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In the contest to keep their magic the only options may be die or killEach year the North American Confederation of Mages assesses every sixteen year old novice Some will be chosen The rest must undergo a procedure to destroy their magical ability unless they prove themselves in the mysterious and brutal Mages' ExamDisadvantaged by her parents' low standing Rocío Lopez has dedicated herself to expanding her considerable talent to earn a place in the Confederation Their rejection leaves her reeling—and determined to fight to keep her magicLong ashamed of his mediocre abilities Finn Lockwood knows the Confederation accepted him only because of his prominent family Declaring for the Exam instead means a chance to confirm his true worthThrown into the testing with little preparation Rocío and Finn find themselves becoming unlikely allies—and possibly But the Exam holds secrets horrifying than either could have imagined What are the examiners really testing them for? And as the trials become increasingly vicious how much are they willing to sacrifice to win?The first in a new series by USA Today bestselling author Megan Crewe Ruthless Magic combines the magic of Harry Potter with the ferocity of The Hunger Games alongside a poignant romance Fans of Cassandra Clare and Holly Black look no further for your next urban fantasy fix

10 thoughts on “Ruthless Magic

  1. says:

    I'm between 4 and 45 starsIf The Hunger Games hooked up with Lev Grossman's The Magicians the baby might somehow resemble Megan Crewe's newest book Ruthless Magic While the setting isn't uite as dystopian as the former and there isn't the type of uest featured in the latter this book shares elements of both without feeling like a retread of eitherIn a society not too far into the future there are people with magical abilities and there are those without known as Dulls The North American Confederation of Mages oversees the use of magic and each year they decide which 16 year olds will be chosen to become a part of the magic world and which ones will be dampened essentially having their magical powers lessened so that they'll only be able to use one particular skill for professional purposesThe Confederation is particular though—they want to be able to control magic so they only like to choose descendants of magical families rather than let new magic people in or those who came from less exclusive pedigrees Those rejected by the Confederation have one course of appeal—they can stand for the Mages' Exam a mysterious brutal challenge that no one talks about—if they remember it or surviveFinn Lockwood is part of a prominent magical family but his skills have always been lacking much to his chagrin Although it is his legacy to be accepted into the world of magic he wants to be able to use his magic to make a difference; he doesn't want to be saddled with some low level job Declaring he'll stand for the Exam gives him the chance to succeed or fail on his own and he's willing to take the riskRocío Lopez grew up poor the daughter of Dampened parents She's spent all of her free time learning about magic and enhancing her skills and she knows she's talented than most She should be a shoo in for a place in the Confederation but she is rejected because of her background so she has no choice but to stand for the Exam despite the risks that her family is all too sadly familiar withEveryone who believes themselves worthy of a place in the Confederation comes to Rikers Island to stand for the Mage's Exam It will be unlike anything they've ever faced before—a test of will intelligence magical skill and courage and it will show them and the Examiners just how far they're willing to go in order to succeed Although they have different reasons for wanting to succeed Rocío and Finn become allies—and possibly —and vow to protect one another as well as others in their group although when magic is involved whom can you really trust?I found this to be a really engaging creative and uick read Ever since the Harry Potter series I've been completely fascinated by magic and those who have the skills and love the dynamics among fledgling and skilled magicians with different abilities I was really pleased Crewe decided to shift the narration of the book only between Finn and Rocío; I was afraid she'd alternate it among others as well and I thought that might get confusingI've never read anything Crewe has written before but I was really dazzled by her storytelling and her world building even if the world was our own She has created some engaging characters with real emotions and real struggles and even gave us those to root against There's some great action in here some brutal magical challenges and the pace flowed really nicelyObviously when I say the words magic or fantasy there are some who roll their eyes or immediately say This one's not for me You know who you are But if you're looking for something new Ruthless Magic may be an interesting book to try I'll be waiting for the next one in the series Apparently if you join Crewe's website you get a free preuel to the book so that's where I'm heading nextNetGalley and Spells Stars Books provided me an advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review Thanks for making this available See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoriablogspotcom or check out my list of the best books I read in 2017 at

  2. says:

