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City of Broken Magic

(Chronicles of Amicae #1)

by
3.59  ·  Rating details ·  541 ratings  ·  146 reviews
Five hundred years ago, magi created a weapon they couldn’t control. An infestation that ate magic—and anything else it came into contact with. Enemies and allies were equally filling.

Only an elite team of non-magical humans, known as sweepers, can defuse and dispose of infestations before they spread. Most die before they finish training.

Laura, a new team member, has stay
...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published November 20th 2018 by Tor Books
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Average rating 3.59  · 
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Carrie
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
City of Broken Magic by Mirah Bolender is the first book in the Chronicles of Amicae fantasy series. The series is set in a world somewhat similar to ours however society and the use of magic are certainly different.

For the last five hundred years sweepers have been cleaning up after a weapon that was created and went out of control. When magical amulets run out or are broken creatures are unleashed that feed upon whatever is in their path whether it was the enemy or alley.

Laura has convinced he
...more
Hannah
Nov 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, arc
I really am not that great at predicting which books I will adore. I was so sure I would love this because at the surface it does so many things I appreciate in books; but I also found its pace fairly slow and, more importantly, some of the narrative decisions when it came to the characters unfortunate.

Set in a partly industrialized fantasy setting (something I happen to really enjoy), this story follows Laura, newly employed Sweeper working for what is basically a bomb-squad but for monsters (a
...more
Rosie Rizk
First off, I don't think they did a good job with the blurb. I don't normally summarize a book in a review, but I think this one needs it since the official one is not detailed enough, and doesn't properly fit the book. Here goes:

The story is set in a country that uses the equivelent of late 20th century technology. Women are expected to marry, but it is acceptable for them to take on secretarial type jobs. There are some rare, but amazing women working in higher tier jobs (politics, police, etc
...more
Mogsy (MMOGC)
Dec 24, 2018 rated it liked it
2.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2018/12/31/...

Five hundred years ago, a magical weapon was created in the form of an infestation that ate magic, but it quickly got out of hand and became impossible to control. This power burrowed itself into amulets and would grow and devour everything in its path if not contained. Only individuals with talent and specialized training, called Sweepers, can defuse and dispose of these magical ticking time bombs.

Enter Laura, an appren
...more
Cathy
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: did-not-finish
Interesting set-up. There are bicycles, cars and dress styles reminiscent of the early 20th century. Steampunk, but not quite. The city itself comes across as a version of Minas Tirith, with added technology. Radios and telephones make an appearance, powered by amulets imbued with magic. The magic system is something I have not come across before, although the skills the Sweepers gain through use of the amulets made me think of Brandon Sanderson‘s Stormlight Archives and the Surgebinding used th ...more
The Captain
Nov 20, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: walk-the-plank
Ahoy there me mateys!  I received this fantasy eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  So here be me honest musings . . .

I was excited about this book when I heard about it.  The hook - a group of monsters that eat magic and everything else that they can get a hold of.  The only thing standing in the way are a group called sweepers.  These sweepers are described on Amazon as "bomb squad that defuses magic weapons."  The blurb claims that sweepers are non-magical beings and that a
...more
Annemieke / A Dance with Books
3,5 stars

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the review copy in exchange for an honest review

I am going to start off with saying that the official synopsis is misleading. It talks about an elite team. It’s not. It says Laura is the last one standing, she’s not. It talks about sweepers being non-magic humans. They aren’t. I feel like the synopsis is trying to sell this book to be a lot more epic than it really is. It’s not. Having said that, I don’t think this is a bad book either. It i
...more
Hollis
Jul 12, 2018 marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, arc
DNF at 28%

I just couldn't get into this one. The writing was fine, the worldbuilding kinda confusing, but I just wasn't caring about the characters or the (few) events that had occurred up until this point. Also I'd like to point out the summary is kind of misleading. I expected this to be a contemporary/real world-ish setting and it's not. It's something entirely different. And Laura is not the only member of the squad so.. I don't know why that's mentioned, either?

Anyway. Not my cup of tea.
La La
3.5 on the blog.

I went back and forth several times with this book thinking I was going to give it three stars, then four, then three, no four... and again and again, ha ha. However, in the end I enjoyed more of the story than not and in a couple of places it was a solid page turner. I was invested in all the characters. The premise and many of the story elements were quite unique, for me anyway, and the magical system was fresh, too.

