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Radiant (Towers Trilogy #1)

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  239 ratings  ·  66 reviews
Xhea has no magic. Born without the power that everyone else takes for granted, Xhea is an outcast—no way to earn a living, buy food, or change the life that fate has dealt her. Yet she has a unique talent: the ability to see ghosts and the tethers that bind them to the living world, which she uses to scratch out a bare existence in the ruins beneath the City’s floating To ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published September 30th 2014 by Talos
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Mogsy (MMOGC)
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

Is Radiant science fiction? Or is it fantasy? Perhaps it is both, just as I like to think this book could fit comfortably in both the Adult and Young Adult categories. No matter how you look at it, it seems there’s something for everyone in this brilliant and unique cross-genre piece from debut novelist Karina Sumner-Smith.

It all begins with a ghost. Teenager Xhea may have been born without magic – not one bit at all – but

Release Date: October, 7th

Arc provided by Talos Press through Edelweiss

Radiant ups the game in the dystopian and post-apocalyptic story telling, joining the top authors with the most imaginative and well written stories on the subject.
Fans of Susan Ee's "Penryn and the End of Days" series will probably love this!

Radiant is such an amazing and complex story that I am afraid I won't be able to do it justice with my poor and basic review. In fact I'm fighting the urge to only say something as ina
For anyone who has been longing for a book in which the central relationship around which the story revolves is a really amazing friendship rather than a romance/love triangle (because let's face it, you can only listen to the Wicked soundtrack so many times, and romance is all well and good but one can't live off a diet of romance alone), this is the book you have been waiting for.

RADIANT is a book full of wonderful things, and there is so much about it that I love. I love the detail that the a
(Full review here:

Long story short, you need to read Radiant. It’s got the right blend between fantasy and sci-fi to appeal to fans of either genre, very realistic characters that you want to read more about, and enough mysteries and curiosity to leave me, at least, salivating over the sequel. Sumner-Smith is an author I’ll be keeping my eye on in the future, to see what else she’ll do that will keep me as entertained and thoughtful.
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Radiant tops my list of best books of 2014; neither the cover nor the blurb accurately foretold just how good a story was contained within. Very intricate and unique world building combined with highly nuanced characters to create a story full of pathos. I couldn't put it down once I had started reading.

Story: Xhea lives on the ground in a post apocalyptic Canadian City with magic-powered floating cities. Humans have fou
J.M. Frey
(Full disclosure: I recieved an ARC from the author.)

RADIANT is a tense, wonder-and-horror-packed, political thriller at whose heart is cradled the glowing importance of the bonds of friendship; the desperation of loneliness; the pain of magic; the impertinence of power; and the misery of a child’s abandonment, misunderstanding and desperate desire for a place to rest, to be safe, for a home in a world where such a thing never comes without a price.

RADIANT follows Xhea, a Lower City dweller in a
I just finished the book Radiant last night in the middle of a thunderstorm. It was fitting to read about magic battles by the flash of lighting. It was better to discover a new young-adult fantasy author with potential.

Radiant starts with Xhea, a lone girl whose main source of income is expelling ghosts. In a world where everybody is born with magic and the rich live in floating towers, Xhea has no magic and lives on the ground. Yet she can see ghosts, and discern the flow of magic.

Xhea takes
Amanda Sun
An imaginative and original tale of struggle, sacrifice, and friendship within a harsh cultural landscape. Radiant is a vibrant debut, infused with pure magic and strong characters.
(I received a copy from Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.)

Radiant started out okay, but i lost interest very quickly.

The main character was an okay character. I really liked her in the first chapter because she didn't tolerate anybody's rudeness, but as the story progressed, i found her more annoying.

The pacing in this was just too slow for me. The first chapter was great, the couple of chapters after that were good, but the rest was boring.
It dragged, it was confusing, and i just
I can’t remember how I first heard of Karina Sumner-Smith’s debut novel Radiant (most likely somewhere on Twitter), but the premise grabbed my attention right away. Even better, the persuasion worked twofold: a clever plot, but also an invitation to a world where a magic system exists alongside urban, paranormal, science fiction, and dystopian elements. Sounds fascinating, doesn’t it? If your answer is “yes,” then Radiant will be a welcome addition to your bookshelf.

One of Radiant’s greatest str
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Perseus/PGW/Legato/Consortium and Edelweiss.)
Xhea has no magic, but she is able to see ghosts – something she uses to her advantage. When a job to look after a ghost (Shai) for a couple of days turns into something that Xhea is afraid of, she has no idea what she has gotten herself into.
What is special about this ghost? And what will happen to Xhea if she sticks around her?

This was a very slow story, bu
Samuel Lubell
This is an interesting fantasy set in world where magic is used much as money is in our world; people pay for things by transferring bits of their magic. Magic is also used to run devices like elevators and keep the towers floating. A very few people, the Radiants, have so much magic that the towers use them as generators. There is also a lower class (literally) living in the shadows of the towers. Xhea is one of the few without any magic, so she thinks, but instead has the ability to see and co ...more
Radiant is a BRILLIANT first novel by Karina Sumner-Smith. I was looking for an interesting fantasy or sci-fi novel with a strong female character for a while, and Radiant delivers on that front perfectly. It falls neatly in the realm of both fantasy and sci-fi, and gives us not one, but two amazing, strong female characters with very distinct personalities.

Xhea is born without magic, in world where magic is power. Your status in society, comfort, basic necessities, your very freedom - everythin
Jessica Smith
4.5 stars.

