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An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard

Anybody who thinks that fantasy has run out of things to say about magic and magicians needs to read Kat Howard. An Unkindness of Magicians is a wonderful look at a magical New York City that lies side by side with the non-magical one, but is filled with all the same power games, secrets and mysteries.

The Unseen World is ruled by magical houses, such as House Merlin and House Prospero. When there is a “turning” magical battles determine the hierarchy among houses, whether upstarts can found a house of their own, and who ultimately rules over all the houses. Sydney, a product of the House of Shadows, is an unknown and very powerful magician who is hired to represent Laurent Beauchamps who is seeking to found his own house. They share a desire to shake up the political structure, which makes the powers that be increasingly nervous.

The battles start out as competitions to demonstrate prowess but eventually reach the point where outcomes become deadly. Along the way, it seems that magic i…

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