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Ruled by Magic

(Ruled by Magic)

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  392 ratings  ·  104 reviews
To earn my freedom, I must submit.

I’m facing years in prison. My crime? Exposing the sordid secrets of Dexia’s magical elite. In my oppressive territory, mages hold all the power, magical tech is outlawed, and sexuality is repressed.

At my sentencing I expect a bored judge, but instead I get a crowd, reporters, and a handsome mage everyone seems to fear. He makes me kneel a
Kindle Edition, 347 pages
Published January 31st 2022
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Average rating 3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  392 ratings  ·  104 reviews

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Namera [The Literary Invertebrate]
I REALLY wanted to like this one.

The writing style, technically, is good, and it flows pretty well. The setup grabs your attention from the start: Liv is an anti-government agitator arrested for bringing humiliation to the upper classes, and she chooses to be the Lord Commander Leo's consort for six months rather than spend years in prison. This should be a recipe for delicious dub-con, right?

Wrong. Or at least, sort of wrong.

❌ Plot-wise, this is like two different books mashed into one. The f
CourtRocks (Villains Do It Better)
2.75 Stars

Not bad. Pretty good writing for a debut book. The flow and consistency could have been a bit better though. The hero's personality changed too much and sometimes he acted way younger than his age. Also besides falling in love with each other, there wasn't that much development between the two.

This is my personal preference, but it made it hard to like the book because there was so much of it, but there is a lot of public humiliation in it and he likes it too. Maybe it would be easier
Dakotah Gumm
Oct 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is going to be the hottest read of 2022.

A dark fantasy romance about a rebel journalist and the mage who finally captures her, this story is everything you never knew you needed. Deadly threats, scorching heat, and a hefty dose of kink, all wrapped up in a thrilling world of magic and technology. It keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole way through.
Jun 01, 2022 rated it did not like it
I was kind of disappointed with the book, as there was little plot development and I have to give it a 1 star.
1/5 Will not read it again
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Feb 04, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Original, creative, dark and captivating

I would not have believed that this is the author’s debut novel. Just what a debut. Original, creative, dark and captivating.

The author created a complex and yet easy to understand world. Not just one area and a few characters but a nation with multiple territories and different customs, behaviors and people. For something that should be complex the author does a great job describing everything in an interesting and memorable way.

I did like the romance and
Kristin Lindes
Jan 20, 2022 rated it really liked it
What a fabulous world! If you're looking for a magical world where our FMC is slightly experienced but wholly out of her depth, this is the book for you. I normally mostly read RH but this one kept me hooked until the final chapter. Mystery, betrayal, hidden bloodlines and fun s€xy times are only a glimpse of what awaits you in this story. Teleport yourself into this new world 😍

*ARC Copy*
Jan 21, 2022 rated it it was amazing
I find it very hard to belive that this is Zara J. Black's debut novel. It's exceptionally well written, the plot is engaging and the romance is scorching hot. The world building is very well done as well. Ms. Black created a magical world with it's own class system where the mages lord over the non magic users. Liv is a non-mage school teacher who tries to expose the corrupt government and gets in the crosshairs of the new Lord Commander who forces her to strike a bargain in order to avoid a lo ...more
Noa Luk- zilberman
Jan 20, 2022 rated it really liked it
This book contains adult dark themes such as BDSM that is arguably consensual, torture, rapey vibes, graphic scenes and I DO NOT recommend it if you are underage or triggered by those.


Let me start by saying that I wasn't prepared for such an angsty, hot, and addicting story. In fact, I felt it became a little too much drama for me towards the end. However, I couldn't put the book down and practically inhaled it.

Where this story really shined
Taryn Moreau
I started this book right before bed, and that was a mistake. The premise for this dark fantasy romance is killer and it pulls you right into the unique world of mage aristocracy and magi-tech from page one.

