Diverse Fantasy with a Superb Bite of Magic | Review: Caster by Elsie Chapman

6:26 PM

In the world of Caster, magic is forbidden and comes at a great cost. As soon as magic is exposed to the world, it is blamed for the hardships they face. Get ready for a entertaining and complex read--another fantastic YA release.


About

If the magic doesn't kill her, the truth just might.

Aza Wu knows that real magic is dangerous and illegal. After all, casting killed her sister, Shire. As with all magic, everything comes at a price. For Aza, it feels like everything in her life has some kind of cost attached to it. Her sister had been casting for money to pay off Saint Willow, the gang leader that oversees her sector of Lotusland. If you want to operate a business there, you have to pay your tribute. And now with Shire dead, Aza must step in to save the legacy of Wu Teas, the teahouse that has been in her family for centuries.

When Aza comes across a secret invitation, she decides she doesn't have much else to lose. She quickly realizes that she's entered herself into an underground casting tournament, and the stakes couldn't be higher. Real magic, real consequences. As she competes, Aza fights for her life against some very strong and devious competitors.

When the facts about Shire's death don't add up, the police start to investigate. When the tributes to Saint Willow aren't paid, the gang comes to collect. When Aza is caught sneaking around with fresh casting wounds, her parents are alarmed. As Aza's dangerous web of lies continues to grow, she is caught between trying to find a way out and trapping herself permanently.
 

Caster by Elsie Chapman
Review: ★★★★★

As always, a copy of this book was provided by the publisher or author in exchange for my honest review. This does not effect my opinion in any way.

Did I know I would enjoy Caster before reading it? UM. Yes. Did I know how much? NOPE. To be perfectly honest,I was blindsided by my love of Elsie Chapman's Caster and have spent the better part of a few weeks babbling about it to anyone who will listen. Caster is yet another novel of 2019 that was pure brilliance and completely engrossing; I was unable to put it down and have yet to fully shake it from my mind yet.

I can honestly say this is in the top ten of the best of this years Own Voices books.

But, we'll get to that in a future post.

Caster reminded me what it felt like when I first began diving into YA novels as a teenager. It felt as though the experience of reading Caster was reminiscent of several old favourites, not necessarily in story parallels (although there are a few that can be drawn from it) but in the way it makes the reader feel. If you love a good fantasy novel, that has a knife sharp edge of hope and despair and forbidden magic, you'll definitely eat this one up.

Elsie Chapman creates a story that readers may find difficult to put down and will certain ignite a steady fanbase as well as the desire to pull an all-nighter and devour it. (Which is absolutely what I did, much to the dismay of my friend who wanted to go out that night.)

Her world-building is on point (I'm OBSESSED and don't want to give away too, too much to any readers), the characters of Caster all feel complex and real, each and every page exudes a darkly atmospheric tone with that sharp jab of intrigue and heart-racing moments. You can feel this sort of magic bubbling over in the story and it's indescribable compelling. The action and the stakes of living in this world, too, leaves you feeling tense and mystified in a way that not many authors can accomplish in small doses.

Thinking up how to describe Caster in a few words was more than a little difficult, because it leaves so much lingering in our minds as we close the pages. My mind was spent by the time I finished it, because I couldn't help but to be completely tied into every little thing that happens in the novel. Questions and questions, thrills and intrigue--Caster, at its core, is one of the best YA fantasy releases of the year.

While all of the above mentioned traits of Caster are amongst the biggest and brightest highlights, I think that the very best feature within the story is the complexities Aza, our main character, grapples with throughout Caster. It's been a long time since I found myself lost to a character in the best way possible, but I cannot stress how much of a good thing that was.

Overall, Chapman crafts this world with care, and has the tendency to startle us as readers. Words have this power to possess us and grip us, and Chapman uses this skill wisely. If you haven't picked up Caster yet but find the synopsis to be intriguing and are looking for a solid, underrated gem of a fantasy read--this is IT. Unforgettable, fast paced and truly out-of-this-world.

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