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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

REVIEW: The Grimoire of Grave Fates, edited by Margaret Owen and Hanna Alkaf

Professor of Magical History Septimius Dropwort has just been murdered, and now everyone at the Galileo Academy for the Extraordinary is a suspect.

A prestigious school for young magicians, the Galileo Academy has recently undergone a comprehensive overhaul, reinventing itself as a roaming academy in which students of all cultures and identities are celebrated. In this new Galileo, every pupil is welcome—but there are some who aren't so happy with the recent changes. That includes everyone's least favorite professor, Septimius Dropwort, a stodgy old man known for his harsh rules and harsher punishments. But when the professor's body is discovered on school grounds with a mysterious note clenched in his lifeless hand, the Academy's students must solve the murder themselves, because everyone's a suspect. 

Told from more than a dozen alternating and diverse perspectives, The Grimoire of Grave Fates follows Galileo's best and brightest young magicians as they race to discover the truth behind Dropwort's mysterious death. Each one of them is confident that only they have the skills needed to unravel the web of secrets hidden within Galileo's halls. But they're about to discover that even for straight-A students, magic doesn't always play by the rules. . . .

18 authors, 18 students. One murder. Mass confusion for this reader.

The good: 

Each of the 18 authors did a great job with their part of the story. I'm not sure if it's good or bad that there wasn't any abruptly different, tell-tale difference in the writing styles. Each chapter flowed with the next as far as the "voice" of the storyteller.

The setting was really interesting. I'd like to read more stories set in this school

The characters were diverse--backgrounds and magic.

The overarcing story line carried through each part. No author contradicted something that had already been established by a previous one.

The not so good: 

I didn't feel like any one character was particularly well-developed. DIverse, yes, but they didn't have a lot of individual depth. Occasionally, some detail would emerge that made me think "so what?" because it didn't further the story at all, to me. 

18 unique points of view was too much. And they marginally overlapped, if they did at all.

The plot wasn't smooth. Some of the POVs seemed to retell what another had already told us about. There were individual climaxes for each, making it hard to figure out where in the arc there was really a climax.


I can appreciate there was A LOT put into creating this single story arc anthology. It's an interesting treatment, I just think the slate of authors and stories within the story was too large.

Contributors include: Cam Montgomery, Darcie Little Badger, Hafsah Faizal, Jessica Lewis, Julian Winters, Karuna Riazi, Kat Cho, Kayla Whaley, Kwame Mbalia, L. L. McKinney, Marieke Nijkamp, Mason Deaver, Natasha Díaz, Preeti Chhibber, Randy Ribay, Tehlor Kay Mejia, Victoria Lee, and Yamile Saied Méndez

What do you think??

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this ebook galley from Random House Children's/Delacorte Press through the netGalley publisher/reader connection program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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