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The Brilliant Death

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  428 ratings  ·  162 reviews
9 Hours and 45 Minutes

Teodora di Sangro is used to hiding her magical ability to transform enemies into music boxes and mirrors. Nobody knows she's a strega--and she aims to keep it that way.

The she meets Cielo--and everything changes.

A strega who can switch outward form as effortlessly as turning a page in a book, Cielo shows Teodora what her life could be like if she mas
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Audio CD
Published October 30th 2018 by Listening Library
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Elyse After reading the book, there's no doubt in my mind that there will be a sequel.
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شيماء ✨
Someone: hey-

Me, busy being emotionally invested in this 19th century mafia story featuring genderfluid shape-shifters, an amazing queer romance and an iconic and unabashed obliteration of the concept of gender binary: shhh please be quiet

So, what’s this book about?


Teodora di Sangro, the daughter of a mafia don, pays for the safety of her family with the coin of her own conscience, parceled out every time she wields her secret magic—a shadow talent of turning her father’s enemies into decorati
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Emily May
Jun 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, fantasy, arc, 2018
Teodora di Sangro’s life is built on secrets.

The Brilliant Death sucked me in pretty much instantly when the protagonist - Teo di Sangro, who is a strega - waltzes onto the page and turns a man into a music box for threatening the well-being of her family. As it turns out, this guy is just one more trinket added to Teo's collection. You'd better learn it fast: while Teo's around, no one screws with the di Sangros.

Hell yeah.

From there, a bigger fantasy world opens up, filled with stregas and ot
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Elise (TheBookishActress)
I had discovered a special way that women could be dangerous. They were trained to play close attention to people. To take them apart, like Luca had done with his clockworks, and study how they ran.

This was so. freaking. interesting. A story following a genderqueer narrator who can turn people into boxes, and her love interest who can literally magically switch sexes, all set in a 19th-century-Italian-inspired world by an Italian author. Like, come on, how can I even resist that?

The Brillian
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Riley
Nov 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: october-tbr
If any of this interests you I highly recommend picking this up:
- 19th century Italy inspired world
- mafia family
- political intrigue
- unique magic system
- queer main character
- genderfluid love interest
⚔ Silvia ⚓
I've thought about it and while a lot of the premise of this book sounds amazing, as an Italian person the mafia element makes me way too uncomfortable to even consider reading it.
may ➹
Amy Rose Capetta called her partner her “very own sexy magic tutor” in the acknowledgements and your loss if you don’t want to read a book about sexy magic tutors, magic that can turn men into objects, and gay

// buddy read with felix and bad memory
♆Hayley
Nov 12, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
DNF 32%

When I first decided to DNF this over the weekend I had a lot to say about it. Now, I just don't care. I don't care enough for a roast, I don't care enough for a lengthy review, I just do. not. care. about this book.

At. All.

What I do care about is that I freaking bought this at full price, which I never do and it was so disappointing, and now I'm pissed and I want my money back. So, without further adiu a quick run through.

1. The characters were boring and flat. I didn't care what they t
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Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥
What's this magic and when can I read it?!

I mean:
- A Mafia don's daughter
- A gender fluid character
- Magic!!!
- A queer romance
- Some sort of blood feud?!

Sign me up!! I need this in my life ASAP!!!
This is what I call intriguing. XD
julianna ➹
wow our main characters are a genderfluid couple, amazing
Catie
Jun 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3 1/2 stars

The world definitely needs more sexy gender-bending magic tutors – I know I’ve always thought so, and this book definitely delivers on the SGBMT’s. This is mostly a classic quest/court-intrigue type fantasy, but the beautiful writing and unique details kept me interested until the end.

Teodora (“Teo”) DiSangro has been her family’s secret assassin ever since she was small and realized that she was a strega who had the power to change people into everyday objects. Thanks in large part t
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Vicky Who Reads
Oct 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs
4 stars

If I could pick three words to describe this book with, it would be "lush," "conspiratorial," and "queer."

Because this book is "lush" in almost every way:

- It's magic system--with the strega who are going through a time of change as people attempt to exploit their magic and use it for nefarious purposes--fully embodies the word "lush" with the elegant way the magic works and its smooth execution.
- "Lush" in the way that the characters are rich and developed and shaped in a way that you un
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Surina
Actual rating: 3.5 stars

Do you know what I hate? The stereotypical YA heroine. The one that's stoic but badass and has a haunting past and is "destined to bring about change."

Fortunately, Teodora di Sangro isn't one of these heroines.

She's badass, but also in an understated way? I don't know how to explain it. But she's a refreshing character to read about among all the other cliches in the genre. And Cielo, her "sexy magic tutor", is amazing. I love their romance and I ship them so much!!

With t
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OutlawPoet
I had to do a little thinking before writing this review.

It’s likely clear from my star rating that I didn’t like it very much. I won’t give it one star because there was something I appreciated about it.

I like the fact that this is a diverse author who gives us a main character who is also diverse. I looked at the author’s website out of curiosity and she self identifies as bi, demi-girl, and queer. And this seems to be who her main character is, which is awesome. I think there will be readers
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Julie
Sep 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is such an immersive, well-written fantasy! I love the Italian-inspired world and the gender fluid lovers, and the magic system is really well thought out.
Marianne - November Words
Look at this premise. Look at it.
Karima chermiti

Family is fate.


