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  • Writer's pictureCheyanne Lepka

City of Broken Magic by Mirah Bolender

Updated: Mar 21, 2019

Rating: 2.5/5 stars

Pages: 400

Genre: fantasy

Publisher: Macmillan-Tor/Forge

Pub. Date: November 20, 2018

For hundreds of years, Amicae and the surrounding lands have been plagued by infestations - the result of a weapon gone terribly wrong - which consume magic and everything else in its path. Built right into the city of Amicae, are defenses to hamstring the infestations, as well as an elite force known as sweepers are employed to defuse and dispose of the infestations.

It’s a job that’s not for the faint of heart, but it’s the job that Laura wants more than anything. But the sweepers are dwindling in Amicae, where citizens have become complacent and the government works to cover up infestations. After she convinces Clae Sinclair, the head sweeper, to take her on as apprentice, she’s faced with the toughest job she’s ever had.

And just when things seem to be going well, a wealthy business man sets his sights on changing the infrastructure of the city - endangering everyone inside. Laura must use all her courage and cunning to combat a massive infestation that threatens to engulf the entire city.

*** Thank you to NetGalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge for providing me with a free eARC of this book ***


I loved the idea of this book. It sounded different and interesting, but was sadly disappointing for me. I’m still in love with the ideas of sweepers and magic going wrong, and having to clean it up. I even loved Clae as a character.

But unfortunately the presentation just didn’t quite cut it for me. Just when I would start getting into the story, and really want to know what was happening, I would be ambushed with a massive info-dump, usually in forced dialogue. The worst part is that I’m still a little confused about some of the world-building. Perhaps it was because I tend to skim info-dumps, but mostly I couldn’t seem to get grounded in the world. It was like I was groping for a time-period or something familiar to grab onto and would only get glimpses of things. Which I’m fine with, but I then need to be supplied with the necessary information to figure it out (which for me, is quite little information usually). I guess it just didn’t feel like the world-building was coherent at all, like it was a list of facts the author created, but didn’t weave into the world.

The other thing that was a huge issue for me was the pacing - it was described as fast-paced and it’s not. Rather it’s somewhat episodic with big breaks to explore world-building and lore among various other things. Which is fine, but not what I was expecting and I definitely found myself getting frustrated with it. And I feel obligated to mention that the blurb that was attached to the book didn’t represent it well, and actually contained a spoiler, which minorly ruined the book for me.

Anyway, moving onto things I enjoyed. First off, I loved Clae. Great character with an interesting back story. Couldn’t help but adore him. Probably cause I’m also a surly, salt-factory of a person. And second, I thought the fight scenes were bang-on. The use of technology and the creative way that they work things at the climax (I won’t say more cause spoilers), loved it all, and the action definitely reads excellently.

Anyway, this book really wasn’t for me. But I would suggest giving it a try if you’re okay with info-dumps (I know some people like them!), are generally a fan of urban fantasy/steampunk, and don’t mind a bit of a slow-build.

To find out more about the author and buy the book (it’s out now!) check out this link:

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