    Ruthless Magic by Megan Crewe is the first full length book in the Conspiracy of Magic young adult urban fantasy series There is a preuel novella that takes place four decades before the beginning of this story but it wouldn’t necessarily need to be read to understand Ruthless MagicThe story alternates between the two main characters Finn Lockwood and Rocío Lopez At sixteen Rocio and Finn are awaiting to hear from the North American Confederation of Mages as to whether they will continue their magical training of go through a dampening of their skills If not chosen the only way left to prove themselves is to declare to join the brutal Mages’ ExamAs Finn gets his letter he finds that he has been accepted to the college but his best friend who is much powerful than his is gets rejected Knowing that he was only chosen because of his family line Finn rejects his appointment and vows to join his friend in the trials Rocio on the other hand is from new magic and is probably the most powerful mage of their generation but is still declined She vows to join the trials and prove herself even after losing her brother to the trials three years beforeRuthless Magic really was a powerful action packed adventure to begin this new series As the book blurb suggests this one really did remind me of a lot of other young adult fantasy reads out there It’s a bit like taking Harry Potter the Hunger Games Divergent and many other’s and coming up with a nice blend The trials seemed like a magical version of being tossed into the Hunger Game arena or the Divergent simulations brutal and filled with fast paced actionThe one thing though that keeps me from passing out all the stars to this story just yet is the fact it did remind me of other stories uite often This is a double edged sword really yes I liked the book but what I hope Megan Crewe does in the future installments is really make this one shine and become a star all on it’s own without hiding in the shadows of all those other books because when reading those I didn’t think of other things but only what was going on Otherwise though a great beginning to the series that has me longing for I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalleyFor review please visit

  3. says:

    I received this eARC from Another World Press on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review This does not affect my opinion of this book in any wayHe just saw how warped and wrong his Confed must be to have brought us here with their ruthless brutal magic#RollCreditsActual rating 35 stars The Writing and Worldbuilding I have to admit I was considering DNFing this to the point where it basically convinced me that I don't actually really like urban fantasy all that much The first 30% was actually uite dreadful with confusing motivations rushed exposition and confusing worldbuilding like how the magic system even worked in the first place but once the Exam really picked up it was smooth sailing from there on out and I was invested and intriguedAlso this is being compared to The Hunger Games but honestly besides that last challenge it was way like Ender's Game or Netflix's 3% in every regardThe actual conspiracy of magic though was a little weird I was pretty confused why the government was even allowing this kind of thing to even happen especially because people knew that underage minors were dying in this magical government sanctioned competition Why hasn't the Confed been sued yet? Some of this was kind of explained in the story but it still kind of took me out of the world and made this whole thing seem really unrealisticThe perspectives were often very confusing because there was little difference in the narrative voices of Finn and Rocío the two POV characters and the book was written in first person I got lost a lot and had to go back and re read just to see who was the perspective character at the moment several timesThe real world insertion with the Twin Towers and the Middle Eastern terrorists kind of pissed me off though it is really way of a pet peeve than a problem with the book I just hate real world insertion in urban fantasy so much you don't even knowAlso why the flip do they worship the Greek gods?? This is never explained it just is and it confused the heck out of me If Crewe had made some connection to the sirens which would have made sense given the magic system being sound based I would have understood to a degree but she didn'tAlso NOPE with that animal cruelty in the beginning part like um who on earth would do that to make a point? A literal crazy person that's who Dude I wouldn't trust her if I were you after witnessing her doing something like that just to make a point and then following it withCould you use that weapon on another living being Finn? Do you really want to become someone who has?Lady you're someone who has The Characters Note My first impression of the introduction of Callum Finn Prisha and Rocío was that the only boys were white and the only girls got all the diversity checkmarks and that pissed me off frankly Later on diversity is introduced and it stopped feeling like Crewe was just writing stereotypes but stillFinn He was honestly pretty funny and his chill demeanor was honestly so great because the kinds of jokes he made are the kinds of jokes I make so I felt we were kindred spirits His motivations for declaring were a little iffy at first and his insta love for Rocío was annoying but I still really liked himRocío I feel like the beginning would have been much powerful if she had been the focus of the first chapter instead of Finn While he really grew on me the wit and charm he exhibited in the rest of the book didn't come across in that first chapter and it was just a load of exposition instead Rocío though was very intriguing from the get go I loved her courage and her resolve as well as her selflessness to the point of self deprecation sometimes despite her extreme level of powerPrisha She was the gay rep in the book and that was brought up like twice but honestly I appreciated that It had nothing to do with the story and someone's sexuality doesn't define their entire character so it was a breath of fresh air that she was just a normal person that so happened to also be gay I was really worried when she was introduced that she would just end up being the literal gay best friend but my fears were thankfully unfoundedDesmond I really liked Desmond He was great and funny with that knack for uoting his favorite media which I do literally all the time because I'm a walking meme so that was really appreciated view spoilerI was confused as heck though about his eye sight issues Dude just get glasses it isn't a big deal I have glasses and without them I'd probably be blinder than you Glasses aren't that big of a deal and if you don't want people to know contacts work too and they even make some that you can sleep in and wear for several days at a time as long as you aren't allergic to the material or have other eye issues which would have been ideal for the Exam hide spoiler

