Under attack from an invading force bent on genocide, the native people of the Orien archipelago created a magical weapon to protect themselves. They produced monsters that would infest magical artefacts but lost control of them. When the monsters killed everyone in their path, the invading kingdom of Zyra feared that the monsters would spread to the rest of the world, so they declared the islands quarantined from the mainland, with no ships going in or out. Five hundred years later, the people of Amicae, the friendly city, have lived so long in relative peace that they have forgotten how dangerous the monsters can be. The government tells the people they are a thing of the past, and the Sweepers, an elite team of humans who are the only people able to combat infestations, go unappreciated and underfunded.
Laura dreams of a different life from what her aunt wants for her (that of a wife and mother). Lured by the promise of adventure, she joins the Sweepers as an apprentice just in time to find herself caught up in the biggest infestation the city has ever seen.
City of Broken Magic is an urban fantasy novel, with a bit of steampunk mixed in, written by American author Mirah Bolender. It's the first book in what will be a series called the Chronicles of Amicae. It's a coming of age story which touches on themes of feminism and racism. It's also full of plenty of action, complete with freaky tentacled beasties and explosions.
As the first in a series, the book spends a fair bit of time on world building and laying the groundwork for later books, but none of it feels out of place or heavy-handed. Amicae has an intriguing history, full of magic, politics, and gang-related crime.
I liked the characters, including the irascible, determined Clae with his advice to "be a pain" so that people remember you, Laura, with her drive to be worthy, and the poor, abused Okane, Clae's other apprentice. I also liked the way the magic works, and the fact that the plot revolves around the destructive combination of magic and everyday human stupidity and stubbornness.
City of Broken Magic is an innovative urban fantasy novel and a promising start to a new series. Published: November 20, 2018
Disclaimer: I was given a complimentary E-Galley of this book by MacMillan-Tor/Forge, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.