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A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians

(The Shadow Histories #1)

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  2,792 ratings  ·  647 reviews
A sweeping tale of revolution and wonder in a world not quite like our own, A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians is a genre-defying story of magic, war, and the struggle for freedom in the early modern world.

It is the Age of Enlightenment -- of new and magical political movements, from the necromancer Robespierre calling for revolution in France to the weather mage Tou
Hardcover, 531 pages
Published June 23rd 2020 by Redhook
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H.G. Parry Thanks for asking! Yes, it's a duology. The second book is scheduled for release next year (2021). …moreThanks for asking! Yes, it's a duology. The second book is scheduled for release next year (2021). (less)
H.G. Parry No, it hasn't! The release date here is still correct.…moreNo, it hasn't! The release date here is still correct.(less)

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Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

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DNF @ p. 184

I had a really tough time reading this book because on the one hand, I wanted to enjoy a dark historical fantasy. In this world, set in the late 18th century, the wealthy aristocracy use magical bracelets to keep the poor from using their magic. Likewise, the slaves who work in plantations are force-fed magical concoctions that turn them into zombies and eradicate their magic, too.

Some people have started to think this is wr
Alix Harrow
Apr 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Sprawling, rich, indulgent, epic, profoundly political, delightfully magical--if you've ever wanted a magic-infused retelling of late 18th century Atlantic politics, this is your book. I just adore a historical novel that takes history seriously, as more than mere aesthetic, and this book takes the political and moral upheavals of the era with gravity and attention. I loved it. ...more
Apr 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Amazon | Waterstones

Thank you NetGalley and Redhook for this ARC. All thoughts and opinions are mine.

Symbols had power
only as long as people gave it to them.

I've read my share of Historical Fiction novels and those in the Fantasy genre, but it's not often that I read a story that merges both. There's something hallucinatory about mixing the two, especially when one has grown up hearing and learning so much about a specific group of people—such as the aristocracy
Heidi The Reader
In a world where magic is real and controlled by government authorities, H.G. Parry re-imagines true historical events and people, inviting readers to add an additional layer of conspiracy to movements that changed the course of history like the French Revolution or the slave rebellion in the Caribbean.

The premise didn't work for me for a couple reasons.

I felt like this book minimized the atrocities that were committed during the era. The slave trade and the French Revolution's cost in both huma
Aug 16, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed, netgalley
“For a second, the shadow remained still, and the world around them held its breath. Then, with a shriek that faded into a sudden rush of wind, it dispersed into vapor and blew away into nothing.”

I read the author’s first book “The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heap” and I thought that it was charming and witty. Unfortunately, those qualities were missing from this book which is set in England, France and Haiti. It is based on the French Revolution and the Haitian slave revolt - but with magic and va
Oct 07, 2020 rated it liked it
DNF - 50%. An earnest, painstakingly researched, blow-by-blow alternate history of The French Revolution and associated events. Magic fuels the primary events detailed within its pages, including a magic serum that allows slave owners to control their slaves, a peasant class denied the ability to use its magic, a prime minister with a dark family secret. It sounds like it should be awesome, yet it never aroused in me anything beyond a mild curiosity at first, progressing into mild impatience. Th ...more

2020 resolution: do not finish books that are boring me to tears! Because, god, this is boring as hell. And it shouldn’t have been because I’m the perfect audience for this. I majored in political science, took several classes on political philosophy/18th century revolutions, and am extremely interested in this era of history.

And yet. So boring. Not enough magic, weird narration/POV shifts, lack of investment to any of the characters after a long time... time to call it quits, I think.

Jul 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received an eARC of this book from the publisher (Orbit/Redhook) and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians is a truly brilliant example of alternative history. Parry managed to stay completely faithful to the persons and events that make up the true history of this time period while deftly adding in the existence of magic and exemplifying how that existence might have impacted the French Revolution and the British fight to abolish the slave trade.
Jun 24, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, netgalley, arc
Full disclosure: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

In this alternate universe, set around the era of the French Revolution, magic is a genetic trait which only the nobility is permitted to exercise, and only if their strain of magic is not classified as dark magic, such as vampirism or necromancy. The Knights Templar act as an international religious judiciary which registers all magic users, polices the use of magic, and even imprisons or execut
Bethany (Beautifully Bookish Bethany)
A great pick for history buffs who like a little magic with their history. A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians reimagines the late 1700's in three locations in a world where magic exists and is used as a tool of oppression. Told from the perspectives of real historical figures such as William Wilburforce and Robespierre, we get the French Revolution, the English government fighting about whether to abolish slavery, and the slave rebellions of Haiti.

