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The Obsidian Tower

(Rooks and Ruin #1)

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  1,445 ratings  ·  398 reviews
The mage-marked granddaughter of a ruler of Vaskandar, Ryx was destined for power and prestige at the top of Vaskandran society. But her magic is broken; all she can do is uncontrollably drain the life from everything she touches, and Vaskandar has no place for a mage with unusable powers.

Then, one night, two terrible accidents befall her: Ryx accidentally kills a visiting
Paperback, 483 pages
Published June 4th 2020 by Orbit
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Sydney S Bisexual main character, non-binary side character, and lesbian side characters.
Froggiesaurus The Obsidian Tower is a sequel to the entire Swords & Fire trilogy, but it takes place very far in the future so you don't technically HAVE to read it…moreThe Obsidian Tower is a sequel to the entire Swords & Fire trilogy, but it takes place very far in the future so you don't technically HAVE to read it after the fact(less)

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Average rating 3.91  · 
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 ·  1,445 ratings  ·  398 reviews

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Apr 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: net-galley
My thanks to Orbit Fantasy, Melissa Caruso and Netgalley. I flat out loved this book! Heck, I'm as surprised as anyone. I would love to say that I was expecting nothing but awesomeness. That would be a lie. I really did expect some teenage angst, bad romance and a whole lot of suck! No, these people hit me in my heart! I didn't expect it. I am not a fan of the magic system. I absolutely hate the Witch Lord's. I am not a fan of the distribution of power. I did love Ryx. She and her "friends" are ...more
James Tivendale
Jun 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, freecopy
I received an uncorrected proof copy of The Obsidian Tower in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Melissa Caruso and Orbit Books.

"There are two kinds of magic.
There is the kind that lifts you up and fills you with wonder, saving you when all is lost or opening doors to new worlds of possibility. And there is the kind that wrecks you, that shatters you, bitter in your mouth and jagged in your hand, breaking everything you touch.
Mine was the second kind."

It's no secret that I am a huge fan
Mar 03, 2020 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: fans of fantasy politics
Thank you to NetGalley and Orbit Books for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

DNF ~40%.

I tried to read this one and DNF’d around 30%. I felt bad, picked it up to try again, got another 10% of the way through, and decided that this book really isn’t doing it for me right now. I might go back to it once my state’s shelter-in-place order ends, whenever that may be. Maybe I’m just not in the right mood for it.

This is a really tough one to review, because it’s hard to put into
Caruso’s latest fantasy work, “The Obsidian Tower,” is the first book in her new series, entitled Rooks and Ruin. The second book in the series, “Quicksilver Court,” is already planned for a 2021 release. Set in a part of the same universe as Caruso’s award-winning Sword and Fire trilogy, this story is centered in the northlands where small kingdoms are ruled by witch-lords and witch-ladies, all genetically gifted with magical powers and, of course, all at each other’s throats. Although not quit ...more
Brittney ~ Reverie and Ink
I've been a fan of Melissa Caruso's writing since her first series, Swords and Fire (which is easily one of my all time favorites). So naturally, when I had the chance to read an early version of The Obsidian Tower, I jumped.

This book is every bit as well written as her other books, I'm pleased to say. I will note, however, that it's more for fans of political maneuvering and strategy vs. epic fantasy battles (though battles DO happen). The gist of this book lies within conversations and forming
May 27, 2020 rated it it was ok
I've said it before, I say it again I read novels for the purpose of entertainment. And I was not entertained.

First, let me point out that my rating of this book is based entirely on the fact that I was bored while reading. If a book bores me, that's usually a book that gets a low rating from me. I read a lot of fantasy. I read a lot of long books. Slow-paced books don't necessarily bother me, so long as what's on the page is interesting and engaging. I was neither interested nor engaged. I did
Mar 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
So this was a super refreshing read right from the very beginning. You know how lots and lots of fantasy books have some kind of dire warning (“Do Not Open The Forbidden Door”/ “Beware the Stone Circle at Solstice”/“Thou Shalt Not Use Anything Other than Genuine Maple Syrup on Pancakes”) and, well, it’s obvious from the very beginning that whatever was warned against is exactly what’s going to happen at some point? Ever get towards the end of a book and go, “Hmm, not many pages left, and the Sol ...more
Athena (OneReadingNurse)
Jun 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thank you so much to Orbit Books via NetGalley for my e ARC in exchange for an honest review! All opinions are my own!

Normally I would give the summary from Amazon here but I really don’t like the published summary. Here is my own that I wrote!