While the worldbuilding and writing were excellent, Zara J. Black deserves special credit for crafting an excellent cast of characters. In quite a few romance books I've read, just about everyone except the main couple feels expendable and paper-thin. Not this one. I genuinely liked pretty mu
abbey willcox
Jan 21, 2022 rated it really liked it
I devoured this book, I'm not kidding when I say it hooks you from the start 🙌🏻 this is always a plus for me, I love it when we get to dive straight in!! This is 100% a DARK fantasy. Like seriously, our main girl loves herself some pretty dark/kinky shit. Am I judging? Hell no. Livet and Leo go on one hell of a ride in this book. Do they fall in love at first sight? Perhaps in their own very twisted way 😅🤣... Liv has a choice to make, 15 years in prison or submit to the lord commander and become ...more
Brittany Caraballo
Jan 29, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
So, you know when you read a bunch of books, and you get really good at predicting plot? Well. Not here. I thought the book was going to center around the event that happens in the first 2 chapters. BUT NO. It gets SO MUCH BETTER. The forced proximity trope is present, but not for nearly as long as I expected. After the story took a turn, it really ramped up the action and morphed into this fantasy-politics swirl of amazingness. (making up words, yes I know...)

My absolutely favorite part of thi
Dawn B
Feb 06, 2022 rated it it was amazing
This book was fantastic. So much so that I couldn't believe it was a first book from the author.
You have a man who wants revenge and to humiliate a woman who made a mistake. What he didn't expect was for her to submit so beautifully that he fell in love with her.

Some people would consider this dark because the scenes aren't vanilla but I don't agree. Was he mean at times? Yeah, but he had his reasons which were valid. It was just a terrible thing that happened but she paid for her part in the wh
Brianna Everly
Jan 28, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Hot, dominant mages? A bit of dark mixed in with the sweet? A well-thought-out plot? Kinky fun? Magic as a sex toy? Um, yes!

This book has everything I didn't know I was missing in my life. The relationship between Liv and the Lord Commander is HOT and romantic. The steam keeps you turning those pages and the story leaves you truly satisfied at the end.

This book is a fun dark fantasy romance with just the right amount of spice and kink.

5 big freakin' stars for Ruled by Magic!
Erynn Snel
Jan 20, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Most dark romance books I’ve read either have an incredibly predictable plot, or no plot at all. I’m happy to say that Ruled by Magic kept surprising me and left me glued to the pages. Cannot wait for the next in the series!
K.Courtney Keith
Jan 23, 2022 rated it really liked it
It’s great read, a real page turner.

This book has tension and suspense. Intrigue and romance. Magic, sex and danger with just the right amount of kink. I can't think of anything that it's missing.
Jun 05, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Since this was the first time I read something by this author I was a little concerned that the book would have no plot from how the first few chapters went from 0 to 1000 in the romance department. But boy am I glad that my concerns were squashed quickly. This is a fast read that will leave you loving characters and wanting more information on all of them. I counting down the days until I can get my hands on another book, I am desperate to fine out how this story will unfold.
Jan 20, 2022 rated it really liked it
As this author is new to me, I can say I’m impressed. Zara had immense creativity in her description of the characters and surroundings. The storyline was always evolving and expanding. The dynamic between Leo and Livet was explosive and full of fight and passion. I’m looking forward to the next book to see if we find a different side to Prince Adante.
Alix Neel
Jan 22, 2022 rated it it was amazing
I couldn’t put this book down!!! Characters are relatable and draw you in.

You think you figured out what’s gonna happen next and there’s a curve ball.

Hilarious banter and some of the best jokes are even included. There’s a character for everyone to relate to.
Jan 21, 2022 rated it it was amazing
I couldn't put this dark romance down! The romance scenes are hot, kinky, and well placed throughout the book. The plot was well thought out and very well written.
The characters are varied and interesting. Liv, the female main character, has a depth of emotion that is gripping to read. Her guilt over enjoying certain things of her captivity is so well portrayed. Leo is complicated. He seems like such a powerful, domineering guy, then SPOILERS.
Zara created an interesting world with different coun
H Sh
Jan 25, 2022 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars rounded up.

What a great, hot read, full of intrigue and suspense!

Liv, the MC, was very likeable. I found myself sympathising with her and rooting for her throughout the book. Her choices generally made sense and her character arc was believable. She wasn't your usual 'mouthy' heroine, which was a breath of fresh air. She was thoughtful and what I'd describe as 'quietly clever'.

I didn't warm to Leo, hence the 4.5 stars. He came across as selfish and everything always went back to being
d. murdock
Jan 26, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Amazing story that seamlessly balances a plot line with smutty goodness.

While reading I often forgot this was a debut novel and not that of a well published author. Excellently written with no plot holes I can recount and nothing really stopping me throughout to question why characters are doing what their doing.

