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Brother’s Ruin

(Industrial Magic #1)

3.60  ·  Rating details ·  946 ratings  ·  225 reviews
The year is 1850 and Great Britain is flourishing, thanks to the Royal Society of the Esoteric Arts. When a new mage is discovered, Royal Society elites descend like buzzards to snatch up a new apprentice. Talented mages are bought from their families at a tremendous price, while weak mages are snapped up for a pittance. For a lower middle class family like the Gunns, the ...more
Kindle Edition, 190 pages
Published March 14th 2017 by
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Average rating 3.60  · 
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James Tivendale
Feb 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I received an ARC of Brother's Ruin through NetGalley. Thank you to Emma Newman and Tor.

Brother's Ruin is the first novel in Newman's Industrial Magic series. This is an urban fantasy story set in an alternative London circa 1850 where people who have magic within themselves become members of the Royal Society of Esoteric Arts. Civilians who have magic capabilities that are currently latent/inactive have to be handed over to the Empire before they become "wild" and they can attend one of three
ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I truly believe this is the start of something that is going to be amazing; unfortunately this first installment into this world wasn't quite as gripping as I'd hoped.

This novella takes place in 1850 Great Britain, and has a very important emphasis on the lack of women's rights that takes place during that time. Our main protagonist, Charlotte, is a very talented illustrator, but she has to sell her work under a man's
Ahmed  Ejaz
Apr 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: full-lengths, 2017
It's really hard for me to rate this book. It irritated me by its beginning and made me excited by its ending.

This book sets in 1850.
Royal Society buys magical person for its own use. Charlotte and her brother, Benjamin, have magical abilities. Benjamin is sold by his father to Royal Society. His father has a debt to pay. So he needs money, which he takes from Royal Society by selling his son to them. But the problem is Ben is not an experienced magus. But his sister, Charlotte, is
Oct 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
A few years ago I would have been startled to think that there was such a thing as Historical Urban Fantasy, but yeah, it's a thing now.

And now that we've got cotton gins and the Royal Society deeply involved in the magic business, with all sorts of fear and corruption and intrigue, I shouldn't really be surprised. So the question is: is this good?

I think it's quite fun, personally. It's a simple setup and Charlotte is a pretty cool character with a magical secret. And she deeply mistrusts the
Gail Carriger
One of the things I like most about Brother's Ruin is the way Em layers in her tension points. As we open the book we see two characters standing still in a sea of humanity. Then we learn the first tension point: our heroine,Charlotte, is an artist trying to make it in a man's world. Then we get the second: the magi stealing children. Then we learn her beloved brother is ill. And then after we return to the comparative safety of home, the punch of a father's mounting debt.

Now we know Charlotte i
Althea Ann
Jun 15, 2017 rated it liked it
Charlotte knows that she has a talent for magic. She knows that her duty - and legal obligation - is to make her magic known, so that the government can train her talents to be best used for the good of the country. But it's unsettling that street preachers rant on with dire warnings about the evils of the magical Academy, and besides, Charlotte has other plans for her life: she's a talented commercial artist, even if as a woman, she has to take her commissions anonymously, and she has plans to ...more
May 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm on a bit of a roll lately with liking the latest offerings from authors I've read before.

It's 1850 and England's industrial revolution owes everything to the Royal Society of Esoteric Studies. The mages are powerful and wealthy, but they have little freedom and are forbidden to marry or pursue anything other than magic. So Charlotte Gunn is absolutely determined that no-one will find out that she's both a mage and a powerful one. But when her father runs into financial trouble and her brothe
Feb 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Read all my reviews on

Brother's Ruin was a wonderful short book and a great start to the Industrial Magic series, which kept myself asking only one thing: Where/When can I get the next one? and Is it going to be a full length book? (Okay, these are in fact multiple things but certainly show my enthusiasm).

It had everything in it to make it a very nice read for me. Set in a Victorian England with a Royal Society which enlists everyone with magical abilities,
Mar 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
In this gaslamp fantasy, Charlotte is a powerful mage who has hidden her abilities for years to avoid being taken by the Royal Society of Esoteric Arts. Her brother, Benjamin, who has much weaker magical abilities, turns himself in to the Royal Society in the hope that the monetary compensation that his family would receive could save them from destitution. But without the help of Charlotte, he's in danger of being worth very little money or worse, punished for lying to the Royal Society.

This is
May 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: r2017, favourites, fantasy

For a novella, the author does pack quite a lot in this story. This magic-based 1850 setting is fascinating, mixing just enough historical details with fantasy. Charlotte is a very likeable heroine, spirited, kind, loyal, courageous and adventurous. I loved that her family, parents and brother, are all decent people who really care for each other. After just the first few sentences, I was hooked in her narration, totally engrossed. Brother Ruin gives us enough to satisfy the reader in this sh
Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
May 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Harry Potter, Rivers of London fans
Brother's Ruin is a book I've been waiting to read like no tomorrow! I was sadly denied an advance copy, so I had to ultimately wait for the release (like all mere mortals... kidding!), but when I finally got my hands on it, it disappeared in a night and left me wanting for so much more!

You can also read this review on my blog, along with many others.

Reasons to read Brother's Ruin:

✬ Rogue mages would be a good reason.
✬ All technology in this world is run by magic!
✬ Rogue mages.
✬ A re
May 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
Entertaining steampunk novella. More, please.
Jul 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Longer review later, but 3.5 stars for now.

