Esmes Indie Highlights/SPFBO: Stolen Magic by Marina Finlayson

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This book is part of Fantasy Factions grouping and doesn’t have any feedback yet.

Plot:

The book starts out with a robbery taking place at the Mayor’s manor, Lexi, the main character, is breaking into his house to steal something from him. He just fired one of her friends who’s pregnant and really needed the job – so as revenge she’s taking stuff from his house. She decides on an altarpiece of Posieden since he’s a “water shaper” and tosses it into the bay – her friend Syl thinks this is a really bad decision but Lexi does it anyway.

Later on, when Lexi helps find two kids who got lost in the woods using her ability to link with animals, Jake Steele, (a high ranking person in society) figures out that she’s not simply a “human” and has some sort of powers. Jake is convinced that Lexi is up to something and is keeping a close eye on Lexi, making her life difficult.

Syl eventually gets herself into trouble and Lexi has to figure out a way to help her – vampires, lion shifters and fireshapers ensue.

Final Score: 6.5/10


Characters:

  • Lexi – the main character, and a little different from the standard magical categorization – neither a shaper or a shifter, she still has command over animals and can absorb some of their attributes. For example, when she uses cats during her robberies she gains better night vision.
  • Jake Steele – a fire shaper and one that the main character is very interested in despite the gap in social status. He sits on the Ruby Council and is considered a Lord of sorts.
  • Syl – Lexi’s best friend and a shifter. She’s become so paranoid that someone will recognize her in her human form that she spends the majority of the book in her cat form. Lexi is concerned that she won’t ever change back, and will stay as a cat permanently. She’s much more cautious than Lexi, often times telling her to be more careful and not to do stupid crap that will get them into trouble.
  • Alberto – a benevolent vampire that owns a few shops in town, including the bookstore where Lexi works

Final Score: 5.5/10

 


World Building:

  • Shapers are the “upper class” of this world and can get away with crimes against humans without much fear of consequences. They believe that they are the children of a race of divine beings. Shapers can use different elements and command them – Fire shapers can burn you to death, Water shapers can command tidal waves to wash away villages
  • Shifters are able to take the forms of animals, Syl, the main characters best friend, is able to shift into a cat.
  • Humans are lower on the social order of this world. Without being able to perform any kind of magic, they are usually at the mercy of those that can.
  • There was something called The Great War between the shapers and the rest of humanity. A shaky truce was drawn because both humans and shapers wanted something the other side had. Shapers want the technology that humans produce, and made a pact that they’d stop wiping out towns of humans if they were given access to tech.
  • One Worlders are a sect that neither the Shapers or most humans like, they are extremists and they’ve been around since The Great War. They want to rid the world of both Shapers and Shifters

Final Score: 7/10


Pacing/Prose/Tone:

This isn’t exactly an action filled book, but the pacing was okay. It read pretty quickly since there were no info dumps or long exposition of stuff, the world building was slowly revealed through the book.

It had a much lighter tone than the stuff I’ve read recently, so that was a nice change.

The writing was simpler with the prose getting out of the way of the story. This is sort of an urban fantasy set in an alternate world, so modern terminology was used frequently.

Pacing Final Score: 7/10

Writing Final Score: 8/10


Originality:

I’ve seen a lot of shape-shifting and elemental magic – but I don’t usually see them together.

Final Score: 7/10 


Audience:

  • For people who like female pov
  • For people who prefer straightforward storytelling
  • For people who like shapeshifters
  • For people who like a lot of magic
  • For people who like thieves as POVs
  • For people who like “female gaze”
  • For people who like hierarchical social structure
  • For people who prefer books without a lot of fight scenes/action scenes

 

Total Final Score: 41/60 or 6.8/10 or 3 stars, nearly 4 stars on goodreads

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