Would definitely recommend to anyone who enjoys fantasy/sci-fi with a good plot and good smut sprinkled throughout.

I was provided a ARC but my opinions are my own.
Jan 24, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Zara does a fantastic job with this story! It’s plot and characters draw you in and keep you hooked. Well paced action kept the story flowing. I’ve beta read for Zara before, and while this is not my favorite MC she has- All of the characters really grew on me by the end of the book. Well done! I did receive an ARC copy in exchange for my fair and honest review.
Jan 30, 2022 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs-or-recs
This book was everything I was not expecting and it was AMAZING! I consumed this book on my day off and I literally just couldn’t stop myself.
Livet Spencer is a non-mage in a world where mages rule supreme. She fights the oppression of those in power along with the help of a friend, Hex. Although, this does not end up working in their favor and both end up in front of the young, and strikingly handsome, Lord Commander Leopold Rahl as their judge and jury.

The relationship between Liv and Leo do
Erin Figueiredo
Feb 07, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Thrilling and very sexy new series!

WOW! That was a very entertaining, thrilling and sexy story. Right from the very start, Liv and the Lord Commander instantly hook you with the way their relationship starts – it’s intense and you have no idea where this ultimate decision is going to take them. There are some dark parts to their relationship but also some very sweet moments that peek through as the story progresses.

The amount of imagery and complex worldbuilding that this author creates brings
Huckleberry Rahr
Sep 22, 2021 rated it really liked it
This was a great book. The world building was believable. The characters had real emotions and distinct personalities. There were a few points I wondered about, but those were personal, and nothing against the author or her writing.

Definitely worth reading.
A dark fantasy romance about a fierce rebel activist and the domineering mage that seeks to control her.

Zara J. Black’s dark fantasy romance debut, Ruled by Magic, was unbelievably amazing! Black’s ability to create a unique new world where magic users and non-magic users are divided as the mages seek to rule over those without power, was utterly captivating and a nice dive into the dark side of a world ruled by magic.

Our fierce non magic using FMC Livet is a teacher living in a magic dominate
Jan 30, 2022 rated it it was amazing
I finished this book in only a few days, but it's taken me over a week to get to reviewing because honestly, I'm not exactly sure how to sum up all my feelings on this story into a little review.
Wow. What a ride!
If you've read the other reviews, you know the basics: Liv works to reveal the secrets of the mostly-corrupt mages that rule over the non-mages. She gets caught and sentenced to years in prison, but the Lord Commander has other ideas up his sleeve, so he offers her six months as his co
Jun 10, 2022 rated it it was amazing
This. Was. Fire.

I enjoyed the world-building smattered through the pages instead of just smashing me in the face and bogging me down with info dumping.

The beginning portion was solidly relationship driven.

I found Leo to be a bit of a marshmallow and I don't quite know if he was just playing at dub/con out of illegal intrigue or if it was actually part of him. I wanted him a bit harsher, but with Liv's delicate sort of personality, I don't think it would have worked as well as it did. They're bot
Fernweh Bibliophile69
Jan 23, 2022 rated it it was amazing
I received this book as an ARC for my honest review and feedback.


If you enjoy Mages, Humans, power play, and borderline bondage play, with a degradation & praise kink, with AFTERCARE!...this book is for you! I literally stayed up till 2 AM because I couldn't put it down! I finished it in about 48 hrs!

Possible spoilers!

Liv and Hex take down powerful mages who are bending the law to their benefit, until they are caught and are faced with the punishment by the new Lord Commander. Liv is giv
Jess (fromthebookshelfofdreams)
I absolutely loved this dark fantasy romance story.

The author has created a captivating storyline, with a unique magic system and an intriguing new world. Full of mystery, betrayal, angst, tension, and oh-so-delicious spice, this was an addictive read.

I actually had the privilege of being a beta reader for Zara, so it was amazing to see how much her writing and world building had grown from that original manuscript to this finished version. I was obsessed with the dynamic between Liv and Leo in
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Zara began writing in her thirties after reading a series of “fade to black” fantasy books and wondering why the hell the author didn’t make them smuttier.

Challenge, accepted.

She loves creating magical fantasy worlds, turbulent relationships and dark, kinky heroes (who could be villains if you squint a bit.)

When she’s not thinking up ways to torment her characters, Zara lives on the beautiful Gold

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