  4. says:

    Finn and Rocio come from different worlds One has money status and blue blood family connections that guarantee a place in society but limited magical talent The other is everything in reverse a fiery power that can paint dragons in the sky for fun but has had a life filled with pain and struggle including losing an older brother to the deadly Mages' Exam they both now face It's a survival of the fittest Hunger Games style free for all and it turns out that the prize of becoming one of the North American Confederation of Mages's Chosen might not be all it's cracked up to be But since failure means having their magic dulled or worse death it's not an option The only way out is through but each person must chose how far they'll go to win Both characters are pretty likeable and despite the instalove thing they make an interesting pair Neither are the typical frontrunners they're vulnerable with genuinely framed insecurities and backstories that explain their character and actions throughout That said neither they nor the plot offer anything particularly new or overwhelmingly engaging Dystopian YA is a crowded market and this doesn't add much to it The voices aren't distinctive enough and while there are some good ideasmoments threaded through the book the overarching feeling is that it's been done before So now on to my major issue with the book the weirdly inappropriate choices made for effect rather than reason Primarily this is revealed in an early scene when to show Finn how dangerous a magical item was his sister murdered her own pet with it Melted her own pet in fact Seriously Could she not have I don't know used her WORDS?? If I warn someone about the deadly nature of a gun I don't need to shoot someone in the head with it right in front of them Look seehow could you ever have known how dangerous this was unless you were covered in blood and brain matter?? It was just an excuse to describe mutilating an animal and I really can't abide that kind of thing There was no point to it whatsoever None Violence for shock value and sick thrills is a big nope from me and I'm not going to lie it put me in annoyed frame of mind that affected the rest of my reading It's not the only scene in which the desire to show brutality outweighed plot or necessity including a rather offhand reveal about part of the test that showed a careless disregard for human life to go alongside the animal This shorthand for edginess is tired and I'm not a fan Hopefully the next in the series will address some of these issues There's certainly enough going on in the background to allow for growth and the ending is indicative of the revolution that's got to come Overall an easy read and worth a go if you like high action YA with some memorable magicRead for SPFBO 201819

  5. says:

    A group of sixteen year old novice mages will be thrown “to the lions” in a brutal exam to test their worthiness to keep their powers Rocio is a very talented mage but she comes from the wrong side of the tracks and has been rejected by the elitist Confederation of Mages The exam will be her one chance to prove her worth to stand among them Finn has the right family ties the impressive pedigree but his talents are fair at best He now must prove his own worthiness and actually earn his place in the ConfederationNeither Rocio nor Finn were prepared to fight for their very lives as the exams begin and the vile “tests” prove deadly Mage will stand against mage deceit and trickery will abound as these teens form an unlikely alliance in order to stay alive and keep their magic Their biggest test will be the test of their humanity and heart compassion and sense of moral values as they very souls are challenged Is this what they really want after all? Where is the good they thought they could do for the world? What does the Confederation really stand for?With a perfectly apt title RUTHLESS MAGIC by Megan Crewe is a jagged tale filled with danger action and the determination of teens to win at all costs It is graphically violent often heartless and one never knows what to expect next A little confusing at first until the exams begin as multiple POVs told through the innocence of youth will keep readers on the edge of their seats wondering how these children can endure and why would anyone put them through such derisive “tests”Hard hitting action disturbing scenes and some truly heroic characters make this a fascinating tale and a strong foundation for an edgy young adult seriesI received a complimentary ARC edition from Another World PressPublisher Another World Press May 30 2018Publication Date May 30 2018Genre YA Violent FantasyPage Count 352Available from | Barnes NobleFor Reviews Giveaways Fabulous Book News follow