"Mages rule all powerful in the land of Vaskandar. The most powerful are the witch lords, exercising total control over their domains. As the granddaughter of the witch lord of Morgrain, Ryx would normally be in a position of high power, est
Scarlett Readz and Runz....Through Novel Time & Distance
Melissa Caruso can hold her own with the best writers in the genre. The Obsidian Tower is not only amazingly crafted, but also an improvement over the previous Swords and Fire series in my opinion. The novel starts really strong honing the reader in hook and sinker with the introduction of the main character and her flawed magic abilities and continues with tension and grip without let-up. Within the first three chapters, Caruso swiftly establishes the existence of an ancient magic system, the s ...more
Jun 03, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with a copy in return for an honest review.

I think its best to start this review by saying that a 2 star rating means I thought this book was "okay." Not good, not bad - but overwhelmingly okay.

The Obsidian Tower was a book I went into really wanting to love with it's interesting premise of broken magic and artifact investigation with a bi main character. Unfortunately the execution of these ideas left a lot to be desired.

My first issue was the world buildi
Aug 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was a romp and a half! I became almost immediately immersed in the story which starts off at a quick trot and quickly becomes a gallop. The blend of politics and magic worked splendidly; I loved learning about Ryx and her wonderful home. The characters were so well drawn and the YA themes of deciding who you are, who you want to be, values and the importance of friendship are all very well done. Set aside some time for this because once you start you won’t want to stop until the end!
Rebecca | Velvet Opus
Jun 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: feminist, fantasy
"Nothing must unseal the Door…"

There are two kinds of magic. Exalted Ryxander “Ryx” Morgrain’s magic is the kind that wrecks you, that shatters you, bitter in your mouth and jagged in your hand, breaking everything you touch. She is a royal aethling, mage-marked and unable to touch without killing. She is also the Warden of Gloamingard, which her immortal grandmother, Witch Lord of Morgrain, the Lady of Owls, draws her power from. And she’s been told since she was a child, that nothing must unse
Renaissance Kate
May 21, 2020 marked it as to-finish-later
I've had to set aside a few books over the last month or so... I'm going to blame it on the pandemic, but hopefully this feeling will pass soon! It has nothing at all to do with this book; it's definitely interesting and well-written, I'm just not in the mood for a lot of political intrigue right now. ...more
Jun 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am so late and so sorry about being so late. I had put the release date for this into my calendar as the 24th and thought I still had a few days... then I saw a review pop up for this by someone I know doesn't get ARC's and was like OMGWOT?! 

What's made this even more terrible is that it's my first five-star review in... many months. It's a book that helped me get out of my reading slump. It's an amazing book I should have been yelling about... weeks ago. MEA CULPA

Ok, so, this ticked a lot of
Feb 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020, favorites
Edit: The Obsidian Tower is out now!
Loved this even more than I'd hoped! I simply cannot get enough of this world, magic system, and Caruso's brilliantly developed characters.

Find this review at Forever Lost in Literature!

I've been sitting on this review for honestly probably a couple months now because I wanted to post it as close to release date as possible so that I can gush about and praise Caruso's work right on time for it to release.

The Obsidian Tower is a new trilogy that takes place in
Christi M
May 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, netgalley
Can things be any more chaotic for Ryx as she attempts to negotiate peace between two lands, de-escalate a Shrike Lord’s desire for vengeance, learn how to bring her own broken magic under control, and deal with the aftermath of unexpected guests, all the while trying to identify what danger a secret artifact possesses and identify a solution to fix it without anyone finding out and starting all-out war? That’s not to mention what I am intentionally leaving out of this list just to keep from spo ...more
Alena Reading
I thought this book was going to be epic fantasy but it turned out to be a boring drawn out fictional political discussion with a little bit of magic. There's some action at the very beginning and end but 80% of the plot is essentially about the same people meeting in the same rooms of the same castle and having the same talks over and over again. Nothing happens, nothing gets resolved, the dialogues are basically copy-pasted and never change.

It's marketed as adult but reads very YA to me. The p
“There are two kinds of magic. There is the kind that lifts you up and fills you with wonder, saving you when all is lost or opening doors to new worlds of possibility. And there is the kind that wrecks you, that shatters you, bitter in your mouth and jagged in your hand, breaking everything you touch. Mine was the second kind.”

The Obsidian Tower has one of the most subtly clever plots I’ve ever read in a book! I know I’ve said tons of times that I adore books that have political or court in
Adah Udechukwu
Jun 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved the Obsidian Tower. It was a fun read.
Apr 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Well-crafted plot with a wide cast of characters, yet it was also a bit frustrating at certain times when you wanted to throttle these people and kick decorum to the curb.

It has the vibe of a whodunit mystery set inside a haunted house full of nervous politicians, witch magic, hot and steamy tension, and crazy relatives. If I had a nickel...

