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Unnatural Magic

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  1,179 ratings  ·  280 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 un
Kindle Edition, 400 pages
Published November 5th 2019 by Ace
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C.J. Dotson While the main romantic subplot is F/M, there is lgbtq+ rep all throughout the book.
E.D. Walker Definitely not. LOTS of swearing and sexual content and gory violence.
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Average rating 3.90  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,179 ratings  ·  280 reviews

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Miranda Reads
I have read my way through 315 books to bring you my Top 10 Books of the Year.

Now you know that this one made the cut, check out my video review to see the others!

P.s. I did another video about this one - I couldn't resist.

Happy Pride Month y'all! Click the link to check out my favorite PRIDE books
The Written Review

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 spe
Nilufer Ozmekik
Oct 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 many PR camp
Dec 14, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, buddy-read
This book had potential but the plot and characters just fell so flat. The plot was meandering in the background. The book had dual points of view and the most memorable thing about one of the perspectives was that the romance was essentially a much less violent version of Jaime/Brienne, so I'd recommend this for fans of the show who were disappointed with how that ended up. The other point of view, I basically forgot about her until she popped up again, and she ultimately felt more like she exi ...more
Lauren Stoolfire
Nov 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Unnatural Magic by C.M. Waggoner is a refreshingly standalone fantasy novel with a brilliant cast of characters and intriguing magic system. I can honestly say that I'd love to see more of this world in the future, whether it's a spin off or companion novel. While I loved getting to know all of the diverse characters who pop right off the page, I became the most attached to Onna who has a great arc. I particularly appreciated her
Feb 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Parallel stories tracing murders in a fantasy world make for a thoughtful but quite slow experience.

Onna is a brilliant mage hoping for entry at a prestigious university only to stumble during the examination process because of prejudice against women learning magic. Facing the ruin of her ambitions, Onna resolves to travel to the far-off city of Hexos where she hopes to continue her studies. But once there she gets involved in an investigation into the gruesome murder of trolls.

Tsira is the hal
Samir Rawas Sarayji
Jan 21, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, fiction
DNF halfway through... what a shame. It started out strong with interesting characters, original magic concept, quirky relationships and an unusual plot for a fantasy book... great. But not for long. We quickly see slips in the writing quality, a lack of consistency with voice, the plot is a MacGuffin, the fantasy takes a backdrop while the romance is forefront, and frankly, it becomes just plain boring.

There are two story threads, the more interesting Onna is about 25% of the novel compared to
Lara Donnelly
May 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mogsy (MMOGC)
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

Unnatural Magic was a solid read that was hard to pin down at times, but once you learn how to go with the flow, the book might end up surprising you in the best way possible. A novel which strives to tackle traditional fantasy in a fresh and unique way, C.M. Waggoner’s debut offers a cleverly transformative tale that explores love, ambition, and the tenacity of spirit in finding acceptance.

Set in a world where humans and
Nov 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You can also read my review here: https://devouringbooks2017.wordpress....

Review: 5 stars

Unnatural Magic is a book I have wanted ever since I first heard of it. A while back I had read Amanda Hocking’s Trylle series and ever since then I have wanted to find more books about trolls. I had high hopes of going into reading this boo, but I had no idea just how much I would love this story. Unnatural Magic was truly a magical read and I can’t explain how enjoyable my reading experience really was.

Jul 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dani ❤️ Perspective of a Writer
DNF @ 4%

