Cover Image: An Unreliable Magic

An Unreliable Magic

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Member Reviews

I did not realize this was book 2 of the series and I do not currently have book one so I will submit this review as a default 5 stars so as to not scew results since Rin's work is so well written I know it will be at least that much when I read it.
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for an advanced copy of An Unreliable Magic in exchange for an honest review. 
When I read the first book, I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t my favorite of Chupeco’s books. I feel similarly about this sequel. While I had a good time while I was reading it, I don’t think that the story will stick with me in any lasting way. I definitely think there are people out there that will absolutely love this book. It is full of representation that I cannot say if it’s accurate or not. There’s a host of lgbt identities in this book and they were for the most part made to seem normal and casual which I liked. 
I think the pacing of the story was well done. It was full of action and mystery. The lead up to the big climax was well done i think. Chupeco did a great job dropping bits and pieces to keep me wondering what was really going on. 
Overall, I had fun reading this. The ending made it seem like there was opportunities for more books in the series. I think would probably pick up any future installments were they to come out.
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I absolutely adore Wicked as You Wish, and I was very excited for the third book. While I like this book, I did not love it. This is mostly because this installment fills like a filler that is leading up to the conclusion. The many characters in this story are not really doing anything to enhance the plot. I think that this trilogy should have been a duology because the characters did not have any growth. Nevertheless, the story is very well-written. Mrs. Chupeco has a talent for making her world come alive on the page. Her writing is very lush and poignant. Therefore, I am looking forward to reading the final novel in this trilogy because it is a very refreshing tale on The Snow Queen! I recommend this for fans of Elizabeth Lim, Roshani Chokshi, and Julie C. Dao!
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I really like this world.  My only issue is my memory sucks and there are so many characters.  I did not remember the first book so it delayed my enjoyment a bit.  The epilogue killed me and I need to know what happens next.
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An Unreliable Magic was a fair attempt at a sequel book but it failed to have the same read-me factor that its predecessor did. 

While entertaining overall, the book had an unfortunate 'put-down-ability' that left something to be desired.
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I think Rin Chupeco is a really phenomenal author. I love the way they write and find their characters really interesting. I think that this is an interesting follow up to a book I really loved. Unfortunately for this book, the gap between book one and two left me hanging a bit and I struggled to get into this. Also the cover change ensured that I won't buy this physically. The characters in this were great but the vibes were a little off for me
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1.5 rounded to two.

This sequel was just as confusing and felt as pointless as the first. Along with more language I didn't understand and that wasn't even translated the cast of already confusing amounts of characters continued to grow. Throw in a random throw back to the villain of the first book, plus a whole lot of "I want to love you but I can't!!! MY DOOM!!!!" and you've now read the same book I did in a much shorter amount of time.

I honestly don't recommend this book or it's predecessor. It's confusing, adds too much content to have a real plot, and it's just not well written. I'm bummed, as I've heard nothing but great things about this author, but after these two books I don't find myself looking to read more.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I'm still reeling a bit and need to piece my thoughts together for a more coherent review but there's a reason why Rin Chupeco continues to blow me away with their stories time and time again. An Unreliable Magic did suffer from the same overwhelming mix of stories and information that the first book did and it felt like we were just jumping from one story to the next with all the different characters and their backgrounds but this book is also just fundamentally centered around family both found and biological that I can't help but adore the characters and will stand by them no matter what.
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I love this fairy tale mash-up series, and An Unreliable Magic picks up reliably where Wicked As You Wish left off. I also adore a rag-tag group of misfits, so I was so happy to spend another 400+ pages with this crazy gang of kids. Book three now, please. *impatiently taps credit card on table*
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I really struggled with the first book in this series. It's a very info-dumpy series and there were just things I didn't like about it, no matter how much I loved getting to read about Tala's Filipino heritage. 

Honestly for me, it was all of the fairytale blending that just didn't work for me. And as that's a large premise of the book . . . yeah. That's why it didn't work. Part of me feels like this story would have been better done by not mentioning the other fairytales. Like, sure, borrow from the fairytales we grew up with to make your world but this complete immersion just didn't work for me. Every time someone mentioned Wonderland or a rabbit hole or Snow White or whatever, it completely pulled me out of the story. See, I'm smart enough to connect the Sleeping Beauty needle reference without you telling me it's a Sleeping Beauty needle reference, and all of the mentioning of their things just made it feel so info dumpy and made it extra confusing for me.
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An Unreliable Magic picks up mere weeks after that ending in Wicked as You Wish, and while the evil Snow Queen is still a threat that the banders need to defeat, her role in book two is lesser as we focus on new and evolving enemies. 
Our favourite banders got some real page time this book with additional POVs to just Tala and Alex, which allowed us to delve into each character more effectively.
 
