- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers (October 30, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0451478444
- ISBN-13: 978-0451478443
- Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 43 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #88,330 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Brilliant Death Hardcover – October 30, 2018
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Raves for The Brilliant Death:
“Mario Puzo meets Ursula Le Guin in a gender and genre bending tale as lush as it is vivid, and as daring as it is dangerous. The hype is deserved and the magic is real."--Alex London, bestselling author of Proxy and Black Wings Beating
"The Brilliant Death is a mesmerizingly written tale of identity, courage and family, wrapped up in magic that feels both folktale-familiar and enthrallingly innovative."--Alwyn Hamilton, New York Times bestselling author of Rebel of the Sands
"Writing so good it will give you goosebumps, and a story that will sweep you into a wild adventure full of old magic, new love, and dark delight."--Alison Goodman, New York Times bestselling author of Eon and Eona
★ "A delicious and magical intrigue too tempting not to devour." --Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“This first in a duology is a luminously imagined, Italian-inspired fantasy that thoughtfully speaks to ideas of gender perception and identity. A rich world, with much left to be explored in the next volume.” – Booklist
“One of the most artful, gorgeous, romantic books in the LGBTQIAP YA canon.” – B&N Teen Blog
“A unique mashup of fantasy, historical fiction, and queer romance… the kind of book you won't be able to stop talking about.” – Bustle
About the Author
Amy Rose Capetta has written several novels for young adults and holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from VCFA. She first dreamed of writing about Vinalia when she was younger than Teo. Once upon a time her father’s family lived in Italy, in a small town in the mountainside. Now Amy Rose lives in her very own mountains in Vermont, with her partner and their young son. To learn more, visit amyrosecapetta.com.
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Unfortunately, the book was a bit of a let down. I think some readers with identify with Teodora, who learns to change her form, i.e. gender bend, and I appreciated that aspect of it. Capetta wasn't preachy on the subject, didn't get on a soapbox. But the execution of the idea was not well done. The principles of magic were almost nonexistent, although I did think her ability to turn enemies into inanimate objects was pretty funny. Not super serious, which seems like that was what the author was going for. Although, I'm not sure what Capetta was going for in most scenes, as I kept skimming pages. I couldn't seem to focus on just one part. The magic which began as silly, and turned into gender bending seemed to change simply to further the plot, not because it felt natural. In fact, most of the plot was convenient, with things happening randomly, which was actually pretty confusing at times. And other times where things didn't happen, which could have, such as, gee, I need a knife. Somehow I have conveniently forgotten that my magic turns things into things. Guess we'll struggle for the sake of the plot.
It was awkward.
The world building wasn't very well done either, which was a serious disappointment because it could have been awesome. Most of it was unexplored, and lacked rules, just like the magic. Things were barely explained, I suppose to further the action. So really, it just made everything harder to follow, and caused me to continue to be uninterested in the story.
It’s likely clear from my star rating that I didn’t like it very much. I won’t give it one star because there was something I appreciated about it.
I like the fact that this is a diverse author who gives us a main character who is also diverse. I looked at the author’s website out of curiosity and she self identifies as bi, demi-girl, and queer. And this seems to be who her main character is, which is awesome. I think there will be readers who identify with Teo.
*But* - I think there are better examples of gender fluid characters in fiction out there. Pick up Ursula K. Le Guin, China Mieville, Octavia Butler, and so many others
In this one, the gender issues were clunky. And her final decision when it came to gender? Disappointing.
But I didn’t pick up the book for the diverse main character. I picked it up because it promised fantasy mixed with mafia – and it failed.
The fantasy aspect is hard to wrap your head around. Teo’s magic is silly rather than awe inspiring. And some of it doesn’t make sense. Later in the book, when Teo’s power, um…alters(?) since I’m trying not to spoil things, the author seems to forget a huge aspect of these powers. Completely and utterly forgets it.
And as for the mafia aspect? It was a let down. Rather than bring in any of the cultural and historical mafia roots, we just get the word Capo a lot. And honestly, the Capo should have been been the Capo dei Capi. But nope. We get a few Italian phrases and a few references to ‘the five families’ and that’s it.
All in all, the book was, unfortunately, a disappointment.
It’s not enough to give us diverse characters. Readers deserve rich plots, solid world building, and attention to detail.
Words, despite my predilection for them, are wholly inadequate in praising this novel; imagine emoticons/emojis, glyphs and paintings dripping with poignant, painful beauty and even then, I feel a distinct lack-of-adequacy when trying to praise this work enough.
Simply put - BUY IT!