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Reviewed by Aimee Carol Dixon for Readers' Favorite
Finn Lockwood comes from an influential family, but has always dreamed of doing something meaningful on his own. His magical talent is mediocre at best, but he knows he can be of use if he is only given the chance. Hopeful and hardworking to a fault, Finn is nonetheless aware that he isn’t up to his society’s snuff. Rocío Lopez has done everything right. She has gone to every tutorial class, followed every rule. She has even worked her way through the most advanced texts in the library of the Manhattan Academy of Aspiring Mages in the hours after her classes. Her talent is stronger than the last Chosen. When circumstance lead them both to declare for the Exam, they discover just how ruthless their culture is. The decision to fight for their magic leads them through unimaginable torment, the secret trials meant to push them beyond their ability to endure. It is in that place of no hope where they find their true strengths. Megan Crewe’s Ruthless Magic: Conspiracy of Magic #1 is rarely comfortable, often surprising, and utterly engrossing.
Some may note that, at first glance, Ruthless Magic bears a rather close resemblance to Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games. Within the first few pages, however, Crewe proves that Ruthless Magic is its own entity entirely. Alternating between two points of view allows you to really immerse yourself in the two very distinct factions of Crewe’s world, something that is especially important since Crewe’s world is very much a dichotomy between the old magic families and the new magic citizens. Finn Lockwood represents the best of magical society: his family is influential and powerful, which is a source of intense pride and despair. Anyone who has ever felt utterly disappointing will find in Finn a sympathetic soul. Despite his magical shortcomings, Finn is far from a hindrance. On the other side is Rocío Lopez, a prodigy with magic whose ideals and ability to hearken to the magic lead her to a realization that turns everything on its head. No matter how hard you try, Ruthless Magic will surprise you. Crewe does not pull punches. As her world unfurls and you are taken deeper into the Exam, it becomes very clear just how ruthless magic can be.