Caruso’s writing style leans a little too heavily on spelling everything out for you, but there’s quite a bit to keep track of, so that evens things out.

I d
Mar 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy

Melissa Caruso has done it again!

In The Obsidian Tower she introduces us to a brand new cast of characters, including our new main character Ryxander—our clever, heartful vivomancer with broken magic. Caruso brings her skills with political intrigue, mystery, and the ever constant escalating tension as we race through this twisty plot as we find out just why Ryx must guard the tower—and ensure that nothing unseals the door.
Jun 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Not going to lie. I laughed when I first got this ARC. Mostly because it was way after it's publishing date. Then I freaked out because HOLY CRAP, I just got The Obsidian Tower!! So, yeah.. geeked out and then dove into it.

This book took me a while to get into. No, it wasn't due to slow pacing or anything. No, I didn't feel like information was constantly being dumped on me. YES, work was slowly eating me alive and I was ma
Sydney S
3.5 stars. Full review to come closer to the date of publication.

It's finally time to post my review! Great start to a series. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t this. If I had read Caruso’s other series based in the same world, maybe I would have been able to better predict things, but I’m glad I could be surprised by the direction the story took. I don’t know how to talk about the things that surprised me without spoiling the plot, but I’ll sa
Julie - One Book More
Mar 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, ya, netgalley
The Obsidian Tower is the first book in Melissa Caruso’s Rooks and Ruin series. The story is set in the same universe as Caruso’s Sword and Fire series. However, you don’t need to read that series to become fully immersed in this series.

The story focuses on Ryx, a royal-born with magical powers. Unfortunately for her, her magic doesn’t work in the effective, life-giving way that the rest of her family’s does. Her magic and her touch harms. Because of this, she is a pariah in her own kingdom, fea
Tara (Spinatale Reviews)
May 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Melissa Caruso’s Swords & Fire trilogy is one of my all-time favorite series. So when I heard we were getting another series set in the same world, I was equally excited and nervous. I’d loved the first series so much and didn’t know if this one could compare.

And it doesn’t! But that’s okay because The Obsidian Tower is just as fantastic in an entirely different way. At first, I found myself constantly trying to compare the series, looking for the Easter egg references that I knew had to be hid
Laura (crofteereader)
May 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
4.25 stars (which is very unusual for me, but I really want to stress that this is higher caliber than my usual 4 but I wouldn't go so far as to say it could be rounded up to a 5).

Normally, I say I want a hungry protagonist. Ryx isn't hungry, she's starved: for attention, affection, touch, praise, positive feeling. She's a curse upon her own land, with a twisted, broken strain of life-magic that unravels and kills anything she touches. Including but not limited to people. With an ominous family
Jul 25, 2020 rated it it was ok
On the surface, the Obsidian Tower is my kind of book. As an avid fantasy reader, anything described as epic fantasy generally captures my attention. Even the opening lines of the first chapter captured me:

"There are two kinds of magic.
There is the kind that lifts you up and fills you with wonder, saving you when all is lost or opening doors to new worlds of possibility. And there is the kind that wrecks you, that shatters you, bitter in your mouth and jagged in your hand, breaking everything y
Mar 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs, fantasy, 2020-reads
A fun, action packed read that manages to balance mythology and magic while showing that sometimes the greatest strength lies between the bonds you share with friends.

“The Obsidian Tower” follows Ryx as she manages her life under her grandmothers eye while limiting her contact with those who may make the fatal mistake of getting too close as her magic is flawed and can kill with a single touch. When peace talks bring other political alliances to the castle she finds that some are looking too cl
Lynn Williams
Jun 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
4 of 5 stars
My TL:DR Five Word Review : Dark Tower Keeps Darker Secret

The Obsidian Tower is a book that really surprised me. To begin with, I cannot deny, that this wasn’t working it’s magic and I had to stop reading about 25% in – to be honest though I think my own personal mood at the time was having an effect on my reading and making it difficult to concentrate. I left this to one side for a couple of weeks and then gave it another shot and I’m so pleas
Jul 16, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ok, real time... Ugh, this review is hard to write, I'm not actually finished this book but I also really wanted to write this review because feelings. I have a lot of them and it's complicated but also I just really don't want to finish it anytime soon, which I think is also valid? However, I also really don't want to not finish it either? sooooooo complicated.

The Obsidian Tower is well written and well thought out and feels quite intentional. I love almost everything, and I love reading it but
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Melissa Caruso is the author of THE TETHERED MAGE, first in the Swords and Fire trilogy, out now from Orbit books.

Other books in the series

Rooks and Ruin (2 books)
  • The Quicksilver Court (Rooks and Ruin, #2)

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