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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
A Weapon of Magical Destruction by Katie Salidas is the first book in the Agents of A.S.S.E.T series. Sage is still dealing with the loss of her mother and what she inherits is the last thing she ever expected. Getting her mother's belongings from her office at A.S.S.E.T was supposed to help with the grieving. Instead, ever since returning home, weird things have happened and Sage's pretty sure she's losing her mind. Seeing strange things is the least of her problems when she loses her job and then receives a visit from mysterious man who reveals her mother's secret work dealing with magical beings. She doesn't want to believe him but being attacked by a vampire forces her to face this new world. She's given a chance to take her mother's place, but she doesn't trust A.S.S.E.T and she's not about to blindly work for them. As a war threatens and the truth of her mother's death is revealed, Sage learns of a magical weapon that could destroy everyone if it falls into the wrong hands. With surprising allies, Sage searches inside A.S.S.E.T for a murderer but knowing who to trust is almost as hard as making her roommate less suspicious.
Sage has a complex, fun, dangerous, and emotional journey as she grieves over the loss of her mother and discovers secrets that change her life. She struggles to process the emotional weight of losing her mom and this plays into her story throughout as well as her personality, giving her this biting quality at times where she lashes out. She's a spunky character with a strong and layered personality that has charming quirks and flaws to balance out her strengths. She's completely well-rounded with a sass to her that never stops and a strong-willed attitude that never lets her quit. She's also incredibly nerdy and owns it which makes her even more delightful and allows for the inclusion of fun references to various fan favorites. Her journey is more about finding her strength than it is becoming a hero. Though she is heroic, she's more on a search for her identity in this world she's been thrown into and having to learn how to navigate this new life while balancing it with her old one.
Katie Salidas has a steady build up exploring a thorough introduction into this secret society of magical beings while also getting inside Sage's life and the normality she has at the beginning. Salidas subtly weaves in oddities in Sage's normal life which build up to her discovery of magic. The mythology of this world is explored but it feels as if it's just one peek inside this larger society which leaves you wanting to know more and to explore everything this world has to offer. Salidas excels at fun relationships as Sage has a talent with quick banter which is often brought out, especially around the mysterious Grey. The two have tension between them where their comments are often biting while also supplying humor. Despite the serious moments and emotional turmoil, the tone stays light throughout, thanks to Sage's personality and sharp wit. Possibly the best relationship is between Sage and her roommate, Matt, who share a sibling dynamic which includes protectiveness, advice, a shoulder to cry on, and someone to be nerdy with. They accept each other fully and have a repartee that's delightful with both characters having a sass to them that comes out when they share scenes. A Weapon of Magical Destruction is an addictive read you won't be able to put down, full of mystery, magic, nerdy references, and quirky characters.