The Obsidian Tower
The Obsidian Tower by Melissa Caruso.
I first want to thank Angela and Orbit books for sending me these copies in exchange for an honest review. Truth be told the synopsis didn't really hook my interest when I read it, but given what I've seen and heard about this book decided to start it up. First impressions for this book are great. I immediately got engulfed in this world and took an interest in "Ryx". Many times when you pick up a new book it takes awhile to get going and spark that interest, this wasn't the case here.
Here's the synopsis for The Obsidian Tower by Melissa Caruso, taken from Goodreads
The mage-marked granddaughter of a ruler of Vaskandar, Ryx was destined for power and prestige at the top of Vaskandran society. But her magic is broken; all she can do is uncontrollably drain the life from everything she touches, and Vaskandar has no place for a mage with unusable powers.Then, one night, two terrible accidents befall her: Ryx accidentally kills a visiting dignitary in self-defense, activating a mysterious magical artifact sealed in an ancient tower in the heart of her family’s castle. Ryx flees, seeking a solution to her deadly magic. She falls in with a group of unlikely magical experts investigating the disturbance in Vaskandar—and Ryx realizes that her family is in danger and her domain is at stake. She and her new colleagues must return to the family stronghold to take control of the artifact that everyone wants to claim—before it destroys the world.
The characterization is seamless in that it doesn't feel like it's trying to make you like the Main character, you just do. I am a plot based reader generally so I would say that it helps that there is an overarching plot or turn of events that are going to happen that is keeping me reading, but I was fortunate enough to pick up this book which has that plot driven story as well as great characterization. While I'm talking about characterization there are a few other characters who I was interested in reading from their POV and seeing how they develop, even if a few are in a clash with out main POV Ryx. Of note there is what I believe a Non-binary character who is referenced with they/them pronouns. Now this doesn't detract from the story at all, but this character appears to not have been fleshed out real well so the different pronouns feel like it was put in here to make a point. Now that is just an assumption, but I had a hard time getting to that characters pov or personality due to this. It almost felt forced. But this is more a nitpick. It's nice to see more representation but it felt like it was just thrown in for effect.
I really like Melissa Carusos prose and found it very easy to get sucked into the story. This doesn't happen with most books I read and it was a pleasant surprise.
Spoilers possible ahead.
I found the end as good as expected. I know Ryx wouldn't have been axed but I did enjoy how it left it open for the next books in the series. Luckily I also received The Quicksilver Court from Orbit so will be starting that when my CR is a little less then where it currently sits, at 19 CR books. Yes...I know.
All in all, I think the characterization was great and I could feel sympathy for more than a few characters. There was an overarching plot even if sometimes it felt like it was floundering a little bit. I generally don't finish books as fast as I did this one, so it's a testament to the author. I am anxious to see where Ryx and the gate to the hells leads us in Book 2.
I generally grade on a more realistic scale than many book reviewers but I would give this a solid 4/5. There really aren't many adult themes, and this is Not Grimdark, but it still didn't feel YA which was good. I will definitely be watching this author and am anxious to start Book 2.