Hi all! So excited to be on the Blog Tour for Spellhacker by M.K. England, an electric sophomore novel that you need on your TBR. Visit the rest of the tour here, and don't forget to enter the giveaway at the bottom of the page!
The Book and its Author
In Kyrkarta, magic—known as maz—was once a freely available natural resource.Then an earthquake released a magical plague, killing thousands and opening the door for a greedy corporation to make maz a commodity that’s tightly controlled—and, of course, outrageously expensive.
Which is why Diz and her three best friends run a highly lucrative, highly illegal maz siphoning gig on the side. Their next job is supposed to be their last heist ever.
But when their plan turns up a powerful new strain of maz that (literally) blows up in their faces, they’re driven to unravel a conspiracy at the very center of the spellplague—and possibly save the world.
M.K. England is an author and YA librarian who grew up on the Space Coast of Florida and now calls rural Virginia home. When they’re not writing or librarianing, MK can be found drowning in fandom, rolling dice at the gaming table, digging in the garden, or feeding their video game addiction. They love Star Wars with a desperate, heedless passion. It’s best if you never speak of Sherlock Holmes in their presence. You’ll regret it.
THE DISASTERS is their debut novel. Follow them at www.mkengland.com.
The stakes are high in this action-packed novel about a group of friends trying to save their home—and possibly the world. I loved Spellhacker’s group cast and magnetic tension in combination with the magical world it introduces.
Cast: Diz, Remi, Ania, Jaesin.
Diz: Kind of a jerk to her friends at all times, but England wrote her narration so sympathetically at all times that I couldn’t help but feel constantly sorry for her. Communication! It’s important! Especially with the friends you don’t want to leave!
Remi: Totally adorable. I just love them. Remi works with maz naturally as a spellweaver, and I loved the scenes where they got to make spells and use maz because I truly felt like I was right there, watching it come to life.
Ania: Techwitch. Rich. Mom friend. I fell so hard. She’s the one to take care of Diz, saving her in the very first scene, but also a powerful force if she’s angry.
Jaesin: I wish we got to see more of him! As Diz says, he has the most “mundie skills,” which means cooking and fighting, but he’s also fiercely protective and fun.
All of the characters are so well-rounded and wonderfully characterized! They are wonderful additions to the YA heist book canon, and I wish the book had been a little bit longer so I could have spent more time with all of them. I also wonder if switching POV’s would have been beneficial to the reading experience? We spend the whole book with Diz, and a lot of the emotions start to become repetitive as she spends most of the book in the same headspace, which can be articulated in a limited number of ways. I’d love to see what the others made of their situations, and how that would have impacted the storytelling. England is a great writer, so this definitely could have added to the book’s quality.
As much as I loved reading about the gang’s hijinx in Kyrkarta, my favorite part of Spellhacker was learning about the world. As explained in the blurb, magic (maz) is a commodity used by many citizens, but its availability is limited since the plague. I love an evil corporation, like we see in The Last Dragonslayer, one of my favorite books, and Spellhacker definitely takes us there with Maz Management. This bureaucratic realism adds a layer of ironic humor to the action.
Maz itself is an intriguing concept as well. Different strains glow different colors, and description throughout helps the reader visualize how Remi and Anya manipulate coils of it to create spells, including fun ones like playful animal replicas and dangerous ones such as firebombs. The glossary at the front of the book explains the different categories, and I found that helpful to refer back to. I liked the well-defined limits of the system, which showed the difference between the specifically digital abilities such as Diz’s hacking, and the magical abilities like Remi’s spell weaving.
Overall, I’d give Spellhacker 4/5 stars and encourage y’all to read it ASAP!
Hey, I'm Shreya! I love to read, write, travel, and drink coffee.