Just couldn’t get into it. I have the book so may try again in future.
Dec 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Incredible worldbuilding. Someone is killing trolls and starting skirmishes between humans and trolls who had lived peaceably before. The main characters need to identify the murderer before more trolls are murdered. A brilliant young woman does marvelous wizarding using "parameters" and seeks to learn more, even though she is poor and a female. Gender stereotypes are crossed in a romantic subplot between a seven-foot woman who is half troll, half human and a male human. One of the most imaginat ...more
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
Kaycee Sterling
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 blooms into more
Oooh, I really love this one!
Not only is the unusual love story super sweet and absolutely up my alley, Onna's character development is fingerlicking great. I wasn't into her story at the beginning but as it went on I was soooo intrigued! And when the two plots finally intermingled I was positively eating my fingers in anticipation!
The criminal case of the slaughtered trolls is powerfully written and I really really love Tsira's way of thinking and telling the story. The whole genderless lifesty
Jan 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A thoroughly enjoyable experience underpinned by unique world building, a fresh magic system and well-developed, sassy characters. I admit that I was first drawn to this book by the cover art, but the intricate world within immediately grabbed me and then Onna and Tsira carried the rest from there. One of the strongest parts of the book was the fluid gender dynamics. This was built into the world without seeming forced or gimmicky like it does in some other books with non-binary or gender queer ...more
Jackie ϟ Bookseller
A short review: Other than the human-on-troll sex, I enjoyed this unique novel. A little bit weird, and a very bit witty. How about a combination of a strong female lead, gender-neutral trolls, romance, a murder mystery, and mathematical magic? Unnatural Magic is unnatural fun.
Dec 13, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think the author knows how to write, and she knows the characters she wants to write.

Unfortunately, I do not think she has the imagination to tell a story worth wanting to hear/read.

This was one of the most boring and or saddest reads to round my year out. You have all these interesting characters but the magic is lackluster and the story itself is so bare bones. It's kept alive by this mystery of someone killing Trolls. So you have two sets of characters trying to solve this for their own re
Aug 31, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019-reads
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 most part. Tsir
Katie Montgomery
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 and/or general graduate-level spell nerdery
*a really f
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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??
Tim Hicks
Dec 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Four stars, but also I have to read the next one, if it ever happens.

Tsira's matter-of-fact crudeness makes her stand out. The two-misfits-together was sold well, and almost lets me accept how quickly they bonded.

I particularly liked the way there were prejudices and bigotry, but more realistically than in many F & SF books. A few people are strongly prejudiced, but many of them hold opinions shaped by distorted reporting of a past event. We see people operating at different levels of toleranc
doktor pençe
Dec 19, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
WTH?!? Tsira goes from being referred to using all female pronouns in chapter 4 to suddenly (and with no forewarning) being referred to with all male pronouns in chapter 5. Either this was an epic editing failure, an epic writing failure for not immediately dealing with the extremely jolting change, or both. I read several pages of chapter 5 just to make sure it wasn't just one or two errors but every single pronoun used in reference to Tsira continued to now be male. I went back and forth betwe ...more
Mar 13, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, books-i-own, 2020
I was so looking forward to reading this one, since in theory it was supposed to have all the things I love about novels. Innovative new magic system! Spunky girl fighting against societal norms! Alternative approaches to gender! But alas, the universe is cold and uncaring. I struggled through the first half of the book, mostly thanks to Onna' storyline while the other storyline completely bored me. The second half I just skimmed, since I really couldn't be bothered. ...more
Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, fantasy, lgbtq
I adored it! I know it's stand alone, but I wouldn't mind reading more about Onna and then Jeckram and Tsira, especially the latter two! ...more
Jamie Dacyczyn
*growls in trollish frustration*

This book started out feeling like it was going to be a 4-5 star delight, but lost the plot a bit along the way. I was initially thrilled by this fantasy world. The writing felt smooth and effortless to read, while still containing some whimsy and lovely visuals. The world had a Victorianish feel in that people behave and speak in a rather proper manner, but at the same time both men and women wear skirts in varying lengths (depending on the style) and there is so
Karyn Silverman
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
Brief notes before book club:
Fun characters. Really enjoyed the first third or half, which was great setup.
But as you continue, so much about the book is really uneven, unbalanced, poorly structured. Like:
(view spoiler)
Sam S
This was really excellent. The multiple perspectives added to the story. I loved the gender dynamics in troll society. I loved that magic was based in math!

The rich cultures were a bit difficult to follow on occasion, but that didn't detract from the story.

If you want a magic fantasy story with insightful gender roles, casual LGBTQ relationships, women with ambition, a magical creature other than a fae being superior to humans (yay troll!) while being mostly fast paced, well written and entertai
Dec 03, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: unfinished
I tried so hard to finish this, I really did.

I gave up at 59% in the middle of a chapter. That's how painful this was. I have never given up on a book this late, usually managing to soldier on for dint of my pride and my read books list.

No more. This was fucking awful. There was no plot, no character development, and was populated by the flattest most disagreeable characters I've ever encountered.
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