  6. says:

    This one reminded me of The Hunger Games only with MagicBasically in Ruthless Magic's Dystopian world Mages are in the open They are known since the so called Unveiling And since then The North American Confederation of Mages have been recruiting every 16 year old Novices across the country to be assessed Some are Chosen and can join the Academy with no problems but most aren't and they can choose to take a certain exam that's said to be brutal and fatal but once they became a Champion you can enter the Academy with the chosen Or they can just accept their fate and be Dampened Magic is lessened into one note instead of taking the exam and take the risk of being BurnOut No Magic at allApparently the Confederation is the one behind all these which at first I thought is the government but they're not though they are supported by the government The Confederation is governed by Ten Members of the Inner Circle I really like the whole concept of this book something like Defy the Odds Defend Your Magic because that's what this book really is at least in this first instalment The MC's trying to defend their magic so they're not to be Dampened Rocio Lopez wasn't chosen thanks to her family background so she declared to take the exam On the other hand Finn Lockwood thanks to his family's connections he was chosen but he knew his abilities are mediocre and so he declared for the exam too just so he can prove himself But then the exam was truly dangerous and deadly that the MCs found themselves not only fighting to keep their magic but for so much and they didn't like it The exams sound very intriguing and it caught my interesting upon reading the description And I must say somehow it delivered I really liked it BUT there are just so many other aspects in the book I found lackingThe entire world is confusing Like okay there's the Confed who's clearly doing something wrong but since supported by the Government they get away with it But still we're talking about 16 year olds here that's being put to danger I think no matter what their goal is the Confed should be sued or something I mean they're not really the Government unlike in The Hunger Games And why can't the entire Magical population just do something about it? Because 16 year olds die in that exam and they're juts letting their children take that But of course there will be a rebellion maybe in book 2 But why only now? Well maybe it will all be clearedexplained why in Book 2 I don't get the whole concept of the magic as well The only thing I know is that it's based on Sound and that vibration and rythm are big factors that humming can produce magic And that words as in chants just help the mage to focus But I didn't get where they came from and the things they can do just felt random Like Rocio can produce  a gleaming dragon not a real one but it can hurt if she wants too Something like that They're too random I don't see what's their connection with sound So obviously I'm not a fan of the magic in this fantasy world though it IS UniueThe Characters They're okay No one's really memorable but they all did OK Rocio and Finn are promising characters and I  wouldn't mind seeing them again Although I was a bit put off by Finn's almost insta love to Rocio to the point that Rocio's approval became one of his main goals in the exam Not literally but hinted it So yeah I'm not a fan of the Romance too WARNING There's a scene in the first uarter of the book that involves brutal animal cruelty It's with a rat and personally I didn't like it because I'm planning on getting hamsters as pets so OMGDo I recommend this? Maybe I'll read book 2 if there's no death of a rat or anyone from the rodents family because by that time I already have hamsters and they'll be like my babiesHope you guys read this than I did

  7. says:

