“I always thought I’d die in a suitable dramatic way”
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.
Initially, I did find this book difficult to get into but that was all me (not the book) as I was unwell and wasn’t in the right headspace at the time, but when I was feeling a little better, I couldn’t put the book down.
The book starts with a description of all of the different types of magic or ‘maz’ as it’s called in this book. Some people are naturally gifted with the ability to control maz without any assistance and then others are able to manipulate it with the help of technology. I’m a big fan of magical systems and it’s nice to come across a new concept like this one, each maz element is categorised, so fire would be firaz, light/sunlight is sonnaz etc. They can be combined and threaded to create intricate shapes from animated creatures to cloaks of invisibility. If I recall, there are 14 known strands of maz.
Diz is our main protagonist in Spellhacker, she’s a clever and witty character who, despite losing her father to the spellplague and watching her mother die from the same thing, has come a long way. She’s a master hacker and is the go-to person for all tech wizardry with maz. Unsure of what she wants to do in the future, she works with her friends to make a little money on the side running an illegal maz siphoning gig. What promises to be their last gig and the disbanding of the group, naturally goes wrong and embroils the group into chaos and the discovery that the spellplague might not have been an accident after all.
I love Diz, her internalisation is something I feel that a lot of people will relate to. She loves Remi who is sick from the spellplague but doesn’t let them know. She won’t show her emotions and anytime they get close, she backs out hurting their feelings. It’s a will they won’t they situation through most of the book and you just want to give them a nudge.
Her ‘parents’ of the group as she describes them are Jaesin and Ania. Jaesin was orphaned like Diz and Remi but Ania is from a wealthy family. Together the four of them make quite the team. Remi is a prodigy with their use of maz and Ania is a techwitch. She understands how maz works and how to manipulate it but doesn’t have the same ability to work it naturally as Remi does.
Also huge cute couple for the professor and his husband (no spoilers but it was lush reading the love there!)
This book was truly a joy to read, it’s a queer magical heist and was the perfect book for me to start 2020 with. M. K. England has woven a beautiful book here with a relatable and refreshing writing style. It’s filled with suspense, mystery, betrayal, magic and love. What more do you need?
A highly recommended book for your TBR 2020 lists. A huge thank you to Harper360 for sending me this ARC.
Spellhacker is released on January 21st 2020.