Cover Image: An Unreliable Magic

An Unreliable Magic

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Member Reviews

I really wanted to love this book because I've enjoyed things Rin Chupeco has written in the past and I think they are a great author, but this book just didn't do it for me. I was interested in the concept where pretty much EVERY fairy tale or well known folk lore story was real but I didn't like the way it was executed. Otherwise, I enjoyed the bickering between the main character and the love interest. I also enjoyed how diverse this book is! There's many characters that fall on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum and there's also a lot of racial diversity. Still interested in whatever Rin writes, but I think I'll stay away from this series if they write more in it.
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Well, here we go. We’re writing a review months after I have originally read this. Let’s see what I remember. An Unreliable Magic is the second book in the A Hundred Names for Magic series written by Rin Chupeco. The story takes place in an alternate world where the fairytales and stories we all have learned growing up happen to be real. Tala and the group are safe for now, but are waiting for whatever happens next with the Snow Queen. There’s also a powerful sword in the middle of all this. Did I do a good job remembering all this, without spoilers at least? I hope so. Anyways, moving on!

I really wish I could give a more thorough review, but I will have to keep this short. I enjoyed learning more about the stories and history behind Avalon and how it all come together into the land’s formation. The character themselves even add more to the story and land itself. The characters still have important roles to play and are still extremely vital to the story. Chupeco manages to keep all the characters involved rather than shuffling them in and out of the story.

In short, I know that I really enjoyed this next installment of the series and am sure that when I pick up the next and final book of the series, I will be remembering a lot more than I am right now. Hopefully then, I’ll leave a greater, more in depth review of that book, and the series itself afterwards then. Until then, give the series a try perhaps. I think you’ll enjoy it. (FYI, my review for the first book is much better. If you want more information, I would suggest give look over that review as well).
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This was an interesting follow up to book 2. My favorite parts involved the discussion of complex familial relationships.  I look forward to the finale!
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I attempted to read this book physically and could not get into it, so I waited for the audiobook to come out with my library and listened to it instead. There is nothing wrong with this story and I think it will have a great arc once it is completed but I think that there was too much time between when I read and review the first book and this one, I just didn't remember a single thing from the first book and was lost and confused for most of this book. I will say that it has great queer representation and I really appreciate what the author is doing by making this cast of characters so diverse. I will potentially reread this whole series in preparation for the last book and perhaps my rating will improve upon reread.
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This was so fun to read - despite the multiple character storylines, this felt a lot more grounded than the first book and I wasn't left reeling from the amount of information we got. The plotlines made more sense and while there might be different ones occurring at the same time there was a common thread. This actually makes me excited to read the final book of the trilogy!
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Even better than the first book!! Chupeco has successfully taken her character to the next level and I absolutely cannot wait for the next book!!
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One of my anticipated reads for 2022 is An Unreliable Magic by Rin Chupeco, sequel to Wicked As You Wish, which is a book I loved last year. Imagine how happy I was when I got approved for an e-arc through Netgalley.

An Unreliable Magic picks up the story after the events of Wicked. I must say, it started really slow for me. I mean, the first book definitely did the same, but I was more interested then. For the sequel, I was expecting to get passed that, but instead the book just focused a lot on the (many) different characters in the book, their lives (and romantic relationships).

I just wished these developments were woven more into the plot, but I guess Chupeco tried a different kind of storytelling here, where the main plot isn't actually linear, and that we get glimpses to the daily lives of the characters outside the big plot.

It was hard to get used to the prose, because my head still craved for action. Also, it felt like the info-dumping with the lore in this book was excessive, and though I appreciated it, it also slowed my pace a lot.

Finally, my thoughts on the plot development. Snails, turtles, National ID distribution in the Philippines.

I feel like the last bit of the book, where action finally happened, wasn't enough to meet my expectations from this sequel. Yes, there were details that interconnected from the info-dumping in the first half, but it wasn't satisfying for me. Also, the book cover is misleading (but explanation would be spoilery).

Final rating: 3 stars. I would still much like to review a third book (I can't rember if this was supposed to br a trilogy skxbsj), and I hope it gets better next time.
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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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