I managed to trade for an ARC of Beyond the Ruby Veil by Mara Fitzgerald a couple of months ago. I had heard great things about this book, so I wanted to read it for myself, and it was so good!
Synopsis from Goodreads:
A dark, queer YA fantasy that’s perfect for fans of the Three Dark Crowns series and Wicked Saints. After Emanuela Ragno kills the one person in Occhia who can create water, she must find a way to save her city from dying of thirst.
Emanuela Ragno always gets what she wants. With her daring mind and socialite schemes, she refuses to be the demure young lady everyone wants her to be. In her most ambitious move yet, she’s about to marry Alessandro Morandi, her childhood best friend and the heir to the wealthiest house in Occhia. Emanuela doesn’t care that she and her groom are both gay, because she doesn’t want a love match. She wants power, and through Ale, she’ll have it all.
But Emanuela has a secret that could shatter her plans. In the city of Occhia, the only source of water is the watercrea, a mysterious being who uses magic to make water from blood. When their first bruise-like omen appears on their skin, all Occhians must surrender themselves to the watercrea to be drained of life. Everyone throughout history has given themselves up for the greater good. Everyone except Emanuela. She’s kept the tiny omen on her hip out of sight for years.
When the watercrea exposes Emanuela during her wedding ceremony and takes her to be sacrificed, Emanuela fights back…and kills her. Now Occhia has no one to make their water and no idea how to get more. In a race against time, Emanuela and Ale must travel through the mysterious, blood-red veil that surrounds their city to uncover the secrets of the watercrea’s magic and find a way to save their people-no matter what it takes.
This book is a classic anti-hero story about Emanuela who’s ultimate goal is to be remembered and revered. After being taken away to die, she manages to escape and kill the watercrea – the magic woman who can turn blood into water. With the well dry, and the townspeople furious with Emanuela, she flees with Ale, her betrothed and best friend.
The magic in this book is so interesting, everything we learn about it made me want to dive in deeper and learn more. Especially when we are thrusted into the catacombs and find ourselves in a totally new world. I was immersed in the world as I tried to piece together how this magic works. And, was also very disgusted with what was happening. If you have a weak stomach, there are some scenes in here that are disturbing and intense, so beware!
For the characters, I had a love/hate relationship with Emanuela. She’s an asshole. Plain and simple. Her search for notoriety and power means that she does anything for the spotlight, including put down her only friend, Ale, so she can rise up. Poor Ale is such a sweet guy and is very smart, but Emanuela only things about herself, and leaves him in the dust.
The bullying Emanuela puts Ale through is really sad. She is not a nice person and she will never be a nice person. But I think that’s what I love about her character. She is unapologetically Emanuela – she doesn’t hide herself or try to change to fit into a role or a narrative. With her, you get what you get, and if you don’t like it, that’s okay. She probably doesn’t like you either.
The plot of this book was so different and weird, that I loved it. There were so many twists and turns that this book blindsided me with, it’s impressive. And by the end, I was excited to read more. I hope I can read more!
If you’re looking for a dark, horrifically good book for your October reads, look no further! This was a // 5 stars for me!
Beyond the Ruby Veil is now available, so I have linked my local indie book store if you’re interested in ordering a copy!
If this book sounds interesting, check out Wicked Fox by Kat Cho or A Wicked Magic by Sasha Laurens.
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