C.G. Drews's Reviews > The Brilliant Death

The Brilliant Death by Amy Rose Capetta
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it was amazing
bookshelves: 5-star, epic-fantasy, read-2019, young-adult

Well this book was most thoroughly...wait for it...BRILLIANT. (((oh please you absolutely knew I was going to say that. I was given an opportunity and I took it.))) I was absolutely in love with the premise as soon as I heard about it and it turned out to be everything I want in a fantasy?! It absolutely kicked it's way past generic doors and gave us what we crave: queer narrators, strong family ties, really interesting and different world building, magic that's sometimes soft and sometimes terrible, and the absolute sweetest and most cunning characters ever. Sweet AND cunning is my favourite combination. I will just smoosh this book to my heart. It is Brilliant™

Also I'm freaking relieved to see it's got sequels coming because that ending was not where I am to be left. Do not leave me like this!!!!!

I listened to the audiobook, which 10/10 would recommend. However this is going to leave me in this really awkward place where I have legit no idea how to spell anything. Lmao. Please forgive me? If left to myself, I would've said the narrators were Tao Dro and Cello (instead of Teodora and Cielo). But I loved the narrator and she did amazing accents and really recommend!

First things first, super super stoked to have a fantasy starring a genderfluid narrator! AND the love interest is genderfluid. I can't speak on any of this from experience, but I just felt...it was really beautifully done. I loved how Teo talked about, when they were in boy form, that they weren't in disguise. They were themselves. Just changed. The book really talks about change too a lot, how you can be scared of it and embrace it. Both Teo and Ceilo use him/her throughout the story and they are attracted to each the whole time too. It's just !!! more queer fantasy !!! pls

Also I just found this super perfect article by the author on why they wrote Teo/Ceilo! This is a love letter to the author's identity and their partner! //yeah more emotions from me afjdkasd i love ownvoices stories, i love that they got to tell their truth like this

The characters just so easily stole my heart.
From Teo being such a Gryffindor with a good dash of scheming, and then to Cielo, who was a bit of an enigma but so adorable and pointy and opinionated and stubborn. I loved Cielo so bad omg. They loved their magic and taught Teo how to love it. Basically Cielo shapeshifts the whole book, even into rain and clouds. Teo's power was more focused on changing people into objects. (Which really reminded me of Holly Black's Curseworker books??? But ok ok I can move past that.) And omg I loved them together. They made each other the best they could be. And Teo being Cielo's anchor just ajfdklsd gave me far too many emotions for my cold dead heart.

I did not come here to feel things. But I felt many things. Definitely more than three.

The plot has everything too, wow did they cover it all.
I mean is it a YA fantasy without a masquerade scene. But we also have a journey, and a castle with like an epic fantasy Italian-esque mafia family, and Teo ends up in the city to scheme against the Capo. There are gods and the church, and superstition and possible invaders. THERE IS SO MUCH FOOD. And there is so so much strega (that's the term for the magicians/witches in the book) magic and lore that I so appreciated. The basic underline is: There is WORLD BUILDING and it manages to be rich without being info-dumpy which is a true freaking blessing.

My only very small thing to note is:
It did feel a bit overpacked at times. Like there was a lot going on and then at the end we had to just push through a ton to wrap up all these threads. And leaving (view spoiler)

➸ And the writing...ohhh can I just say how exquisitely lush it was?!
It's the kind of writing that overtakes your senses and pulls you deeply into the story with details, tastes, sounds and smells. The softness of a moment, the colour of an emotion, the detail of fingertips on stone...it caught all of that. And it was just gorgeously done. Rich and vivid!!! I love this style. LOVE it.


Basically, idek why you're still here and not madly running away to marry this book. I mean I am ok. I loved these two kids with their aching craving to be accepted for who they are, to use magic and to love fiercely and openly. It gave us a world where boys couldn't be together and girls couldn't rule as head of their Families and magic was called wrong. And then it gave us two characters who did not stand for that and fought beautifully and openly and turned stones into flowers and loved each other to make up for anyone who would dare reject them. It's good, ok. So good.
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Reading Progress

March 12, 2018 – Shelved
March 12, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
January 7, 2019 – Started Reading
January 9, 2019 –
page 40
11.36% "I am vERY intrigued, but I may have the audiobook going too fast (2x speed ok, i'm impatient) because all the Italian (?) words and names are smooshed. 😂my bad"
February 7, 2019 –
page 300
85.23% "is it even a YA fantasy if there is no masked ball? :')"
February 7, 2019 – Shelved as: 5-star
February 7, 2019 – Shelved as: epic-fantasy
February 7, 2019 – Shelved as: read-2019
February 7, 2019 – Shelved as: young-adult
February 7, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-5 of 5 (5 new)

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message 1: by Anna (new) - added it

Anna ItsMyBirthWrite This makes me even more excited to read it!!!


Jamie Rose I loved everything about this book & I'm glad you did too, I can't believe I haven't seen more people raving about it! And I NEED that sequel! I was under the impression it was a standalone going in, and OMG definitely not!


C.G. Drews @Anna: Good I'm so so glad!!!!

@Jamie: omg agreed, right?! and we have to wait till 2020 for a sequel *whines pitifully* but now I want to read everything else this author has written haha, at least they have a backlist!!


Jamie Rose Lol yes, I've already downloaded my next audiobook 😀


message 5: by Rayna (new) - added it

Rayna I'm so glad this ended up being awesome! I'm really looking forward to getting my hands on it soon.


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