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The Sigil: A Novel - Part I

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  46 ratings  ·  41 reviews

The Descent Meets The Magicians.

Disclaimer: This novel is being re-edited currently so this is not the FINAL version! I'm working on making this the best novel it possibly can be!

A tragic death.
A dangerous obsession.
A desperate mission.

Lake’s brother Devlin was murdered right in front of him. Simply because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Why, then, does
Kindle Edition, 385 pages
Published January 27th 2020
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Average rating 3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  46 ratings  ·  41 reviews

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Miranda Reads

Just finished my 2020 Book-Year in Review BookTube Video - Click the link to see my recs!
The Written Review

New month, New Booktube Reading Vlog - tier-listing all the books read in July!
The Written Review

I must have missed something. Something important.
Lake Smithson had a charmed life. The keyword being "had".

Everything changed with a robber killed his brother, plunging him into an increasingly uncertain world.
Magic. He said magic. Holy crap. I'm Harry Potter.
Lake f
Feb 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
This Review ✍️ Blog 📖 Twitter 🐦 Instagram 📷

Actual Rating: 3.75 stars

“I know it’s probably selfish and corny and dumb, but I started praying that I’d just be happy.

I was provided an e-copy of the book in exchange of an honest review. This of course, does not change my review in any way. You also know that I don’t read much YA these days but I was excited for this book because it is an LGBT book written by an own voice male author and you know the YA genre does not have many YA male a
Stacy Fetters
Feb 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
"And I know this world is complicated and hard and crazy, and that sometimes you feel you don’t belong. Hell, sometimes I feel like I don’t belong. But I want you here. Because you make me happy again.”

Sabriel meets The Descent in this high urban fantasy that you won’t ever forget.

A tragic death.
A dangerous obsession.
A desperate mission.

This is the diverse, own-voices fantasy novel that I have been waiting for. A lot of ones being released lose my interest quickly and I end up leaving them be
Feb 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, lgbtqiap, 4-stars
"This is me now, and I will not let anyone walk all over me anymore."

The Sigil is the debut novel of a Own Voices author, Shakeil Kanish, co-writed with Larissa Mandeville. This is the book this gay man of color probably wished he could have read, with a male main character he could relate to, and that he wrote for himself and so others readers could have this hero in their life. There are so many LGBT+ books being released now, however myself and plenty of others readers wish for more Own Voice
"“I know it’s probably selfish and corny and dumb, but I started praying that I’d just be happy.”

"And I know this world is complicated and hard and crazy, and that sometimes you feel you dont belong. Hell, sometimes I feel like I dont belong. But I want you here. Because you make me happy again."

Many thanks to the author, Shakeil Kanish, for giving me an ARC in exchange for a honest review!

3.5 Stars. The Sigil: A Novel, albeit while having a rough start, is a promising debut novel from a n
Rebecca Crunden
Feb 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, lgbt-fiction
Everything that happened led you to this place [...] and a boy who lost his voice and didn’t care if he’d ever get it back now wishes every day that he could just open his mouth and tell you all of this.

I really enjoyed this début novel from Shakeil Kanish and Larissa Mandeville! The main characters of Lake and Nova are great, and the bro angst really brought the FEELS. Brotherly love is something I adore in books, so of course this one tugged at my heart. ;_;

I want him to choose what he wants t
Shakeil Kanish
Feb 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
This is my novel and I just wanted to tell everyone who has this on their list of things to read I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did! Growing up a gay colored kid I never really had a lot of heroes in novels that I could look up to so I wanted to make one. I want kids of all shapes and sizes and sexuality all around the world to be able to look at my novel and see it doesn't matter who you are or if you have powers or magic you can still be a hero. Just by being yourself! :) ...more
Dec 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 7-8-and-9
Thanks to the author for providing a ecopy of The Sigil in exchange for an honest review.

The Sigil follows Lake after the murder of his brother spurs him to look further into his life only to discover that his brother was offered a space at a magical school. Originally going in his brother's place, Lake works his way into a new school and hidden world.

I liked how casual this book was with Lake being gay since while YA is getting better at including queer characters, it normally focuses only on
Meg loves to read
Dec 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
I have often daydreamed what it would be like to go to Hogwarts for a Year - or even just for a day! As a muggle myself, I wonder if I could fit in with a school of wizards and witches.

Well, if you ever have wondered the same thing, then this book is for you. "The Sigil" by Kanish and Mandeville have taken my childhood daydreams and turned them into reality!

