She’s an assassin with a gift her parents died for. He’s a reluctant prince content to drink himself into oblivion. And hiding in plain sight amongst them both, a monster is searching for redemption.
Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.
An Unholy Magick
Series: The Vile Sacraments #1
Author: Kali Rose Schmidt
Publication Date: October 22, 2019
Publisher: The Parliament House
Genre: Dark Fantasy, New Adult, Romance
Cover Artist: Shayne Leighton
My Rating: ★★★1/2
I received a copy of this book via the publisher, The Parliament House, in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! In no way does this affect my rating or review.
All included quotes have been taken from an ARC and may not match the finished publication.
Content Warning: Death, Injury, Murder, Gore
Loyalty doesn’t lie within a boarder.
When I read that a book is a “dark fantasy”, I typically take it with a grain of salt. Most fantasies are dark, in a way, or have an element that make them seem dark at times. An Unholy Magick definitely fits into this genre well. I say this because, while reading, I couldn’t help but wonder: where are the good guys? Elena Salas is the main character, and doesn’t function like most protagonists. She has a complicated past, which in turn, has influenced her enough to become an assassin-for-hire. While she isn’t unlikeable, she isn’t someone I’d choose to look up to, either.
The plot quickly divulges that Elena’s mother was a Magick–a person who had the ability to wield and use magick in different respects. Not long ago, Magicks were outlawed in Anglar. Hunted down by the king’s men, Elena’s parents were murdered, and she was left an orphan. Having to be able to provide for herself, Elena was trained in the art of murder, and has become a successful–and wanted–murderer-for-hire. Ratted out by her previous lover and employer, Elena is taken by the king’s men and son, Prince Zoran, to be punished for her crimes. In her captivity, Elena discovers that she too, has powers, and her life drastically changes. When the king becomes aware of Elena’s powers, he forces her into becoming his personal assassin to usher in his own political gain. Elena is then trained in how to use her powers by the only person allowed in Anglar that can use Magick.
Being an experienced assassin, paired with her new abilities, Elena is tasked with the job of killing the queen of Garcari. It is a land beyond a dreaded woods full of feared creatures that allows and openly welcomes Magicks. While Elena doesn’t understand the extent of the king’s motivations, she learns that a sinister plot is thickening at each turn. The ruin of a city, an evil ruler, and a movement to begin a new war emphasizes how the powers at work become even darker.
A common theme shared among the four most-prominent characters, Elena, Prince Zoran, Matvey, and Jamie is a mutual pain. Elena’s, as discussed before, is due to her parent’s murders and her line of work. Similarly, Jamie too, was orphaned, and had to take on responsibility for himself at a young age. Prince Zoran is in the middle of a battle between his mother and father, and drowns his sorrows by drinking instead of confronting them directly. When Matvey’s past is finally discovered, the revelation of his story explains a lot about who he is at the present. Through their experiences, I think it makes each of these characters relatable and realistic within the fantastical story that they are placed.
I thought that An Unholy Magick was an imaginative read. The world and the way it is constructed is unique, along with the magick system. I wish there would have been more description of the world itself to help set the stage for the sequel. I also want to see more about each character individually, but look for those details in the book(s) to come. If you are looking for a dark fantasy that features unique magick systems, a love-triangle, and a complex plot, be sure to check this read out!
Even magick cannot touch death.