ARC REVIEW: The Brilliant Death by Amy Rose Capetta

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For Teodora DiSangro, a mafia don’s daughter, family is fate.

All her life, Teodora has hidden the fact that she secretly turns her family’s enemies into music boxes, mirrors, and other decorative objects. After all, everyone in Vinalia knows that stregas—wielders of magic—are figures out of fairytales. Nobody believes they’re real.

Then the Capo, the land’s new ruler, sends poisoned letters to the heads of the Five Families that have long controlled Vinalia. Four lie dead and Teo’s beloved father is gravely ill. To save him, Teo must travel to the capital as a DiSangro son—not merely disguised as a boy, but transformed into one.

Enter Cielo, a strega who can switch back and forth between male and female as effortlessly as turning a page in a book. Teo and Cielo journey together to the capital, and Teo struggles to master her powers and to keep her growing feelings for Cielo locked in her heart. As she falls in love with witty, irascible Cielo, Teo realizes how much of life she’s missed by hiding her true nature. But she can’t forget her mission, and the closer they get to the palace, the more sinister secrets they uncover about what’s really going on in their beloved country—and the more determined Teo becomes to save her family at any cost.

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*I received an early copy of this through the website, Bookish First – didn’t change my opinion at all but thanks so much!*

This book will easily go down as one of the most surprising and intriguing reads that I read of all 2018. I’ve read such few books this year that have stood out, and this book brought sexiness, magic, and moreeeeeeeeeeeee.

I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting when I first picked this book up. All I remembered was mafia but with magic, and like, that was enough for me? This book brought all the magic – the easy writing, the incredibly interesting and original magic system, the complex and rootable characters, and a romance that finally brought me a ship to sailllllll.

The only issue I had a few times was with the writing. Don’t get me wrong – Capetta is a fantastic writer and her book really is a breeze to read through. To be honest, fantasy usually trips me up a bit with the worldbuilding, but I would consider this to be “light” fantasy where we get some epic magic without have to diving deep into a brand new, wholly imagined world. However, the issue I had was sometimes I would get confused. For example, the first time our main character Teo meets, Cielo, I was really confused. Like it seemed a little odd and disjointed and I kept blinking at the page going, feeling like there was a glitch in my matrix because it wasn’t computing??? It just happened a few times, but that was the only thing I really noticed with the book. Otherwise, Capetta fully immersed me in a beautiful, lush setting that I could easily see with a beautiful magic world that was easy to understand – which is all a book princess could ask for.

Our main characters were great. I really vibed with Teodora. I got the decisions that were made,and I got her wants and I got her desires and I just got her. She was so easy to root for, and I loved being in her voice. Cielo was such a fascinating and great character. Cielo always felt like not just a magical character but magic itself. Cielo was enchanting and caring. I would have liked a little bit more diving in deeper with Cielo, just because I wanted to learn as much as I could. And yes, both Teodora and Cielo are genderfluid, and seeing their struggles/freedom/etc. with this was amazing. The other side characters were interesting, dynamic, and distinct as well.

Plus, the romance between them was fieryyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy. I found some feels finalllllllllllllllly. My cold heart does pitter patter again! Can we all heave a sigh of relief that the princess of swoons found some swoons??

tiana
Tiana is allllllll here for magic, but she much rather use it for her food instead of, you know, using it to turn people into music boxes.

The plot was pretty captivating as well. There was no real moment that was just thrown in for filler. We’re quickly thrown into the fire with Teodora having to run off with her brother, Luca, to find a way to cure her dying father while also dealing with a meddling and tyrant head of the five families who poisoned her father in the first place. Then add in cool magic and a mysterious witch, and you’ve got one story that keeps you on your toes.

Overall, this was such a cool read. I loved reading it, and I was quite sad to be separated from the world once I finished. Really the only thing that tripped me up were a few confusing parts, but overall, this was a really cool world that was Mandy Verified Easy Fantasy. A good ship, good characters, and good plotlines drove the heart of this story, and you will definitely want to add to your TBRs if you want something different than the ordinary YA fantasies out there. 5 crowns and a Tiana rating!

five-stars

What do you think? What was the last book that confused you? What book was the lat book to prompt you to do a really long review? Let’s discuss in the comments below!

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5 thoughts on “ARC REVIEW: The Brilliant Death by Amy Rose Capetta

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