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Unnatural Magic

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  79 ratings  ·  43 reviews
A “brilliant and terrifically fun”* debut novel brings an enchanting new voice to fantasy.

Onna can write the parameters of a spell faster than any of the young men in her village school. But despite her incredible abilities, she’s denied a place at the nation’s premier arcane academy. Undaunted, she sails to the bustling city-state of Hexos, hoping to find a place at a univers
Paperback, 400 pages
Published November 5th 2019 by Ace
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Average rating 4.15  · 
Rating details
 ·  79 ratings  ·  43 reviews

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Miranda Reads
Oct 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing

The crowd parted for her. Always did. They might scream, but they weren't stupid.
On the one hand, we have Onna.

A wonderfully brilliant, Hermione-esque girl spends all her free time working her parameters (mathematical spells).

She's lasered focused her entire childhood on training her mind in order to go the finest arcane academy of the land....only things do not go to plan.
...because it wasn't fair, it wasn't fair that she could be clever and polite and work hard and mind her elders and smile prettily and mind her
Nilufer Ozmekik
Oct 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Easily likeable, relatable, smartly-developed characters, lots of magic, super powers plus amazing girl power, intriguing, hooking plot, entertaining, smart, different and attention capturing writing and a great start as a debut author!

As a summary: I enjoyed it, I liked it, without thinking a second giving my four stars.

Fantasy is a risky genre because there is so many YA fantasy books have been releasing and there is a tough, merciless competition between the books. There are so
Lara Donnelly
May 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Jul 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
This book took me away. It took me away to an exciting and fascinating world where trolls are the dominant species and have an entirely different view on gender roles and still need to learn to live with inferior but still mighty humans.

I loved Onna's physics/chemistry-like magic. I *LOVED* the relationship between Tsira and Jeckran (never thought I'd be shipping a troll and a human, but here I am). Even more I appreciated the societal roles in troll society like Reig and Vahn, and how a Reig c
Kaycee Sterling
Sep 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book gave me so much more than I was expecting. Two stories, two amazing female leads, and two completely different adventures but it all comes together to make one amazing read. As one might expect, trolls and humans/wizards are very different species but live in a world together in mostly harmony until Trolls start getting murdered by wizards.

Tsira is a half-Troll who goes out on her own to prove her worth to her clan. She saves a man named Jeckran and their relationship bloom
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It took me a little bit to get into the book at first, but then I fell in love!
I loved the characters and the world building. Not so sure about how Onna just fell into her apprenticeship- but overall - love, love, love. I hope that she writes more and this becomes a series??
Karyn Silverman
Oct 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nook, 2019-reads, arcs, specfic
Brilliant. Thoroughly original world within the gas lamp/faux-tourism parameters I like — along the lines while being nothing like the Brennan dragon books. Wonderfully diverse both from a real world perspective and within the world created, and I love that it’s a world with real issues related to race and class but it’s also a world in which almost everyone seems to be bisexual EVEN IN UPTIGHT DAESLUND. The various countries and their interactions are background but thoroughly real, so that the ...more
Sep 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
This was really fun, I enjoyed it a lot! Full review to come soon.
Aug 31, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-read
Very nicely written, with a flair of style similar to what one considers one of the “classics” written a couple of centuries back. The book is a bit dense at times, however, and I trudged through now and again wanting to get to the matter of the murder mystery. Along with this, a lot of information that has no context at first is thrown out, leaving you floundering at the beginning.

But the way in which magic is explained, as well as characters themselves do make up for it—for the mos
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fair warning: The world building took awhile - I was easily 20% done before i felt remotely invested. But. Once you get in you won't want to leave.
Kitty Marie
Unnatural Magic is a unique and mature fantasy debut with two distinct viewpoints occuring in different regions. The setting and atmosphere brings to mind a sort of victorian era, but imbued with magic. This is the first time I’ve ever read a fantasy novel that was quite fixated on trolls living among and communicating with humans harmoniously. The trolls in Unnatural Magic are broader and stronger than humans. They have a matriarchal culture that contrasts interestingly with the the patriarchal ...more
Oct 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 (which I rarely do!). Tamora Pierce wrote a blurb for this book, so I even though I didn't really have a good idea of what to expect plot-wise, I knew I'd be in for a treat.