I had no faith in the originality of dystopia/apocalyptic YA novels before reading Radiant. In a genre saturated by obligatory love triangles, tyrannical, autocratic governments, and interchangeable protagonists, no new novel promised to revolutionise nor ascend genre conventions in ways others before it had—until I stumbled across this entirely by accident. I now stand absolved of my prior cynicism.

What most stood out for me was the novel's focus on the friendship between Xhea and Sh
Christine Myers
It has been hit and miss for me when I pick up a book through Book Bub. Truthfully, more miss than hit, even when the book is touted as having “over 100 five-star reviews.” I have stopped reading more books after the first chapter than I can count, so I always hold my breath a bit when reading the first few pages. My exact note after about a page and a half of Radiant says: “Yes! Great hook. Intriguing concept, compelling protagonist.”

I absolutely loved the world the author has built, which fee
Nicole Lisa
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I received a copy of this book from Edelweiss for an honest review.
This was a great book! I immediate became caught up in the story and barely put it down. I really look forward to the next book!
Jo  (Mixed Book Bag)
This is a long twisted journey featuring two main characters. Xhea, who thinks she has no magic but can see ghosts and Shai who is a ghost and has more magic than others. Most of Radiant is back-story and world building. All of that is done while following Xhea and Shai as they try to survive in a world that was destroyed some time in the past. Magic is a big part of this world and those with little live in the ruins. Those with a lot live in towers kept aloft with magic. During the story Xhea a ...more
Radiant is the first book in a fresh new series called the Towers Trilogy. If you take 1 part Science Fiction, 1 part paranormal, definitely add in some dystopia and maybe a dash of fantasy and maybe some necromancy and you have Radiant.

This is my first time reading a book written by Karina Sumner-Smith but it won't be my last. She creates this incredible world of technology and magic. Then she gives you not one, but two, marvelously strong young women as the lead protagonists...ok, so one is m
Mark Ladouceur
Great first novel!

The setting is something I haven’t seen before. It’s post apocalyptic on one literal level, but then has a city that floats above the ruins. Powered by magic, it’s a collection of floating towers around a central spire. Sumner-Smith’s description through the book makes it a beautiful sight on the surface, but darker things hide within the tower walls.

In this setting we meet Xhea, a girl with no magical ability, which makes her the poorest of the poor, barely surviving in the ru
Feb 02, 2015 AliceAnn rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Pamela, Cindy
I really liked this one, will definitely pick up the next one in the series, whenever it comes out. The magic system was unique, as was the world building. The main character was always in pain, and there were times I just wanted to send her some Advil, but it made sense. Very engrossing and enjoyable.
B. Ross Ashley
Wow. Just wow.

One of the best fantasy reads I've had in a loooong time.

Karina has been working on her first novel for it seems like forever, and the polish is readily apparent.
Doranna Durgin
A bold, unique vision written by a fresh new voice. Just gets more gripping as the story rolls along!
This is exactly the type of story I normally love but there was just something about this one, or a lack of something, that left me not caring if I read the next in the series.

This is a world where everyone has magic in them, some more than others, and it is used as currency. Those with just enough magic to keep themselves alive, live on the ground in slums. Those with excess live in towers that float in the sky. Our protagonist Xhea has none at all but she has the ability to see ghosts who are
Heidi Wiechert
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.

Opening with fresh ideas and elements I am typically interested in, "Radiant" failed to keep my attention after a hook-filled first two chapters. I'm just one person, but here's my two cents.

I hate these kind of books: Not good, not bad, great vocab and writing ability but ultimately flawed and slow.

I didn't finish this novel. The author knows how to craft a sentence and describe character thoughts and the landscape, but the world building in the 3rd-person was meh meh meh blah blah exposti
This is an unusual first novel. Not because of its subject matter or, even, its plot. I would call it a dystopian fantasy, if we need labels. And, very soon, we will get to why it is unusual. But, let me say first that my saturation point for dystopian fiction is quite low. Many friends have encouraged me to venture into their favorites and I usually find that it is another permutation on the disease, zombie, survival plot.

We are told that Sumner-Smith spent about 5 years writing this first nove
I'm a big fan of world-building, especially when the world and its circumstances strike me as unique. And this is a world unlike any I've encountered -- both dystopian and filled with magic. I enjoyed the two main characters and their relationship and would definitely read the sequel. And that's my only complaint about the book: it is quite clearly a set up for the second and third books. Usually, I find that the first and last books of a trilogy are the strongest, but in this case, it wouldn't ...more
3,5 stars

I've often expressed my dislike of YA-themed stories,mostly due to the sameness and predictability of the stories themselves and/or the characters they focus on, yet this book caught my attention because a few reviews I read stressed its very difference from the usual fare. They were quite right.

In this case the story does not rest on the usual, tired trope of the exceptionally gifted but neglected girl who falls for the brooding guy with a secret, nor on the equally abused love triangl
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Karina has worked for a university, a bookstore, an IT consulting firm, and a recruitment agency, but writing fantasy and science fiction has always been her passion. While she published a number of short stories over the years – and even garnered a much-prized Nebula nomination – life too often got in the way of creativity. That is until she and her husband decided to abandon their urban lifestyl ...more
More about Karina Sumner-Smith...

Other Books in the Series

Towers Trilogy (3 books)
  • Defiant (Towers Trilogy #2)
  • Towers Fall (Towers Trilogy #3)
Defiant (Towers Trilogy #2) Towers Fall (Towers Trilogy #3) The Living Dead 2 (The Living Dead, #2) The Best Horror of the Year Volume Three Best New Horror 22 (The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, #22)

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