After Lake witnesses the violent death of his older brother Dev at the local gas station, Lake finds his ordinary world crumbling before hi
Rogan Shannon
Thanks to NetGalley for providing this copy to review.

Representation: gay black boy MC, black girl MC

Lake Smithson is in a rut, trying to get into colleges and being declined from all of them. He experiences a great tragedy, and starts to spiral until he stumbles across an odd letter. With this, he discovers there's a whole hidden magical world that humans aren't allowed to be a part of. Of course, Lake fights this because he feels like he's finally found a place where he could belong. There's m
Feb 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading this dark, urban fantasy. But there were some issues I had with the story. First I thought the first person narrative didn't work because there were dual first POV, Lake and Nova, and it threw me off when the first 25% of the book was all Lake's POV, then it switched to Nova's. I thought the sudden switch of POV disrupted the flow of the story. I think it would have worked better as a third person narrative because of the sudden shift.
*Spoilers* I'll try not to reveal too much
Tabatha Shipley
Dec 21, 2020 rated it liked it
What I Did Like:
-Lake. He’s a solid character with a lot of heart who has an interesting backstory. I like learning more about him and I like the way his story plays out. Great character!
-Action scenes. They’re intense, they’re well written, and they are easy to follow. They move at a good pace and give you a clear picture of what is happening.
-Magic. I always enjoy reading stories about Magic and this one was no different. I liked the background involved in this world and the originality of th
Paula (lovebookscl)
Mar 12, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2-stars
(English / Español)
Thank you Netgalley for the ARC

In a Nutshell: Boy discovers his brother's biggest secret

MC: Lake (clueless and living la vida loca without magic)

Plot: After tragically losing his brother, Lake finds himself lost in his life. But a strange letter in his brother's room leads him to discover a secret world difficult to imagine that exists.

My Opinion: The first chapters were very good, they have a dark and sad theme going on. And that immediately captivated me, the trauma of losin
Mar 19, 2020 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 13, 2020 rated it liked it
The Sigil is a dark New Adult Fantasy that hit me in the feels early on, and didn’t let go until the very end, with a gripping plot, intriguing characters that I was able to cling onto, and an interesting, if not very dark, magic system and world. The pacing was quick most of the time, but I wish it was a bit more consistent and things were made clearer.

I did enjoy having both Lake and Nova’s PoV in the book (as well as the artwork of the characters to indicate a PoV switch), both having unique
Dec 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, lgbt, arcs
This book was received from the author in exchange for an honest review - This is an advanced copy of the rewrite out in March.

One major thing I noticed throughout this book that kind of caught my eye were a few teeny tiny typoes (mostly shifting point of view to first person by accident) and I can let those go because this is an advanced reading copy, but I just wanted to make note of it just in case it passes to the final version. On that note, let's get into it!

This book hooked me from the be
Paige Green
Jul 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Disclaimer: I received this ebook from the author. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: The Sigil

Author: Shakeil Kanish and Larissa Mandeville

Book Series: The Sigil Book 1

Rating: 4.5/5

Diversity: gay Black main charcter

Recommended For...: LGBT, fantasy, urban fantasy, magic

Publication Date: January 27, 2020

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Recommended Age: 16+ (slight violence, slight gore)

Publisher: Indie Published

Pages: 385

Synopsis: Shakeil Kanish and Larissa Mandeville hit the ground running with The Sigil
Mar 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"Holy sh-" indeed.
I need the second book right now!
On another note: I really like the book!
Both main ptotagonists are so different but it fit right into the book and the story (Can we speak about the character art? I loved it! So beautiful drawn!) Nova's no shit attitude really spoke to me. Also the main characters are diverse (mute, poc, gay, adopted, plus size) and it's really good to read.
At first I head a difficult time to get into the story and get to know Lake, because it seemed like all y
Dec 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
*Please note: This book was still a work in progress at the time of writing this review*

In a time when the world is crying out for more inclusive fiction, "The Sigil" takes the lead by portraying characters (who are too often disrespected in real life) in a way that clearly says "Hey! We're just normal people" in a setting that is anything but normal (except in fiction!). The story is brilliant, and gained lots of smiles, a few tears, and a couple of utterances of "uh oh" from me. The writing is
Jacob Rundle
Mar 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I received an e-copy of this novel from Netgalley for a true and honest review. I rate it 5/5. Why do you ask? Well, buckle up...because I'm going to tell you. So, any good story has 3 components: Character/goal, conflict, and stakes, and I feel that Shakeil and Larissa did a fantastic job. The characters were so realistic and relatable. I love seeing a novel with a LGBTQIA+ main character. There were so many ups and downs that the novel held my attention. I WANTED to read the story. I feel that ...more
Amanda Sagen
Apr 06, 2020 rated it liked it
I requested a review copy of this book and here's my honest review.