This book involves two different sets of characters, each on their own journey that eventually leads them to meet up. One thread of the story follows Onna, a gifted young girl who outclasses all the boys at her rural school and wishes to head to an elite magical academy. Unfortunately, s
Brittany Smith
Oct 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Woooooow. I absolutely devoured this book. It had me laughing, sharing little tidbits with my friends. It was such an enjoyable and engaging read compared to what I’ve read lately.
The premise and world building and characterization were all amazing. The book itself showcased many different places, people, and cultures as well as languages and customs so it was thoroughly planned and well executed.
I don’t know if I’ve ever read a single book with a race of trolls not considered evil!
Katie Montgomery
Oct 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you have a Sorcerer to the Crown shaped hole in your heart, Y'ALL, THIS IS THE ONE. Overlaps include:

*period appropriate prose
*melanin ahoy
*a richly built-out world that elegantly avoids insane amounts of exposition
*thoughtful examination of privilege, gender, and genre norms
*super queer
*strong, sassy heroines whom the gentlemen struggle to keep up with
*witty repartee, in which members of the nobility are regularly sassed
*magical colleges
Janet (MommyTheReader)
Sep 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, gr-giveaways
I loved these characters! 💜 I'm always looking for something different in books, something that sets a story apart from everything else I've ever read. I found that here with Tsira, a character so refreshingly unique, she's become one of my all time favorite characters. I'm sure I'll never forget her.
Cassidee Lanstra
Nov 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Unnatural Magic by C.M. Waggoner

I would like to thank Netgalley and Berkeley Publishing group for approving me for this early copy to review.

Unnatural Magic gets 3.5 stars from me. The premise of the story really intrigued me. It follows a couple storylines. Onna is a brilliant young woman who has studied to enter a prestigious wizarding school. She is clearly the best wizard of her age but is still denied from the school because she’s a woman. She eventually ends up going to anothe
Nov 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
**Review will be posted to my blog on November 4, 2019**

Thank you to ACE and Netgalley for giving me an opportunity to read this eARC.

My reason for requesting this on NetGalley was first and foremost the cover. I love it and then the synopsis mentioned magic and trolls? Well it definitely piqued my curiosity!

But when I started this book I thought maybe I had made a mistake and I wasn’t sure I would be interested in even finishing this book. I thought okay, a
Oct 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
I’ll admit this wasn’t anything like I was expecting, but in a good way!
I don’t know that I’ve ever read anything like this before. It was a very imaginative storyline!

In this book, we follow parallel storylines of two very different women:

Tsira is a half-troll who has left her clan to do some soul searching after struggling to feel like she had a place or could really ever conform to their traditions.
She’s truly a loner at this point, living in a cave instead of s
Michaela Whitney
Nov 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-won, 2019-read
I received a copy through NetGalley in exchange for review.

So this one was a really original set up, and world. It was really well thought out, had two great, independent female main characters. For whom things don't go as originally planned, but they won't allow family or society or stupid male wizards to make the decisions about how their lives should be lived.

Onna's is brilliant at numbers and magical perimeters, she's spent most of her life preparing for the
Sarah Wright
Nov 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5/5 stars — imaginative adult fantasy with a murder mystery plot

Unnatural Magic is a low fantasy story with a Victorian atmosphere and three voiced main characters. The character plots are: a teenage magical prodigy setting out to get an education in a largely male-dominated world, a young(ish) half-troll woman carving out a place for herself even though she doesn't fully fit in either human or troll society, and a former soldier at loose ends after becoming a deserter. These threads are tied toge/>Unnatural
Sep 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Thank you to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing Group for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I'm not going to lie, this was a tough book for me to get through. I thought I was going to shelve it closer to the beginning and had a hard time investing myself in the story. I'm not sure if it was the long build-up of the world and its magic, perhaps simply not being in right frame of mind for it, or if it was the writing style itself -- which can't be it because, despite not getting b
Jenny GB
Nov 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaway
I received a free copy of this book through Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you!

