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A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians

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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 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 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 early modern world, there is an unknown force inciting all of human civilization into violent conflict. And it will require the combined efforts of revolutionaries, magicians, and abolitionists to unmask this hidden enemy before the whole world falls to darkness and chaos.


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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 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 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 early modern world, there is an unknown force inciting all of human civilization into violent conflict. And it will require the combined efforts of revolutionaries, magicians, and abolitionists to unmask this hidden enemy before the whole world falls to darkness and chaos.

30 review for A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nenia ✨️ The Trash Empress ✨️ Campbell

    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest 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 Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest 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 wrong and are starting to say that magic is for everyone. One of these is a vampire and his friend, and the other is Robespierre, a commoner with the ability to mesmerize. And the other is a girl on one of those plantations who has found herself immunized against the zombie cocktails. As I said, I wanted to like this. But oh my God, it was so boring. I kept waiting for the plodding pace to pick up, but it never did. Also, the slavery portions were pretty tough to read. Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!  1.5 to 2 stars

  2. 5 out of 5

    Alix Harrow

    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.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sean Gibson

    There’s a particular phrase to describe books that are grandly ambitious yet intimately familiar, sweeping in scope yet divinely detailed, plot-rich yet character-driven, and written with impeccable style: “H.G. Parry’s digital finger droppings” (I say this assuming she types her work and doesn’t write it longhand; if it turns out I’m incorrect in this assumption, then we should modify the phrase to read “H.G. Parry’s inky finger digit droppings,” though that sounds vaguely inappropriate, and al There’s a particular phrase to describe books that are grandly ambitious yet intimately familiar, sweeping in scope yet divinely detailed, plot-rich yet character-driven, and written with impeccable style: “H.G. Parry’s digital finger droppings” (I say this assuming she types her work and doesn’t write it longhand; if it turns out I’m incorrect in this assumption, then we should modify the phrase to read “H.G. Parry’s inky finger digit droppings,” though that sounds vaguely inappropriate, and also extremely messy.) If I was enamored of Parry’s The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep, then I am besotted, bedazzled, besmitten, beboopled, and bedraggled with this book (note: not all of those words apply or are even actual words, but they do all start with “be,” so I am to be congratulated for my initial syllabic consistency). You can reasonably infer that a book whose title riffs on a touchstone of the French Revolution and one of the most influential civil rights documents of all time is going to slather historical references on your cerebellum in the same way my son requests I cover toast with Nutella for him. And, it does. But, not in a heavy-handed way, and not in a way that makes you feel like you’re reading a history book with random bits of fantasticality tossed in for spits and wiggles. Rather, it’s history as accoutrement (what every well-heeled bon vivant is wearing this season, no doubt), with characterization at the forefront even as the mystery deepens in the background and the inexorable pull of monumental events inextricably entwines the fates of our heroes and villains. Strange and Norrell is an obvious comparison, but where that weighty tome revels in the footnoted minutiae of its world, Declaration is more about the flawed individuals who drive, and then become caught up in, sweeping change. Also, vampires. Because did I mention there are vampires? And necromancers? Not to mention weather mages, slaves in revolt, legendary politicians, religious converts, and the undeniable pleasure of being held in the thrall of an author who both reveres the power of stories and words and is a master of putting them to good use. The book ends in medias res, naturally, with a sequel on the way, one which Declaration suggests will feature a well-known French conqueror (my money is on Marcel Marceau, with Le Petomane as a dark horse candidate bringing up the rear). If it were ready tomorrow, it wouldn’t be soon enough. I’m in. If you dig historical fiction, fantasy, mystery, political intrigue, great characterization, and just the right amount of world building, I guarantee you’ll enjoy this. (Bonus fun trivia fact: the "H" in "H.G." stands for "Hannah," which also happens to be my daughter's name. This bit of coincidence in no way influenced my review, but it did delight me when I found out.)

