February 4, 2022

BLOG TOUR: The Magi Menagerie (The Magi Menagerie #1) by Kale Lawrence

The Magi Menagerie
Kale Lawrence
(The Magi Menagerie, #1)
Publication date: September 7th 2021
Genres: Fantasy, Historical, New Adult, Young Adult

Some stars aren’t meant to be followed.

For seventeen years, Ezra Newport and his parents were habitual immigrants, traveling from their Ottoman Empire home across 20th century Europe. As the Newports migrate to Belfast, Ireland, Ezra wants nothing more to settle into a consistent life and lay the foundation of his architectural dreams. But after a strange, mechanical bounty hunter murders his mother and prompts the disappearance of his father, Ezra discovers that his parents had actually been on the run. Now, their enemies are targeting him, and they won’t stop until he is dead.

In a moment of desperation, Ezra’s fate collides with the Third Order of the Magi, a secret society dedicated to using their supernatural powers to protect their communities. With increasing violence around the world, the Magi are fairly certain they know who’s behind the attacks on Ezra and his family since the same group could also be threatening their own existence.

Both Ezra and the Magi’s survival hinges on knowledge only Ezra’s father has and the key to saving them could be buried within history itself. In a race across continents and time, both Ezra and the Magi must secure an ancient Babylonian artifact before hell is unleashed on the world. And, against all odds, Ezra must decide where his allegiances truly lie, despite what is written in the stars.

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REVIEW of The Magi Menagerie (The Magi Menagerie #1) by Kale Lawrence
Rating: 4 Stars
Release Date: September 7, 2021
Format: eARC (From Author and Xpresso Book Tours)
Publisher: EnchantFire Books

This was a hard review for me to write. Not because I didn’t enjoy it (I loved it - happily gave it a 4-star rating), but because I really didn’t know how to comment on different points of the book without either a) rehashing the blurb or b) risking spoilers. As such, I’m switching to a bullet point format for this review instead of the long paragraphs I usually write to minimize the risk of sounding repetitive or sharing secrets before you can even read the book. 


WHAT I LOVED

  • The cover! It immediately attracted me to the book, and I think it really captures the vibe of the story well. If covers are your thing, take from that what you will. 

  • The genre-blending. I’m a die-hard fantasy reader, but I don’t usually read as many books with a historical fiction flair so I was very excited for something that allowed me to branch out more than I usually do

  • The tropes - one of the biggest tropes in this book is “secret society”. It was so interesting and intriguing to learn about the Order of Babylon and the Magi. This is one of my favorite parts of the book, and I don’t want to risk spoiling it, so you’ll have to read the book to learn more about this aspect. 

  • The worldbuilding - from the actual physical setting to the tone and the themes, it was immersive and descriptive. I appreciate when an author makes it easy for me to imagine myself as part of the story, and envision the picture they are painting with their words. 

  • The characters - the entire cast were believable and realistic. I was engaged and invested in their stories. The cast of characters is also quite diverse. From my notes (though it's entirely possible I might not have caught everything), the main character is a Turkish Muslim. There is also a Mexican bisexual side character, a gay side character, and an Indian side character. 


WHAT DIDN’T WORK AS WELL FOR ME

  • The slower start. I understand that there’s a lot of worldbuilding to cover (especially in the first book of a series), and the worldbuilding in The Magi Menagerie is great. However, for someone like me who prefers that the action starts very early on and usually decides whether or not I will continue reading a book within the first quarter or so, it runs the risk of turning very picky readers or mood readers away from the book. 


OVERALL THOUGHTS AND IMPRESSIONS

A solid start to a new series. I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy a blend of historical fiction and fantasy, diverse casts of characters, and immersive worldbuilding. With regards to audience level, I would categorize it as upper young adult to new adult. 


Thank you to the author and Giselle at Xpresso Book Tours for sending me a complimentary review copy of the book. I appreciate the opportunity to read and review The Magi Menagerie immensely. Please note - I voluntarily read and reviewed the book. All opinions expressed in the review are my own and not influenced in any way.


Author Bio:

Since the early age of 6, Kale Lawrence knew she either wanted to be an astronaut or an author. Obviously, the astronaut gig didn’t work out, so instead, Kale turned to fantastic fictional worlds. When Kale is not writing creatively, she works as a Marketing Manager at a pet product company, and pretends she’s an Olympic swimmer at the gym. She has also served as a board member for the South Dakota Writes organization.

In addition to books, Kale has lent her writing prowess to television, and her writing has been featured on nationwide PBS television programming, NBC newscasts, ABC newscasts, and the Travel Channel.

Kale currently lives in Sioux Falls, South Dakota with her feisty tortoiseshell calico cat, Emma Bug and sassy Siamese, Seattle Bean.

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