Author: M K England
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Published: January 21st, 2020 (HarperTeen)
Synopsis: In Kyrkarta, magic—known as maz—was once a freely available natural resource. Then an earthquake released a magical plague, killing thousands and opening the door for a greedy corporation to make maz a commodity that’s tightly controlled—and, of course, outrageously expensive.
Which is why Diz and her three best friends run a highly lucrative, highly illegal maz siphoning gig on the side. Their next job is supposed to be their last heist ever.
But when their plan turns up a powerful new strain of maz that (literally) blows up in their faces, they’re driven to unravel a conspiracy at the very center of the spellplague—and possibly save the world.
Thank you to the publisher, HarperTeen, and Edelweiss for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Magic, known as maz, was freely available in Kyrkarta before an earthquake contaminated it with a plague, killing thousands, and a corporation stepped in and commercialized it. Years later, Diz and her friends are running their last job illegally siphoning maz when they accidentally siphon something they weren’t supposed to find. Now they have said corporation, the MMC, wanting to kill them so that they don’t expose the secret of what turns out to be the secret, fifteenth strain of maz. But the friends have stumbled onto something far more dangerous than just a new strain of maz – they’ve accidentally unearthed a conspiracy that will have massive repercussions and possibly destroy the world if the MMC is not stopped.
Magic as a tangible thing is definitely a concept that I’m seeing for the first time, and a fascinating one. The world-building for this book was very interesting with its combination of science and magic, with all the gadgets that can be used to manipulate maz. I’ll admit that I saw ‘heist’ and immediately thought of Six of Crows, but this turned out to be very different. By and by large, the plot twists were rather predictable, but still interesting and makes for quite a delightful adventure.
The main thing I didn’t enjoy about this book was the narrator Diz. Diz, for atleast half the book is an insufferable character and incredibly immature. It is understandable that she has issues talking about her feelings, but it’s ridiculous to get angry because people are doing something she doesn’t want them to do when she never makes it clear what she wanted in the first place. This aspect of her is perhaps overdone and went on long enough to be irksome even though she grows up a little throughout the course of this book. In fact, I didn’t find myself connecting with any of the characters – but still thoroughly enjoyed the story, which was quite a strange experience. I did appreciate the diversity in this book, mostly for how it’s taken as a part of their identity so naturally and not as the point of the story. Apart from that, the world building, while good, takes its time getting to things, which, for me atleast, left a lot to assumption until the story did get around to explaining it.
I’m not sure how to feel about the ending in general because it leaves a lot to the imagination. The immediate threat is dealt with, but the MMC isn’t really gone, and they’re still pretty powerful. Overall, this was a fast paced and intriguing read with an engaging writing style and I would definitely recommend it.
Spellhacker releases on January 21st, 2020.
Do you plan to read this book? Let me know in the comments below!