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ari

    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 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 of the French Revolution and its monarchs. A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians, however, merges the two seamlessly and gives it such a credence that you can almost believe that the inclusion of this magical battle might have been all true. One of the things that stood out to me the most, was how authentic in tone this book was written. H. G. Parry has brought about a story that sounds like it has stepped right off the 18th Century, with the tone, manners and ways of life that one expects as such. The verbiage is so perfectly poised that it's even easier to get lost in the story. While we follow characters from the Caribbean, London and Paris, it's those of Paris that steer the plot. And they are the ones that touched my heart the most. It's impossible not to be moved especially because many were real individuals. To see a version of what they would have experienced—such as Robespierre, Desmoulins, Marat—is fascinating. There is not only certain growth, but intricacy in the path that many of them take that is very original to the novel, an in-depth view of their lives and their struggles. And while I knew how many of them came to an end, it was still impossible not to be touched when they fell. Camille Desmoulins's demise stood out, nearly poetic in sorrow. The one thing that I would have appreciated and sadly don't feel that was attained, was more attention on Fina's part of this story. Considering not just her background but the torture that she lives through, and the fight that she faces to be a free woman, she deserved to stand out. France aside, there is plenty of the journey of England's Wilberforce, Pitt, and their respective supporters and opponents. But when it came to Fina and Jamaica, then later Saint-Domingue and that group of characters... Yes, we get to know them, but not in the way that we become acquainted with the rest. Not unless it played into the path of our mysterious and cruel vampire antagonist. The magic system in this book is not something new, but it was still interesting and who doesn't enjoy watching storms occur by one's will or fire dance for its magician. And this reclusive and dark leading character, who stirs up Robespierre's mind into building a fevered cause that ends in thousands of death holds one of the most interesting kinds of magic. Dark magic is in this novel, expectantly, the most fascinating of its type. This is magic that will not just stir fear, but that will bring action to what others attempt to accomplish. Step right up to see those who can mesmerize, resurrect the dead, and even control others by freeing or withholding the other person's magical abilities. The very human term of vampire in A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians is different to the “norm” in the best of ways. There is a lot of political intrigue in this story, more so than I ever care to purposefully seek in fiction, yet it's crucial to the plot and manages to flow without a hitch. And the writing can be dense at times, almost to the point of being slightly dull. But pushing past the latter moments, which never last long, is well worth it. This novel has a lot of heart, and these characters all fight in their own ways for the ultimate price of allowing people to practice magic without the censure that they have had forced upon them for hundreds of years. It's incredibly hopeful at times, and very dispirited in others when history exemplifies just how terrible human beings themselves can be against a system that seeks to aid, thanks our own avarice, anger and selfishness.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Celeste

    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. 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. Historical figures like William Pitt, William Wilberforce, Toussaint Bréda L’Ouverture, and Maximilien Robespierre are all exquisitely portrayed both as individuals that really existed and fictional characters whose minds were are invited to explore. Parry balanced this contrast beautifully. She could have rewritten history in a way that made it somehow less. She could have stayed so true to history that the narrative felt more like a nonfiction text than a novel. But she did neither of those things. She was able to bridge that divide in a way that both informs and inspires, that encourages both historical curiosity and fantastical imaginings. I’m truly in awe of what she was able to do with this novel. “And beneath the surface, something was moving. Something that spoke of change, and of revolution, and of blood.” One of the things I loved most about this book is how the importance in friendship is demonstrated in each of the three plot-lines. Pitt and Wilberforce, Robespierre and Camille, Toussaint and Fina (a character of Parry’s own imagination) are the central hubs around which this triune story orbits, and their relationships with one another play incredibly important roles in history. These relationships are what kept the story from seeming too dry. I especially loved the friendship between Pitt and Wilberforce, and was always excited when the narrative swung back in their direction. Parry has a gift with her craftsmanship of witty dialogue that feels appropriate to the time period without ever seeming stuffy. I found every debate and conversation a pleasure to read because of this. “It isn’t about proving what we can be. It’s about becoming what we can be.” Slavery is the most heinous act we as humans have ever wrought upon one another. I didn’t think it could be portrayed in a worse light than its reality, but Parry managed to make it even more horrifying with her addition of spellbinding slaves by forcing them to ingest magical elixirs that deprived them of all outward freewill. I can’t imagine not being able to control my body at all, with every single blink and twitch dictated by someone who has decided that I am property. And to make matters in the book even worse, the spellbound slaves are still completely aware inside their minds and are screaming for release and fighting a losing battle for control of their own bodies. The concept is terrifying. “To some extent, we all have the capacity to become monsters.” While I very much enjoyed the book, I must confess that I found myself getting bogged down in the legislation pretty frequently. This isn’t Parry’s fault, as the synopsis is very clear regarding the plot of the book, and it’s a plot that is necessarily very reliant on legality and politics. However, this obviously results in a slower pace and less action that some fantasy readers expect from the books they choose, so just be aware that this book is more of an alternate history that involves magic than it is a fantasy novel. While I haven’t yet read it myself, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell sprang immediately to mind within the first twenty pages, and I believe that fans of that novel will find Parry’s sophomore work very appealing. “I sometimes think ‘just this once’ is the most dangerous phrase in the English language.” My only other qualm with A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians is Parry’s choice of ending. For such a large, often meandering novel, the ending felt very abrupt and left me unsatisfied. If there is a sequel planned, I will be much more content upon learning of its existence. But as I went into this book believing it to be a standalone, I was a bit frustrated when I read the final chapter and saw that I had reached the end before more of the plot-lines were tied up. “Liberty, what crimes are committed in your name!” Parry is a brilliant author. She has a wonderful flow to her prose that feels both effortless and highly intelligent. I know how much research goes into a book like this, but Parry tells the story in such a way that the reader is able to forget how much work went into it and simply lose themselves in the writing. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed both novels I’ve read from her, and I can’t wait to see what she puts out next. But I’m clinging to hope that said next book will be a continuation of this particular story. You can find this review and more at Novel Notions.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Faith

