The Obsidian Tower by Melissa Carusso

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I am so late and so sorry about being so late. I had put the release date for this into my calendar as the 24th and thought I still had a few days… then I saw a review pop up for this by someone I know doesn’t get ARC’s and was like OMGWOT?!

What’s made this even more terrible is that it’s my first five-star review in… many months. It’s a book that helped me get out of my reading slump. It’s an amazing book I should have been yelling about… weeks ago. MEA CULPA

Ok, so, this ticked a lot of boxes. I love when magic takes a central role int the story, either as a part of the society or a major part of the main character’s life. I also love it when magic becomes more of a curse than a boon and something the MC has to work hard to control. Ryx was born with a power of destruction. Things that she touches wither and dies and her whole life have been revolving around not touching people – going so far as to have her own “lane” in the hallways so to speak. Her areas are marked so everyone knows to avoid them, if she should collide with someone in the hallway it could kill them.

Anyway, there’s trouble brewing. There is a very tenuous peace between three nations that have been known to go to war, and it’s her job to meet the dignitaries and work out some kind of long-lasting peace. Except one of those dignitaries dies. And it’s sort of kind of her fault, but also not really. She didn’t mean to kill this person, they were poking around where they didn’t belong. There’s a giant black door that her family is in charge of guarding. Even Ryx doesn’t know what’s behind it, it’s her duty to keep it shut and make sure whatever is behind it doesn’t get out. So, of course, this dignitary was like “lemme go open that door”, and dies. So now she’s got foreign nations at each other’s throats and if she’s found out to be responsible for the death it could mean her death or exile.

I loved Ryx as a character, I got to know her very well and I found her relatable, easy to root for, and complex. For people who are looking for bisexual main characters, here’s your book! I have come across a lot of gay characters recently, but not many bisexual characters. It didn’t seem to be a big deal in the society at large, nothing she had to hide. It was treated like a nonissue.

The world-building was pretty fascinating, you got to know a lot about how magic works and doesn’t work because of Ryx teams up with a group that investigates magical anomalies and dangerous objects.

I read through this in one sitting, the writing was crisp, fresh, and drove the story forward. There was always something going on and the world and characters got built up at the same time. There was very little in the way of info-dumping and it all felt very natural. The dialogue was smooth and fell into the background in a good kind of way. If I’m concentrating too hard on the dialogue because something feels off, it’ll slow the story down substantially.

I’d highly recommend this to a broad audience, it’s got something for everyone.


  • Plot: 12.5/15
  • Characters: 13.5/15
  • World Building: 13.5/15
  • Writing: 13/15
  • Pacing: 13.5/15
  • Originality: 12/15
  • Personal Enjoyment: 9.5/10

Final Score: 87.5/100 = 5 stars on Goodreads!