The charaters in this novel really do hold everything together and I was really pleased that one of the sub plots focused on each of their dooms and how (especially as teenagers) they behave towards the doom and the people closest to them. I did find this time round that our characters developments helped keep the booknon track as the first half lacked the same flow of book one with no seeming main story plot, but the character sub plots rounds it out and keeps you interested long enough for the main story to kick in and pick up the pace of the book.

I really loved that so much if the story takes place in Avalon too, and that time was spent exploring the land, the magic, the family histories, and the multitude of fairytales that here are a real as you and I. 

Its really hard to properly review a series like this without spoilers so I won't attempt anything further than to say I am excited for book three! 

4.5 stars, rounded down for 1st half pacing.
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DRC provided by Sourcebooks Fire via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Representation: Filipino-Scottish protagonist, non-binary Chinese protagonist, Japanese-English protagonist, gay white Slavic secondary character, Black secondary character, Filipino tertiary characters, deaf Filipino tertiary character, disabled Filipino tertiary character, white Scottish tertiary character, English tertiary character, Japanese tertiary character, gay tertiary characters, deaf white tertiary character, non-binary tertiary character.

Content Warning: violence, ICE, child abuse, racism, sexism, misogyny, homophobia, animal experimentation.

An Unreliable Magic by Rin Chupeco is the second instalment in the author’s A Hundred Names for Magic series, a fantasy trilogy inspired by real world events, and fairy-tales in such an original way.

After the events of the first book, Alex, Tala and the other Banders are temporarily safe in Avalon, but they need to be alert to the Snow Queen’s next attack. 

As I predicted in my review of the first book in which Tala got most of the focus as a point-of-view character, this second instalment had Ken, Zoe and Loki share equal time in the spotlight as our favourite Filipino-Scottish Makiling, delving deeper into their dooms (their prophesised futures) and their relationships. I hope that in the third we will get Alex, Nya, Cole and West together with Tala, so that all of that members can get their time to shine evenly. 

As my rating highlights, I did not like this second book as much as the first, but I blame it on the second-book-in-a-trilogy curse. They very rarely manage to build up more enthusiasm for the grand finale and sadly “An Unreliable Magic” happens to be no exception. It is still a very nice reading experience and I will fervently wait for the last book. I only wish it had more substance plot-wise, but I am still happy that we got more time with Ken, Loki and Zoe.
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An Unreliable Magic opens with Tala’s failure. Her constant attempts to complete Avalon’s obstacle course throughout the book mirror her character arc, with each new attempt bringing her closer to understanding what she needs to do both in the labyrinth and outside of it. I found her character arc to be all encompassing, while she retains her fierce protectiveness and stubborn streak, this sequel to Wicked as you Wish is about her learning to listen to others, especially her father.

Each of the other Banders also have their own character arcs. Zoe’s stands out as the most poignant, with Ken’s a close second. Though Loki and West both have their own POVs throughout, their arcs were less prominent, likely because they’ll extend into the next book. As for Alex, he’s a far more enjoyable character now that he’s not being cagey about important secrets. He wears his crown well, though glimpses of the teen he is shine through in certain scenes.

Overall Chupeco’s characters remain the book’s strongest aspect. They write them in such a way that you can’t help but care for the lot of them. The way they wrote the teens was my favourite as each is has a distinctive voice without coming off as too mature. They all have impulsive, even occasionally petulant moments that makes each of them delightful to experience. Chupeco also continue their inclusion of multiple LGBTQ+ characters. There is another non-binary character that comes along apart from Loki, while Alex’s sexuality also features as a prominent subplot.

An Unreliable Magic by Rin Chupeco expands the world they developed in the first book. Magic and its effect on history and politics are at the center of the story; we get to see both the good and the bad of it as governments and corporations alike seek to exploit it. Chupeco also expands Avalon’s history along with that of prominent families and segen. Through Ken’s and Cole’s gifts, shadow magic also becomes prominent in this book, while Chupeco also explores Tala’s magic and her clan’s history.

Despite how well Chupeco develops their characters, the same can’t be said of the book’s pacing and plot. I found the first half meandering, with the main plot often shadowed by the many subplots. I found the subplots just as engaging, but it lacked some of the structure of the first book at times. However, there’s more coherence in the second half, especially as the subplots start to converge leading to a climactic ending.

