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Radiant (Towers Trilogy #1)

4.19 of 5 stars 4.19  ·  rating details  ·  134 ratings  ·  42 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 2,743)
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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 foun
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
(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
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
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!
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.
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
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
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
Dec 14, 2014 Lara rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014
This was a fascinating book in which everyone in a post-apocalyptic London has magic except Xhea. However, she can see and interact with ghosts. Her life changes after a ghost is brought to her and it turns out that things are not what they seem. In the process, she learns more about her abilities with ghosts, and awakens a power within herself. The fact that she sees only in shades of grey, except after absorbing magic, is just one unique aspect of this story. The Towers and the world in which ...more
Ever wonder what a novelization of cartoon would read like? Here's your answer! In a post-apocalyptic cityscape, magic rules the world and the most powerful live in floating towers above the squalid ruins of a major city. Our heroine has no magic and lives a hardscrabble life isolated from almost everyone in this underworld. She can see ghosts and is hired to take one on and ends up befriending it. Lo and behold, it's conscious and the ghost of a Radiant magic creator who is the key in an inter- ...more
Samantha Balk
What an excellent start for a brand new author!

For starters, I love the package. The cover art is beautiful and intense, and the title is strong and unique. I do also love the size of the print and the chapter graphics. These sound like silly things to mention, but they really did make this an enjoyable book to hold in my hands and read.

Worldbuilding is good. It was easy to imagine the scenery, and if this were a movie, the special effects would be breathtaking.

I love the characters. Xhea and
Lekeisha Thomas
This story was surprisingly a great read, in light of it’s many genres. You get it all within this book; magic, dystopia, science-fiction, paranormal, fantasy, etc… Lately, I’ve found myself engrossed in stories that has a slew of genres combined; and they were all fantastic reads.

Radiant: In this story it basically means a being with endless magic. Like, if you have an abundance of magic, you are used to power the upper class’s neighborhood or whatever. Radiants are highly sought after and used
Jessica Moore
A beautiful novel that crosses lines of genre in the best way possible, this book has everything you want in a story. Moving characters with relationships you invest in and a descriptively stunning and complex world that is delicious and terrible. If you like sci-fi or fantasy or paranormal or young adult or chick lit, you'll fall in love with this book. I cannot wait for the rest of the series to come out!

The main character is a mix of Harry Dresden and Katniss Everdeen - an young woman who has adapted to a hard environment who is then thrust into a larger world she doesn't understand. It plays with some interesting concepts, like the conditions created by a city economy built on magic, but overall the setting fell flat from a lack of exploration of the history and conditions that led up to the events.
Jan 21, 2015 Kym rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: magic
There is much to enjoy in this book. A strong and interesting female lead, great world building, unique magic etc. The only downside is that it's just too slow through the middle. Even invested in Xhea, the main character and the ghost Shai, I found myself dragging through the reading. There's only so much heroic injury/hurt to overcome you know?
I'd still recommend it but be forewarned
3 stars.
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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 (2 books)
  • Defiant: Towers Trilogy Book Two
Towers Fall: Book Three in the Towers Trilogy Defiant: Towers Trilogy Book Two The Living Dead, Volume 2 (The Living Dead, #2) The Best Horror of the Year Volume Three The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 22

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