I am on the fence about whether I would read the next novella. This is clearly just the setup for a deeper immersion in the world, but what is on paper right now is clunky in both the worldbuilding and (frequently) in the writing itself.
I can never quite articulate why I find all of Emma Newman's books so utterly enthralling, but I'm pleased to say that Brother's Ruin is no exception. Compared to some of her other more serious works such as Planetfall, I found this little novella a pure escapist pleasure. The story takes place in an alternate Victorian London where magic battles it out with the Industrial Revolution. Those born with the gift of magic must renounce their lives and instead dedicate their lives to the nation. Fami ...more
Jan 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
Interesting set-up for further stories. Very different writing than her science fiction.
May 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
I loved this! and as always with a novella, I wish it was longer.
Loved it. My only real disappointment is that it isn't longer. ...more
Jan 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Brother’s Ruin is a real page turner and I had a blast reading it. It’s a great first instalment to this new series of Industrial Magic and I don’t know how many books there are coming, but please, let it be many.

This book not only introduces the world and characters, but also sets up the next book(s) brilliantly. However, you don’t have to fear a cliffhanger, because a first story arc is satisfactorily resolved. I am so looking forward to more, because the premise for the next book is amazing a
Feb 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc-s
"You were so clearly trying to hide the sun behind a paper fan"

* * *
3 / 5

Brother's Ruin was short, sweet, and over before I could really sink my teeth into it. I love the occasional book set in a quasi-Victorian setting and Brother's Ruin made use of the setting, adding a hint of magic. Newman has crafted a complex world with three different magical systems, but it seems like just as the world building and my connection to the main character, Charlotte, really starts the book is over! At barely
Received to review via Netgalley; publication date 14th March 2017

Brother’s Ruin is another of the novella series, though this one is very obviously just the beginning of a series of novellas, rather than standing alone (as, for example, Passing Strange does). So it mostly seems to function as a way of setting up the world: there is a story here as well, but more important is the alternate reality being created. It’s sort of vaguely Victorian, but with magic as a relatively commonplace e
Sep 25, 2017 rated it it was ok
Just recently I've got interested in the steampunk genre, but haven't actually tried out the British Victorian era setting which inspired the genre itself.

Brother's Ruin is a novella that is supposed to introduce us to the world of the 19th century London that is more or less ruled by the Royal Society of the Esoteric Arts. The members of this society are not allowed to marry or indulge into anything that might prevent them from being loyal and serving their country. That is one of the reasons w
Mar 19, 2017 rated it liked it
* I was sent this novella for review by the publisher *

This is the first novella in a very promising new series from Emma Newman. In this story it's mostly set-up for what is to come later on in the series as we meet the characters of Benjamin and Charlotte (a brother and sister), the setting of a world where magic manifests in children, and a Victorian England set up too. This story really is just the start point with small intros to the various plot threads and introductions of characters who
Rachel (Kalanadi)
Mar 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: novellas
3.5 stars

This gaslamp fantasy was charming and introduces a series with potential, but felt like a brief "story that comes before the story". Brother's Ruin is the legwork to get the series off the ground and the world and characters introduced. I will gladly read more!

In this 1850's London, the government tightly controls people with magical abilities and incentivizes their families to turn their Latent relatives in by paying them. If a Latent is tested and passes, they are given education/job
Apr 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing

In not even 200 pages you’ve given me everything I love - action, skirts, manners, magic, siblings, mystery, espionage, great characters and so much more. It’s like you wrote this novella specifically just for me. I loved it. The pacing was excellent and the characters were so vivid and alive. I’m especially impressed with how quickly they managed to charm me considering the short amount of time they had to introduce themselves to me.

The story was compelling and ev
Karina Webster
Mar 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this! I only wish it was a full length novel!!
The Captain
Mar 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Ahoy there me mateys! I received this fantasy eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. So here be me honest musings . . .

This novella was quick-paced, a fast read, and fun. The story is set in 1850s Great Britain which was win number one. Win number two was the protagonist, Charlotte Gunn – intelligent, feisty, and loving (me favorite type). Win number three was the magical society set up in this book.

Charlotte is a woman who wants normal things like marrying her fiance and having a
This was a decent enough idea for a series and there's some interesting [if a little predictable] world-building going on here but this just felt more like the first half of a novel rather than a self-contained first book in a series to me. Usually I like books that are this length [200-ish pages is probably my ideal book length due to my attention span], but that's only if the author can manage to get a complete story into that space and this author did not.

Another thing that was annoying was t
Nov 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Magic in an industrial revolution-style setting. A hot mage. Skullduggery. Manners. Tea. Feminism.
Basically, I loved it 😍😍😍😍😍
Nov 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: grown-up, tor-com
Well I trust absolutely no one in this bar and desperately need to know what happens next.
Apr 05, 2017 rated it liked it
“Thems what go in there like this”—the woman held a hand up, fingers pointing at the sky— “come out like this”—she tipped her hand until the palm was horizontal.’ (Loc 316)

In an alternative London in 1850, the Royal Society of the Esoteric Arts is recruiting raw, untrained magicians. And they are prepared to pay families handsomely for such talent. Benjamin Gunn and his sister Charlotte appear to have some magical capabilities and one of them is brought to the attention of the Society. This nov
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Gail Carriger Fan...: April 2017: Brother's Ruin by Emma Newman 9 42 Jun 19, 2017 11:25AM  

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Emma Newman writes dark short stories and science fiction and urban fantasy novels.

'Between Two Thorns', the first book in Emma's Split Worlds urban fantasy series, was shortlisted for the BFS Best Novel and Best Newcomer awards.

Emma's latest book, Planetfall, is a standalone science fiction novel published by Roc.

Emma is a professional audiobook narrator and also co-writes and hosts the Hugo-no

Other books in the series

Industrial Magic (2 books)
  • Weaver's Lament (Industrial Magic, #2)

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