Overall I enjoyed An Unreliable Magic by Rin Chupeco. I found it escaped the middle book syndrome, even going so far as to say that it’s stronger than its prequel. I wasn’t left with as many questions as last time and I’m thoroughly excited for the next book. If Wicked As You Wish intrigued you, An Unreliable Magic will no doubt captivate you.
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An excellent continuation of the Hundred Names for Magic series, AN UNRELIABLE MAGIC continues Tala’s, Alex’s, and the rest of their group’s adventure. In this installment, our group is still trying to defeat the evil Snow Queen, though there’s a new threat as American refugees are being threatened. ⁣
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I love that this time around, we get to see more of Avalon and get a deeper look at all of the fairytales and fables that make up this world. We also get a bigger glimpse at more of the magic that makes up Avalon, and I loved getting to explore much of that alongside our characters. The world-building continues to blow me away, it’s so easy to get sucked in to this magical, rich world that Rin created with this series. The blend of fairytales and an alternate America is just *chef’s kiss*. ⁣
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I absolutely adored the first book, and now after finishing book 2 I can say that this series is one of my all-time favorites. With its diverse cast of characters, inclusion of real-world social injustice issues, and strong sense of loyalty and family, there’s just *SO* much to love. Rin is already one of my very favorites, and I’m convinced that anything they write is destined to be pure magic, much like this series. ⁣
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Do yourself a favor and add this series to your tbr. I’m so thrilled this is going to be a trilogy, and I will be waiting oh-so-impatiently for the third book. ⁣

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*Many thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for the digital arc.
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An Reliable Magic is the fantastic sequel to Wicked As You Wish by Rin Chupeco. This series is packed full of amazing characters, a great plot, magic, and incorporates so many amazing YA tropes.
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Thank you so much for this earc. This story was so much fun. Although I got slightly lost due to all the different povs. I definitely want more from this world.
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If you're looking for a fast-paced YA with complex and fun characters, great dialogue and a twisty plot then check out An Unreliable Magic. It's definitely for those who like modern fantasy books both setting, dialogue, and general vibe vise but the story is still filled with magic and all the important fantasy tropes. It's a feel-good yet action-filled book that's perfect for adults and ya readers.
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The Snow Queen is still determined to bring about the end of Avalon. Tala and the others all decide to prevent it, even after Ryker shows up after attacking detention facilities and freeing refugees. Legends tell of incredible power, and Tala's life only gets messier. It's only a matter of time before the Snow Queen arrives with an unlikely ally.

This follows right after the first book in the A Hundred Names For Magic series, after Wicked As You Wish, so absolutely read that one first. (Don't worry, you won't regret it!) Here, the frost receded from Avalon, and now there's more politics to deal with. Alex must provide leadership for his country, with the Fianna and the Banders keeping the people safe. While there are trials to be had, in the shape of our teens figuring out the nature of their dooms, Tala trying to finish the obstacle course and learn how to use her agimat, to the entire team tracking OzCorp's dangerous experiments. The dooms have repercussions for their love lives as well as for Avalon, and Tala is still figuring out her relationship with her father, Ryker, and her extended Filipino family. 

Magic carries a cost, and none of the teens are exempt. When Loki battles a jabberwocky early on, their weapon is damaged and they must work without it as it's repaired. Legal ramifications follow the raids into lockdown facilities, and using spellstones or spell shards results in very dangerous consequences. In this world of magic kingdoms and fairy tales come to life, which remains a feature keeping the teens and story grounded. Prophecy isn't always what people think it is, so I'm sure there's much more in store for them in future novels of the series.  I for one can't wait to see it!
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Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing this eARC in exchange for an honest review.

An Unreliable Magic is the second installment in Rin Chupeco's A Hundred Names for Magic trilogy, and continues to follow main characters Tala and Alex and their friends as they prepare to fight the Snow Queen.

This isn't my favorite series of Chupeco's, and thus far that has been because each installment has felt bigger than its britches in some way. With the first book, the issue was simply getting the reader acclimated to the fantasy world and magic system -- there's a lot to balance when literally every fairytale ever is real -- and with its sequel, the issue has shifted to crowd management. Though I do think the world is interesting, and the characters are entertaining, there were just so many people doing all kinds of different things that I felt like I couldn't effectively keep up.

Despite my misgivings about the overall volume of Things Being Managed in this book, I do think there was a lot that was good about it, most notably efforts at thematic elements which relate to our modern world. I am definitely hopeful for book 3; so much groundwork has been laid in books 1 and 2, book 3 is set up to potentially be the best of the bunch.
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The Nameless Sword has been found.  Legend says that whoever can wield the sword will be the most powerful warrior of their time.  Who will try and take the sword?  Who will be able to use it?  The Snow Queen is still out in the world causing mischief and Tala needs to find out what to do next.  When will the Snow Queen attack again?  Who is on her side and who is with Tala?

An Unreliable Magic is the second book in the A Hundred Names for Magic series.  Overall I enjoyed the storyline, but there were too many places that dragged and my mind started wandering.  I enjoyed the alternate history with fairy tale magic dispersed throughout, but I didn’t enjoy the way Chupeco included gender role discussions that seemed to be pushed in because of what is going on in our real timeline.  Overall this was an enjoyable read and I will look for the next book whenever it is released.
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