoy was the poor religious and political systems in the book. Who is this emperor with great power? Why were the church based on this rules. The world building like I said was too shallow. Not enough details. 

The most annoying part was the relationships Shade Nox had. The sudden interest in Matteo felt like the author just wiped it out at the end. It had no business being in the plot. 

The Characters are unlikable Because we can't see their desires, motivation to overcome a certain destiny. Not much conflict arises that brings emotional growth for the Characters. 

The ending was what I thought would at least make everything right but it was the same as the whole story. I actually struggled to finish Obsidian Because I didn't see a reason to keep believing in this fantastical world. 

And the blades, how were they made? What powers did each have? What's the purpose of the veil? What is even a veil? Questions that's what a lot of people will have while reading and nobody is going to answer these questions.
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1.75 stars

I wish I could I say I was truly disappointed with how this book went down, but upon further reflection after reading this and letting some time settle between this review and my actual reading experience, I'm more ambivalent if anything.

And that's almost worse.

At approximately the 13% mark of the novel, the world building had placed the groundwork in to structure the world and setting, but the execution had a lot left to be desired because there simply just wasn’t enough exposition to satisfy my curiosity. Nothing was delved into to the extent that I would've preferred and it’s a shame because I think the premise had potential.

It started off slow on the character analysis front, and while I was hoping this would pick up, that never actually happened. I was really hit and miss with all of the character relationships, and I think it was the incorporation of romance that really ruined things for me. There appeared to be some sort of reverse harem setup at play, and it really just felt low effort and not emotionally worth investing in at all. Plus, when it was coupled with the fact that the chosen one trope was alive and thriving at the same time? All I can say is the struggle was real and that the reading experience had me disgruntled because I felt like I knew what the author was trying to aim for and how awesome it could've been if achieved, but there was a distinct lack of fluidity to the plot which was exacerbated by it's fast pace. 

One of my main issues with the world building was how new concepts and characters were introduced, because it was done in a way that was very brusque, and with a tone that implied that it all should make sense, when very often, it didn’t. And it’s a shame because foundationally there was a lot to like, but it never seemed to build and layer upon itself in any concrete sort of fashion.

Thus, at the halfway mark ,I decided nonchronological was the way to go with respect to story consumption if I wanted to finish it at all. This resulted in me realizing that the story was very clearly intending to build upon itself as a series, even though I don’t have anything that would actually verify that a sequel is imminent and in the works. And then as I read further it became evident that I was just not enjoying myself. The romance just continued to snowball on itself in the worst possible way because the character relationships and dynamics were not fleshed out.

At ~75% of the way through, I just wanted it to be over. This is also when I noticed that the sex scenes were fade to black. Now that in itself is not a problem, but the fact that it highlighted that so much of novel seemed to be missing or off-page? That's where it fell short for me. And that's completely bypassing the fact that Shade was screwing around with two brothers at the time, which is brushed to the side with a simple, *oh, it was just the heat of the moment* kind of mentality. 

The further into the plot I got, the less that made sense and the less inclined I felt towards the book as a whole because the characters never felt like fully-fledged individuals. More like fragments of characters, or rather glimpses of people, but never enough to constitute any sort of compassion out of me towards their plight. And even then, something else was just off. I’m not sure if it was the choice to have multiple POV’s and yet not be terribly bothered by their lack of structure that just set me off or what. But something was rotten in the novel known as Obsidian, and it’s still irking me in the most bothersome way.

At the end of the day, I didn't enjoy it. Not to the point of active dislike, but still.

I hope things change with the actual release, but at this point, I wouldn't pick the finished product given the choice.
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I requested this one because it might be an upcoming title I would like to review on my Youtube Channel. However, after reading the first several chapters I have determined that this book does not suit my tastes. So I decided to DNF this one.
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