One of my problems, which has nothing to do with the book, is
...more
Melliane
Jul 26, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5/5

Mon avis en Français

My English review

I did not know about the novel, but after reading the synopsis, it’s true that I was intrigued! Well, I must say that already, with the mention of magic, I knew that I was going to want to discover the story!

Laura is a sweeper, well an apprentice sweeper and she works with her boss to eliminate magical infestations and it’s really not easy! On top of that, she must also face the morals of people who think that a woman like her should not work in this a
...more
Hélène Louise
Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, netgalley
4,5 *
Not a perfect book but a near perfect read :)
RTC near publishing date
Caroline Berg
First, I'm going to start with what I like. I like Laura as a character. The casual sexism she puts up with resonates all too well.

The book started well, but has a couple of really big flaws. One isn't so much the book as the cover: the blurb reveals a major plot point that doesn't occur until the end of the book. Do yourself a favor and skip the last paragraph so you don't get a mistaken notion of what is going to happen.

But the bigger issues for me are the cavalier use of terms, and how the
...more
Christina Hagmann
Dec 28, 2018 rated it liked it
City of Broken Magic was a unique book with some pretty fantastic world building and a cast of interesting characters. Without these things, it would only be two stars from me because I felt there was no cohesive plot to follow. I wanted to love this. I even loved Clae as the grumpy mentor. The creativity on the author's part was fantastic, and I'm sure I'll see plenty of books by her in the future, but sadly, this book wasn't for me.
Hélène Louise
Nov 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was a lovely surprise! I was somewhat worried in the beginning, as classical fantasy tends to bore me rather easily these days... But "City of broken magic" has some real personality and some excellent characters, and consequently my reading was great!

To begin with the minor flaws. They're all of the same trend, about some rather confusing points: nothing really problematic, just small ideas you keep wondering about in the back of your mind. Some explanations come rather too late, for
...more
Jennifer
Nov 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book started off strong with a (sadly, one time only) point of view of a monster (a blobby mass of malevolence who reminded me a bit of Hexxus from the movie Ferngully) being born and seeking out some food.

It was a great introduction to a book with a strong, original premise about a world where Sweepers do the work of monster removal in a society that doesn't believe the monsters exist anymore, and consequently has no appreciation for the danger Sweepers put themselves in.

I read a review
...more
Arybo ✨
Your instincts are good. Follow them. 💫

So, this book reminds me of Fantastic Beasts and where to find them, the movie. I don’t know why, I don’t know how. I know that I liked it a lot.
There is a world that could be described as a 20th century setting, with trains and bicycles and guns. There are women at work, in important jobs, as political leaders. But there is also the judgement of people about women’s life, women’s jobs, women’s marriage. Laura is the main protagonist: after reading a bo
...more
Colleen
Mar 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book!
It's a mix of urban fantasy and steampunk, with characters that I cared about and was cheering for. Yes, even cranky Clae. Laura is independent and struggling against sexist family and societal norms. Clae recognizes that she has value as a person, not just as a wife or mother, and treats her as a capable adult. Most of the story moves quickly, and events have a purpose ... I admit that after the first couple of scenes of "infestation" cleaning I skimmed some of those.
...more
Tracy
Jan 02, 2020 rated it liked it
Interesting ideas, some likeable characters, some (meant to be) unlikeable characters
Sarah (CoolCurryBooks)
This debut fantasy novel showed a lot of promise, but by the end, I was just skimming, trying to finish the book for a review.

Laura is an apprentice Sweeper, a professional trained to deal with the magical infestations that threaten her world. Created as a weapon that then got out of control, infestations take root in magical amulets and grow until they begin devouring people. At the most extreme, out of control infestations can destroy whole cities. Sweepers are there to stop them. But Laura’s
...more
Jason S Wrench
Jul 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
After reading some of the reviews on here, I admit that I was a bit confused in the beginning of the book. The introduces a number of terms that are used elsewhere in fiction like "infestation," "gin, "kin," etc. that had specific meanings attached to them in this word, but did not resemble those in our world. I do think some initial clarification could have been given to make it easier to dive right into the world.