This was a bit of a slow starter for me and took a bit to really get into it.
I can't quite pinpoint exactly what Lake (m.c) wants other than to get into the magic school, which made it difficult to work out the plot for me.
Overall, it was an ok story, though I'm not sure I will read anymore of the series.
Aug 10, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: lgbtq
An ordinary boy who wants to be extraordinary.

The debut novel by Shakeil Kanish and Larissa Mandeville is set in our world where magic is just around the corner. Our protagonist, Lake Smithson, longs to be someone in this world. He finds himself at a school of magic, and does everything in his power to belong there.

I had some problems with the pace of the book. In my opinion, it could do with a bit more conflict in the beginning. The last part was stronger.

According to Amazon, this book is bein
Nancy (The Avid Reader)
The Sigil drew me in from the beginning as I watched Lake watch his brother Devlin die right before his eyes. I was in tears, tears were streaming down my face, I mean I couldn’t see the words on the page. The Sigil was so vividly written I could see it all playing out in my head and I could feel what the characters were feeling.

It was like I could see Lake ducking down behind a small freezer peeping over the top and watching as his brother dealt with the robber. I felt as if maybe Devlin could
Halo Scot
Mar 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read this in a day, and I’m a super picky reader with book commitment problems. THAT’S how great THE SIGIL by Shakeil Kanish (@kanish_shakeil) and Larissa Mandeville is. There’s the same addictive energy as The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, and The Magicians. Fans of these series will obsess over this book.

You’ll immediately fall in love with this LGBTQ dark fantasy. The plot is action-packed and blood-soaked with perfect pacing and epic concepts. This book has everything — a school for mages, a
Sarah Coleman
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was a very interesting read with a very enjoyable gay protagonist. I found myself reading it all in a day and really enjoyed myself. The concept behind this is original and I loved every word. Will definitely be looking forward to the second part.

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review
Apr 22, 2020 rated it liked it
I feel bad for rating this book when in the front of the arc it's made very clear that this is still a work in progress being edited, because it does feel very unfinished at this stage.

It's not terrible by any means, but the way the novel is written right now feels very messy. Emotional beats don't land like they should, and it's difficult to really build an attachment to the characters because currently they're more of a collection of reactions to things that happen to them, rather than feeling
Editing Services by Cynthia Shepp
I received this book from NetGalley, but the opinions are all my own. Wow... what a unique story! I had no idea going in what I was getting into as the blurb was vague, but I'm so glad I gave it a chance. Lake and Nova were great main characters, definitely not mainstream, which I really appreciated. The magic theme with friendship and betrayal gave it an overall fantasy feel while it still felt modern and relatable. I believe it is a story the average person can say, "Hey, that could be me," an ...more
Aug 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This has definitely been one of my favorite new books to read in awhile. This is a different take on the world of magic from characters that aren't seen in media much. Shakeil does an amazing job with family dynamics, creating new friendships, dealing with hard times, all from 2 very interesting perspectives, & an ending that will..... Well you will see.

The book came in great condition with no visible damage. Great cover art. Cover & pages feel of good quality. For the price it is beyond worth i
Lauren McCarty
Aug 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“I loved him with every ounce of my being! Didn’t you read it in the journal? I did everything I could to help him. I wanted to give him the closure he needed. When he died, I wanted to die…”

This whimsical LGBTQ fantasy novel will captivate you from start to finish. It encompasses a variety of genres; easy to read and addicting to follow. Sci-fi? Check. Romance? Check. Fantasy, thriller, action? Check, check, check. No matter your preference, The Sigil will leave you wanting more.
Hannah Brogdon
Aug 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I’ve read in a while. From beginning to end it kept me engaged to by the time I finished it I was ready for a sequel!! Definitely recommend to anyone who just loves great characters, story, action, happiness, sadness, joy all the emotions! Haha
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Shakeil Kanish loves to write, which, considering you’re holding this book, makes perfect sense. The Sigil is his debut novel and he’s super excited about being an openly gay author and getting the chance to write about an openly gay protagonist. He feels it’s something sorely missing from the writing world, and he wants underrepresented kids everywhere to be able to root for a new type of hero. H ...more

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