4 out of 5 stars
An Unholy Magick had all of the facets that I enjoy in a novel—adventure, action, romance, and diversity—and a few I didn’t expect. These elements worked together to fashion unique and memorable characters throughout the narrative. Elena Salas is a particularly strong-willed and determined lead. Driven by a past that keeps resurfacing and a mission for revenge, she finds herself the main character of a king’s twisted plot to rule the world. Schmidt’s style is altogether simple but impactful, her magic realm well structured and intriguing, and the action plentiful. I would recommend this to any fantasy enthusiast craving a quick but engrossing tale.
From the beginning, Schmidt immerses the reader in the world of Terra and the kingdom of Anglar, and Elena’s place within it. Readers are given lots of background and world-building information throughout, firmly grounding them in the setting and the magic system Schmidt has created. One jarring element for me was the use of standard days of the week (Monday, Wednesday, etc.) rather than more unique weekday names for the world. It made me feel briefly detached from the story, but it was a minor annoyance rather than a real problem. Another element that I thought would be problematic but actually worked well was the amount of villains featured. Each villain had distinct aspects, mannerisms, and even speech patterns that made them easy to remember and to differentiate between.
As an avid runner, I was happy to see that Elena engaged in running activities (ah, those dreaded hill repeats!). Schmidt uses running as a way for Elena and another character, Aranka, to become friends. This aspect was especially resonating for me, as I’ve become friends with many people through our shared joy of the sport.
The love interests sent a strong message of love is love and varied from character to character. I was happy to see a variety of romances budding throughout the story. Zoran and Elena’s attraction is instant, and there’s little surprise how that will unfold by the novel’s conclusion; however, other side interests that arise were unexpected and could provide good material to explore in a sequel.
Overall, I’m excited to see how this series progresses. I will certainly be anticipating the next Vile Sacraments title!
Thank you to the wonderful team at Parliament House for supplying me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review.