I'm impressed by Waggoner's first novel. In the book, we follow three main characters. Onna has strong magical talent, but where she lives her gender holds her back from discovering just how good she can be until she goes to Hexos. Tsira is a half-human half-troll leader in a troll society that values her strength but belittles her because of her mixed race. Finally, we have Jeckran a disgraced human soldier w
Oct 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
I got this book through NetGalley to review. It sounded right up my alley, however I struggled to even get through the first couple chapters. This book is incredibly dense, it is written more like a text book than a fantasy novel and I was not in the mood to read something like that. I may have to pick it up at a different time.

This book switches between Onna’s POV (a student at a magic school) and a young troll. That’s as far as I got into the story. It took me forever just to read
Sep 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
I won a copy of the ARC of UNNATURAL MAGIC by C. M. Waggoner in a sweepstakes. Hooray! Free Book!

UNNATURAL MAGIC follows two people through their adventures from their homes to their eventual meeting. Onna is the best student at her school, but because she is a young woman, she is not accepted into Weltsir University. Denied her original goal, Onna decides to find some other way to gain the education she desires.

Tsira is a troll, the daughter of the clan leader, but her mother keeps
Sep 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library
This book was received as an ARC from Berkley Publishing Group - Ace in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.

My expectations were unclear just from reading the description of this book. I thought the book was going to be like the movie Practical Magic in using gifted talents to serve the good but Unnatural Magic had a different approach. Unnatural Magic tells the story of Tsira and Onna. Onna is a young girl who attends m
Oct 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Onna has always been gifted with math and magic. Her ability to write the parameters of a spell surpasses everyone else’s. Yet she’s always been looked down upon, as people don’t think she’s as capable as the male wizards she competes against.

Jeckran is a soldier, trying to track down the trolls that have murdered some humans. But when he runs away and nearly dies, he’s found by Tsira, a half-troll, who nurses him back to health and then befriends him.

Troll and human rela
Nov 05, 2019 rated it liked it
I received this as an eARC to read for free in exchange for my honest review. Thank you to Netgalley and Berkley Publishing Group for giving me access.

I struggled to finish this book. While trying to decide if I should DNF this or not, I stuck with it some more.

We start with different POVs and it honestly feels like 2 separate stories. Two fantasies smashed into one. Magic and Trolls. That being said, this story is completely original, and I haven't read anything like it before.

It is very uni
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Enter a fantastic world of magic, wizards, and trolls. I truly enjoyed this whimsical world the author created! As I was reading, I was transported into a magical world. Escape from reality! The way magic works in this world is different. I was fascinated by the different approach to gender roles and the sexuality of the characters. There are some slow parts and there is a great deal of information to digest but as whole its a highly enthralling read! The characters were diverse and well written ...more
Nov 08, 2019 rated it it was ok
I don't get the wildly raving reviews. I liked it well enough but it certainly didn't knock my socks off. In fact, I think the world building was a little scant, and I really don't think you can skimp there when your book it set in a world with nothing in common with our own and driven by the concept of magic. I still don't really understand the magic system or the geography of the world. I also thought the story itself seemed kind of listless. It almost felt like the author was more interested ...more
Sep 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
I love fantasy books that treat something we've all heard of (like the trolls in this book) as something way more central to the world. I enjoyed learning about trolls - the stereotypes about their population, as well as which perceptions held true and why, vs those that had been made up.

I also enjoyed the portrayal of magic as a field of study and career. The author presented a fascinating world centered around two populations that only the author could claim to be an expert on. I hope there a
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