I must admit that I stumbled on this book by chance and the title just drew me in so I read the synopsis and boy was I hooked like never before. I was so intrigued and felt slightly confused why I didn’t see this book being read by many people cause you know it’s a YA fantasy, it has an original elements to the story, it felt like something different and that’s why readers from this genre always demand, something new, something bold, something beautiful so I was wondering why
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Madalyn (Novel Ink)
Sep 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
This review originally appeared on Novel Ink.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

If you’re a regular visitor to my blog, you probably know by now that reviews of fantasy books from me are few and far between these days. As my reading tastes have changed over the past couple years, I’ve slowly gravitated away from fantasy, and it takes a special book to make me want to pick up the genre. The Brilli
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Meigan
With such a unique and intriguing premise, and one that promised magic, political intrigue and so much more, I couldn’t help but be excited for The Brilliant Death. And if the above wasn’t enough to hook me, add in mafia and gender-fluid characters, all set against a backdrop of a fantasy version of 19th century Italy, and I knew this was going to be a book that worked for me. And it most certainly did.

The action starts almost immediately, with Teodora DiSangro’s father rendered immobile and on
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Tirzah Price
Mar 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant and humorous and adventurous. Your new favorite fantasy novel. Also, hella queer.
Kelsey
***I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review***

---Update: THERE WILL BE A SEQUEL!!!!!!!!---

I really enjoyed this book! It's probably more of a 3.5 stars for me. The writing and flow of the story is lovely. It kept me engaged and more than once, I caught myself thinking about the book when I wasn't reading it. The base of the story has SO much potential.

I loved how there was an Italian mafia feel to the families and the loyalties they had. You just get a sense that eve
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Kath (Read Forevermore)
An arc of this book was sent to me by Penguin Teen in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Rating: 5 / 5

The Brilliant Death is a BRILLIANT book, and yes I was waiting for forever to actually say that! It is set in an amazing fantasy world with stregas (which I looked up and it is the Italian word for witch that refers to a group of pagan magic users who protect Venice or the modern Italian Wiccan-styled witch) and other Italian-inspired elements. This book was high
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autumn
an interesting story with a really cool magic system, BEAUTIFUL writing ("thank you for slipping wonder in the pockets of my days" swoon!), and a gorgeous italian-inspired world

representation: it's set in fantasy 19th (?) century so no modern day terms are used but the main character is clearly queer. i read her as cis and gay, but others have read her as nonbinary/genderfluid which i could also see - there's a couple of comments about how Teo feels stifled & uncomfortable in a 'girl's' body
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Kassie
Nov 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The ending felt a little rushed or messy, and a little too open ended in my opinion. However, I LOVED SO MUCH OF THIS BOOK 😍😍 i loved how Any Rose Capetta decided to talk about the difference between men and women and their “places” and it just ugh, so good.
Jane
I can’t quite decide between 3.5 and 4 stars for this book, so I’m just rounding up to 4 for now. Overall The Brilliant Death felt unique and enjoyable, but it did have some issues.
Jean
Oct 31, 2018 marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
DNF at 30%.

I like stories that can make me feel--whether it's anger or devastation or happiness--and this book was the opposite of that. The flow, logic, and emotions delivered in this book felt incredibly unnatural to me. Conversations failed to connect, be it a simple explanation about something, or a situation developing from point A to point B. The protagonist also seemed so entirely detached from the deaths of her family members that I felt completely detached from the book too. The premis
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Mandy
*I received an early copy of this through the website, Bookish First - didn't change my opinion at all but thanks so much!*

This book will easily go down as one of the most surprising and intriguing reads that I read of all 2018. I've read such few books this year that have stood out, and this book brought sexiness, magic, and moreeeeeeeeeeeee.

I wasn't quite sure what I was getting when I first picked this book up. All I remembered was mafia but with magic, and like, that was enough for me? This
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Jessie
Jul 21, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookcon2018
I loved the beginning of this book. Teo is the daughter of the di Sangro family. Despite being the most suited to run the family, as a daughter, that’s not an option. Instead, Teo helps the family by secretly turning the family’s enemies into trinkets with the magic they’ve kept secret. How cool is that?!?

Teo meets Cielo, a strega (magic wielder) who can change their physical appearance at will, and starts to question their own gender. I loved the exploration into Teo’s gender, but I really did
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Gretchen
Aug 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: queer, sf, ya
On its surface, this appears to be yet another addition to the string of Strong Female Protagonist Fantasy YA books that are crowding our shelves. This entry stands out above the others I've read in recent years thanks to the author's capable writing, a winning protagonist, and the thoughtful exploration of gender transformation-via-magic, folded into a court-and-family magic intrigue that play combine to heightened effect. Teo's journey is never simple, and warring duty to family and to self ar ...more
Sarah (The Clever Reader)
4.5

This book was so good! The story was definitely what you expect from a great fantasy! The magic was unique, the romance is like nothing you’ve ever read before, and Teodora doesn’t let her status as a woman stop her from going after what she wants, what she deems is hers. In a world where having a magical ability can either hurt or hinder her, Theodora learns that the only way to save her father is to learn to hone her magical ability.

The romance in this novel is so different than anything I
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The Magic Mafiosa 1 6 Aug 18, 2018 01:25PM  
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Amy Rose Capetta studied theater at the Stella Adler Studio as a teenager before spending four years in a Shakespeare troupe. Echo After Echo is her first book with Candlewick Press. Amy Rose Capetta lives in Michigan.
“Understanding rustled through me, soft as leaves. It wasn’t quite the same, but I’d often felt I didn’t fit inside the boundaries of the word girl. It reminded me of a country I could happily visit, but the longer I stayed, the more I knew I couldn’t live there all the time. There were moments when I sorely wished to be free of the confines of this body, the expectations it seemed to carry.” 2 likes
“I had discovered a special way that women could be dangerous. They were trained to play close attention to people. To take them apart, like Luca had done with his clockworks, and study how they ran.” 1 likes
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