In this world magic is disallowed for com
Jenny Baker
Oct 04, 2020 marked it as did-not-finish
Shelves: 2020, fantasy, historical
I don’t like DNF’ing a book, especially when I’m hyped up going into it. As much as I love the story synopsis, the writing style doesn’t work for me. It’s written in a dry, passive voice with a POV that keeps the reader at arm’s length. It was difficult for me to connect with the characters and the story, because it felt like the story was written about the characters rather than as the characters.

I love fantasy, but I typically don’t read a lot of historical fiction, so maybe that’s pa
Kelsea Yu
Jun 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
WHOA! This book was... breathtaking. In scope, in storytelling, in characters and perspectives and emotions and political machinations.

I seem to have read this at just the right and the wrong time, simultaneously. The wrong time, because this story requires an intense amount of concentration, and thanks to the current state of the world, my reading attention span has been SHORT. But also the right time, because this book is basically historical fantasy about abolition in Europe & the Caribbean.
Jul 17, 2020 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book, but I found it so slow that I just didn't finish it.

Yeah, I hate doing that and I actually think the kind of slow burn of this book will completely appeal to others, but it just wasn't for me.

I did like the atmosphere of the book very much. But the plot was plodding and the characters never engaged me.

This may be one of those 'it's not you, it's me' kind of books. Hope you have a better experience with it!
The Nerd Daily
Jun 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Anuska G

As a historical fantasy enthusiast, A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians is everything I could ask for and more from a magic-imbued reimagining of the interrelated histories of the French Revolution, the Haitian Revolution, and the abolition of the slave trade in the British Empire!

A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians presents an alternate version of the late eighteenth century world, a world with magic in it. The story travels b
Para (wanderer)
Man, that was the perfect book at the perfect time. It's pretty much a straight retelling of the French revolution except with magic (seriously, if you know history, you know roughly what will happen) and since I'm currently rather taken with the time period, this was exactly what I wanted. My one complaint would be that the pacing could be excruciatingly slow at points.

Unfortunately, no full review because I didn't know enough at the time to be able to judge historical accuracy (now, the most I
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
Just too many narrators.
Jun 25, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

This book was extremely frustrating.

Because it had the potential to be a good book, but it never got anywhere near that.

It reads as if the author published her first or second draft without bothering with much rewriting. The book has a half baked feel to it.

How does an author take a possibly interesting story with intriguing historical characters and ruin it? Turn it into a (mostly) boring slog with some interesting moments?

Because said auth
Jun 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
1. I need the sequel.
2. Perfect historical fantasy.
3. A true successor of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell ( no footnotes though ).
4. I am hoping to meet Napoleon Bonaparte in the next book.
5. Read this book only if you like History or Politics .
6. This book is a mytholization of real history and depicts the Abolitionist movements and the French Revolution with a magical twist.
7. A sequel is definitely coming.
8. Ughhh Robespierre .
9. Full of humour and occasional darkness.

* I received an e-arc
On my blog.

Rep: Black characters

CWs: graphic descriptions of slavery, gore, murder

Galley provided by publisher

This book, for me, was approximately 500 pages of boredom. I say 500, because for the first 50 or so pages, I thought I might be interested in it. I was quickly disillusioned, and then dragged myself through the rest of the book, in the vain hope that something might actually happen.

Spoiler alert: it did not.

A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians is an almost exact retelling of his
Christi M
May 23, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley, fantasy
Blending real historical moments with fantasy and magical realism, H.G. Parry creates a story spanning the abolitionist movement through French Revolution set in the late 18th century. Taking historical facts and altering them just enough to fit inside a world where the governance of magic is established by laws and where men such as William Pitt argue on behalf of the commoners who should have more rights and freedom in regards to magic use.

The breadth and scope of the what the author is undert
Demelda Penkitty
Jul 14, 2021 rated it really liked it
It is the Age of Enlightenment -- of new and magical political movements, from the necromancer Robespierre calling for revolution in France to the weather mage Toussaint L'Ouverture leading the slaves of Haiti in their fight for freedom, to the bold new Prime Minister William Pitt weighing the legalization of magic amongst commoners in Britain and abolition throughout its colonies overseas.

