Title and Author:
Beggar Magic by H. L. Burke
Name of Reviewer:
This is a well-paced adventure story. A stand-alone, the story wraps up rather nicely, though I feel that there is definitely room for more stories set in this world. While we get a fair view of Gelia itself, we only get a glimpse of the wider world Gelia is part of, and many questions about the world and the Strains are left unanswered.
The characters are delightful and quite real. I enjoyed the stark differences between Leilani and Zeb, and the way that it affected their friendship throughout the story. I liked that the drama moments did not get too drawn out. When Leilani and Zeb had a fight, they sort of stomped off to their corners and dealt with it, and then returned to being friends without too much unnecessary angst dragging on. I liked that Leilani's parents were cautious and strict, but not in a way that made them into caricatures in any way. They were very real, despite being fairly small roles in the story.
There is a sweet splash of romance in the book as well, and my very favorite character was one of the deaf guards - which was done very well. I don't think I've actually ever read a fantasy story that included a deaf character before and I felt that Burke did a wonderful job with it. She also created her own form of sign language for the guards (most of them are deaf) because she felt that certain signs in ASL would not have the correct context in her fantasy world, so I appreciated the world-building aspect that this element brought into the story.
It is a very dear little tale, of friendship, betrayal, pride, and loyalty. And while you may be able to figure out some of the twists before the big "aha!" moment, I don't think you'll mind, because you're going to be reading this book for the characters and the world. But if the mystery takes you by surprise as it did me, that's just the cherry on top.
As an added bonus, the writing style has a flow to it that lends itself well to reading out loud, which I always appreciate.
Good for fans of fantasy who like a hint of steampunk. Good for anyone who likes to read out loud.
Books and movies you would compare this to:
Prince and the Pauper
Did you have a favorite character or least favorite character?
Brick was my favorite
What mood did this book leave you in?
Adventure, Coming of Age, Mystery, Young Adult
Reviews by Readers
This blog features reviews of Fellowship of Fantasy titles submitted by readers.