    I'm definitely the odd one out here so you should probably just ignore this review That said I probably should've liked RUTHLESS MAGIC I just didn't I'd also like to preface this by saying I reuested this title by this author because when I saw her name I mistook her for someone else So that's pretty much my bad Whoops? However the plot did sound intriguing anywayIf you like THE HUNGER GAMES and magic you'll probably like this Because it's basically a magical version of said book Go figure It even comes complete with a very iconic homage to a scene from the second installment As far as this series goes though I made the effort to read the freebie preuel novella that's available through Crewe's newsletter but I can honestly say you don't really need it a I wasn't entertained by it and it actually took me longer to get through the novella than this full length and b it doesn't offer up enough additional information to warrant the investment We learn basically everything in this first installment and as it's set forty years prior the characters are only anecdotally relevant Perhaps it'd be interesting in hindsight? I can't speak to that because obvsAs for the characters I mean they are okay? No one really stands out The romance feels heightened in that 'this happened fast because of danger and proximity' way but almost dialed up to eleven far beyond what it should and while there is diversity in one of our leads and in the variety of diversity offered unfortunately the lot of them still end up feeling a little generic While Crewe does subvert some tropes within her magical uest y 'overthrow the evil government' fantasy novel and there's an interesting element to her magic system overall this didn't feel all that original see aforementioned comparison in previous paragraph but the strength of the story might be in where it goes next When it branches off from the familiar and goes possibly into original directions I don't know I have a vague sense of curiosity about it especially considering how things ended for one character in particular but depending on the length of this series it might be one I continue only after completion Again feel free to ignore this review I'm definitely not trending where everyone else is And in theory there is a lot to love in this world I'm just not feeling it yet? I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher thank you in exchange for an honest review

  8. says:

    This book is one of the #SPFBO finalists for 2018 and I'm a judge for the competitionI picked this one up at the right time for me I think as it's a bloody and brutal one but it reads a lot like a YA and it's easy to get into I think the reading mood that I was in suited the book and I found myself enjoying it and thinking it comparable to huger games or battle royale This story follows Finn and Rocío who are virtually strangers when the book begins They have each grown up with magic but they have learned very differently Finn is from a good family and when to the Academy to learn but he's one of the worst in his class Rocío is easily one of the best in her class but she's from a new magic family so she is not granted a place to keep studying They both get a letter one saying Finn is in even though he knows he doesn't deserve to be over some of the others and one saying Rocío is out They then both declare to take the exam which no one really knows much about for the chance to come out the other side with their magic in tact or to be burned out if they fail From this point onwards we follow them with alternating viewpoints and we get to see their adventures against the examiners and one anotherOverall I think the pacing and storytelling here was fun but I found it was often hard to distinguish Finn and Rocío from one another if you weren't on the chapter opening page because they didn't feel distinct enough to me It was a fun if bloody read and one which I enjoyed but I'm not sure it's anything wholly original or something that will stay with me for too long 6510 from me 325s for #SPFBO

  9. says:

    Thank you Netgalley for providing me with an arc of Ruthless Magic in exchange for an honest reviewOverall I really enjoyed the book I loved the magical Hunger Games ish plot Rocio is a strong MC and I really felt like I could relate with her The relationship between her and Finn could have used a little building but overall I totally ship it This story was full of twists turns and unexpected surprises and kept me on my toes the whole time I liked the representation of lgbt and poc in this book as well I can’t wait for the next one to come out

  10. says:

    You can also find my review here received a copy to review from Netgalley and Spells and Stars books I read the preuel before picking this up and it did add a little history to the background of the world that this book takes place in Ruthless Magic occurs years after magic has been unveiled to the magic less society where in Magic Unleashed those without magic don't know about its existence The main character in the preuel is not one of the main characters in this novel but Jonathan is Finn's father Both novels can be read as standalones but they both occur in the same world if you want of Megan Crewe's writingRuthless Magic was in an interesting urban fantasy novel It is written in first person and the viewpoint switches between Finn and Rocio The prejudices that mages face from the non magical people and even from one another based on skin color or if they're new or old magic feel realistic In society people judge each other and sometimes this aspect isn't shown in novels with magic If magic was unveiled to exist I doubt everyone would accept it and this novel captures that sentiment well The contrasting views from the two characters one of which was considered old magicand the other was considered new magic help show the prejudices and the different viewpoints within the magical society The plot and pacing were both really good The story kept moving at a steady pace and the plot kept me interested The magic enchantments were so creative and cool The different ways the mages hearkened magic were so neat It took a little bit for this book to get really exciting but once it did it was really cool I did get confused with who was who because of the point of view alternates but both characters are written in first person Neither character's view has overwhelming personality and that makes first person necessary I think it would've been less confusing and the same story could've been told if it was written in third person instead Typically a first person doesn't bother me and I rarely confuse viewpoints but in this book there were several times that I did