But amidst all of the upheaval of the enlightened world, there is an unknown force inciting all of human ci
"A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians" is an incredibly clever and bold approach to the fantasy genre. It's an alternate history of the late eighteenth century, the time of the French Revolution's madness and excesses. Shuttling between London, Paris, and Haiti, it's a world filled with magic. In France and England, magic is suppressed by law. The Knights of Templar regulate magicians. Only aristocrats can use it. In France, its use is limited by bracelets. In Haiti, the enslaved drink a pot ...more
Aug 11, 2020 added it
Dnf'ed @ pg 306

This has been a love at first sight turned boring book. I loved the summary and the first 300 pages. Then I felt like the story keep stalling, that it took lots of things into consideration: politics, real story, slave abolotion, the fall of the monarchy in france, britan answer to that and to the abolition of the slave trade... but the main problem was that there was too much of everything and I was missing more ejecution, more action.
I didn't mind at the beginning because, hones
Jun 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020, arc
From the first one, I was absolutely enthralled with this book. Historical Fantasy’s not my usual genre, but this one gripped me in a way few books do. Between the complexity and nuances of all the lead characters and the way the author was able to so seamlessly integrate magic into our own world, and account for how society reacts to magic, I absolutely fell in love.

A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians hits a point for me few books seem to manage, which is to so thoroughly integrate magic i
Imagine all the political turmoil of the Age of Enlightenment: the abolitionist movement, male suffrage, the French Revolution. Now add magic.

This is an intense but wonderful novel that kept me hooked almost from the start. The plot follows three storylines: William Pitt and William Wilberforce in England striving to end slavery; Maximilien Robespierre in France preaching freedom from the tyranny of the French king; and Fina, a slave in the Bahamas determined to escape and fight. Oh, and did I
2.5 stars

I expected this to be so much better than it actually was. My biggest complaint is that it was boring. It didn't make me mad, it didn't make me sad, it didn't make me glad. It didn't really inspire any emotions in me, which is pretty unfortunate. On paper, it sounded pretty good. The time period of the French Revolution, the issue of slavery in Britain as well as in the US and France, and well-known public figures of the time, like Robespierre all sounded great. Thrown on top of that we
I am a simple creature. If a novel has Robespierre as a character, then I will read it. Thus I picked A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians up at random in the library, saw his name in the blurb, and borrowed it. The plot centres upon the French and Haitian revolutions, with magic. An enticing prospect, I must say. Although I quite enjoyed it, I found it couldn't live up to the expectations raised by that prospect. I liked the chapters set in the midst of the French and Haitian Revolutions mo ...more
Jul 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-pod
Do you like history? Do you like fantasy? Do you love when authors mix them both? Then this is a perfect book for you. In this AU, magic exists and is highly correlated with the social class system in Europe. When commoner magicians revolt against the bonds keeping them from fully utilizing their magic, it sparks the French Revolution, the Haitian slave uprising, and more.

With viewpoint characters in the "great men" of the era (Maximilien Robespierre, William Pitt, William Wilberforce) but also
Apr 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, 2020
H.G. Parry's A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians is nothing less than epic. On the one hand, it is a fantasy novel, full of magic—much of it dangerous magic. On the other hand it is firmly grounded in global history at the time of the French Revolution. The presentation of figures that are simultaneously fictive and historical is nimbly handled, and these characters are depicted with a fullness that lets readers share their concerns and obsessions. And, in general, the fact that almost all ...more
Apr 23, 2021 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
This book was so boring that I've been avoiding it like hell for the past three weeks, ensconcing myself deep into the fanfiction mines of AO3 just so I can feel something that's close to happiness again. It was only when, one morning at 2 AM in a delirium, I seriously considered watching My Hero Academia so I could have new depths of fanfiction to plunder that I realized that I truly was in a bad place, and that I needed to call it. That's how close I got. This bastard almost made me watch My H ...more
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H.G. Parry lives in a book-infested flat in Wellington, New Zealand, which she shares with her sister and two overactive rabbits. She holds a PhD in English Literature from Victoria University of Wellington, and teaches English, Film, and Media Studies. Her short fiction has appeared in Intergalactic Medicine Show, Daily Science Fiction, and small press anthologies. The Unlikely Escape of Uriah He ...more

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The Shadow Histories (2 books)
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