Hi everyone! Today I’m bringing you yet another ARC review, this time for The Obsidian Tower which was kindly provided to me by the publisher! All opinions here are my own.
The Obsidian Tower
by Melissa Caruso
Series: Rooks and Ruin #1
Release date: June 4th 2020
Genre: Adult, Fantasy, LGBT
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.
This was the first book of Melissa Caruso’s that I’e read, although I do have another of her books (The Tethered Mage) on my shelves that I just haven’t gotten around to yet. After reading this book, The Tethered Mage has definitely moved up on my TBR! Also, looking at other reviews I think that both series happen in the same world, but I didn’t feel like I was missing pieces of the world building by reading this book first.
I absolutely loved all the politics and backstabbing that happens in this book! There was so much betrayal that happened, but at the same time some really great friendships. Having a main character who has magic so deadly that she can’t physically get close to anyone or she will kill them added a really interesting twist to all of the relationships she was building. At times I found myself getting kind of annoyed with her for being pretty naive when it came to any potential love interests, but then I reminded myself that she doesn’t really have experience with anything like that before. That said, I do think there is a lot of potential with her and the love interest at the end of the book (I don’t want to give anything away because at one point she’s attracted to three different people).
I loved how unique each of these characters ended up being. You really got a sense of their personalities, especially the Rookery. I’m very excited to see how their relationships with each other develops and what we learn about them in the next book because I’m sure they’re hiding more secrets than we know. There is also a lot of LGBT+ rep in this book, with a bisexual main character, a non-binary side character, and lesbian side characters!
Ryx (the main character) and her family have protected the black tower and whatever is in it for centuries but no one knows that is actually in the tower…..until it’s accidentally opened at the beginning of the book. From then on things just kept getting worse for Ryx and her friends, to the point where I just kept saying to myself there’s no possible way it can get any worse! Which of course, it did get worse. Much worse. There was so much tension and everything was very fast paced and intriguing!
I also really enjoyed the world and the magic system, especially the idea of immortal witch lords who rule different areas of Vaskandar. The one thing though that I was very confused about is at one point a character mentions that their father (a witch lord) was murdered by his son who wanted the throne. If they’re immortal, how was one killed? I’m hoping that will be something that comes into play in the next books and wasn’t just something that was overlooked. I’m also really curious about how Ryx’s magic will develop because there is clearly something else happening with her powers that I think will come into play in the next book, and I have some theories about it.
I really liked how this book dealt with the consequences of things like opening a door that’s supposed to stay closed, or locking away your power and pitting it in the hands of a rival nation. That was really refreshing from just dealing with the lead up to keep things from happening, we instead got to see how the characters all worked to fix it and deal with the problems.
So overall this was incredibly enjoyable and i’m excited for book two, as well as Caruso’s other series which I’m going to bump up my TBR to get to it sooner rather than later!