Once I kind of figured out what was going on within the world Bolender created, I
...more
Rebecca Bowyer
Sep 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
City of Broken Magic, by Mirah Bolender, is a refreshingly original fantasy novel which follows Laura as she pursues her dreams of becoming a ‘Sweeper’. The art of using magic to defeat monsters is a dangerous and dying profession, but one that’s about to become extremely important again.

The world that Bolender has created is fascinating. The magic system is so very detailed, with complex hidden structures all over Amicae supporting the protective elements and intricate details about how it all
...more
23hliesch
Apr 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Even though my cousin wrote this book, It was really good. The start of the story may seem a little boring, but it does a great job introducing you to the world of Amicae. This city may seem boring on the outside, but once you crack open that shell, you will be surprised at how much this book has to offer. The world is full of magical things like glowing eggs and spooky tar monster guys, which really keeps the story interesting. The characters all have very different attitudes, for example, Okan ...more
Stuart Macmartin
Jun 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Definitely innovative setting. And likeable character. And quirky characters. Worth reading for that. I marked it as steampunk but it’s not quite.

There were some annoying details, like a certain tell. Some bizarre concepts. A conspiracy of ignorance that is interesting in concept but I’m not sure I fully believe it would work - you need to suspend disbelief here. A few action scenes I didn’t quite follow. And some characters that felt almost but not quite real.

Upshot: promising new author.
Deborah Ross
Mar 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
In this fairly recognizable post-Industrial Revolution world, magic is both friend and foe. Enchanted amulets are useful in all sorts of ways, but let one become empty or damaged, and an infestation of vicious magic, taking the form of a jellyfish-like “monster” will erupt, consuming everything in its path. In the city of Amicae, as elsewhere, Sweepers clear out such infestations, but they are few in number. Two, to be precise, the notorious, irascible, scoundrel-with-a-heart-of-gold, Clae Sincl ...more
Anne - Books of My Heart
Dec 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 7arcs, 2018
This review was originally posted on Books of My Heart

3.5 hearts

Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I just love books with magic.  I saw this and the blurb sounded great so I was excited to get City of Broken Magic.  I wish I had re-read the blurb again before I read the book and some things might have made more sense but others would have made less, so..   Yes, I had some of that first book .. I don't get the world ..
...more
Clara
Jan 14, 2020 rated it it was ok
This book was so similar to the Lockwood & Co books that I felt this author was walking a thin line of plagiarism. There were times I felt like I was again reading one, and I think Jonathan Shroud may want to look into this. It did NOT read like an adult, more like a middle grade.
Here are the similarities I noticed:

1. There is a relatively new apprentice.
2. There is a very grumpy and unfriendly boss that won't get close because he lost too many apprentices before her
3. There is a newer apprentic
...more
Nichole
Dec 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Clae Sinclair is the Head Sweeper of Amicae. Clae and his apprentice Laura take care of any infestations in their city. Amulets hold various magic. They can be used for everyday household things like cooking, or in jobs for speed, pretty much everything. But when an amulet gets broken, it becomes the possible host to an infestation. An infestation will destroy everything around it until it's stopped. That's where the sweepers come in. They make sure broken amulets are taken care of properly, and ...more
Tanya
Jan 25, 2020 rated it liked it
This review isn't going to be very helpful, because I can't figure out what I didn't like about the book. Everything about this book are things that I normally like, but I continually had a hard time picking this book back up to continue reading it. About half way through I just ended up skipping to the last 50ish pages or so. Even though it was obvious I missed things, it didn't really feel like I missed anything important. I don't know, I just had a hard time getting into this world.
Tim Hicks
Jan 31, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Three stars, but promising. There's a lot of worldbuilding, but it's not as strong as it could have been. The characters are good, and the plot was plausible.

The pace was slow for the first two-thirds, then picked up nicely. The ending, with an obvious lead to a sequel, was reasonably well handled, so that if we don't read on we aren't left feeling unfinished.

I'll look for the next one and then decide.
*Thea 'Wookiee'sMama' Wilson*
Actual rating 3.5/5.

Full review to come!
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Mirah Bolender graduated from college with majors in creative writing and art in May 2014. A lifelong traveler, she has traveled and studied overseas, most notably in Japan, and these experiences are reflected in her work. City of Broken Magic is her debut fantasy novel.

Other books in the series

Chronicles of Amicae (3 books)
  • The Monstrous Citadel (Chronicles of Amicae, #2)
  • Fortress of Magi

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