    “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 “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 vampires. It uses real characters such as Prime Minister William Pitt, Toussaint L’Ouverture and Maximilien Robespierre and sets them in a world in which magic is reserved for the aristocracy. It keeps slaves under control, but it’s use in war is forbidden. I don’t think that the events depicted in this book really cry out for a fantasy retelling, but my main problem with the book was that it was exceedingly boring. The conversations and debates about magic (including necromancy, fire magic, blood magic weather magic and shadow magic), abolition, commoner’s rights and political maneuvering were interminable. It took me forever to finish reading this. When I was 80% through the book I suddenly realized that there was no way that things were going to be resolved in the final 20% of the book and my heart sank. I do want to know how things are going to turn out but I don’t know whether I have the strength to read part 2 of this. There was just too much talking and it drained the life out of me. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

  7. 5 out of 5

    aarya

    DNF 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. Also: DNF 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. Also: I feel very uncertain about the slavery/plantation depiction (it’s a major part of the book) and am unequipped to critique it. Will look for reactions by Black reviewers on the issue. As usual, your mileage may vary, so please read a sample and other reviews to decide if this alt-history fantasy is for you. One person’s “I’m bored to tears” is another’s favorite book. Disclaimer: I received a free e-ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kelsea

    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. 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. The debates, the questions, the implications, and the reminders (both of how far we've come and how far we have yet to go) feel very relevant at the moment, when George Floyd's death woke many up to the way systemic racism has been affecting Black people. (The racism is not new; the awareness being raised and universality of racism as a conversation subject is, at the very least, not something that's been tackled on this scale in recent history.) It took me a while to get into this book. 25% or so. Before that, it felt like a jumble of characters and places. I could tell there was a lot going on, but my mind had trouble grasping it all. Then... as occasionally happens, something clicked. (Also, it probably helped that my husband watched the baby for a bit so I could actually concentrate without her constantly trying to steal or click on my kindle.) I found myself riveted. Invested. Fully absorbed. Obsessed. In AWE. Sooooooooo I do want to give readers warning that this book will take time to get into. I've read some of the other reviews saying it's boring or they DNF'd the book, and I honestly understand that. I considered it as well. But I'm so, so glad now that I read on. It's worth it! Now, onto the actual book. In the alternate historical world of A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians, magic is strictly controlled. The rights of magicians are under debate, and the author doesn't hold back when it comes to the way magicians of different classes and races (well, Black & White, as I recall no mention of other races in the story) are treated starkly differently. The story is as much about slavery and abolition as it is about the rights of magicians. And more than anything else, at its heart is the question of change. How do we bring about change? What's the best way to upend everything? Must it always turn to bloody revolution, or can it be done through peaceful negotiation? Is it fair to ask oppressed people to wait a single minute for freedom in order to usher in a new era with little or no bloodshed? Do the people who benefit from systems of oppression deserve to die for their parts in perpetuating those systems? This story tackles all of these questions and more. For someone like me, who loves thought-provoking reads, this story was so powerful and generated so many interesting questions without clear-cut answers. It's all so wonderfully complex and interwoven with such brilliance. The magic, the mystery, the characters, the friendships, the absolutely illustrious quotes (mostly from the debate floor)... all of it. This story will appeal to philosophizers, or anyone who's fascinated by morality and moral quandries. I also think this story will appeal to epic fantasy readers. There are a LOT of perspectives, and while the subject matter places it more squarely in historical fantasy, in scope and scale it reads like epic fantasy. I do wish Fina's POV was expanded. We get a lot more of the White character's thoughts than the one Black POV. Granted, this may be a matter of the author exercising caution when writing outside her racial lane? But as a reader, I think it would've been interesting to see more of Fina's world and perspective. I'm also surprised to see that this book isn't labeled as a series. Perhaps that will change? The ending to the story didn't feel like a full resolution. Maybe that's the point, or maybe I need to actually go research and see if this is planned as a series. Overall, this book is not going to appeal to every fantasy reader, but there is a certain subset who will absolutely LOVE this book. Thank you to Redhook via Netgalley for providing me a free advanced e-copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. Out today (!!!) via Redhook.

  9. 5 out of 5

    wanderer (Para)

    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. Still, sequel when??? Longer review to come.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    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 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 executes offenders. The novel follows several historical figures, from William Wilberforce to Robespierre to Toussaint Louverture, as each grapples with how magical oppression intersects with the real historical oppression they fought. I had a difficult time writing this review, because it took me a while to figure out how to put into words my discomfort with the premise of this novel. Normally, I have no problem with how urban/historical fantasy layers magic and myth over reality. I was very much looking forward to reading this novel, precisely because it’s such a fascinating era that seems generally under-explored in the fantasy genre. However, I thought the way the author approached the era was fundamentally flawed. In essence, Parry has layered magical inequality and oppression on top of historical inequality and oppression, and made that magical oppression the primary lens through which the characters understand that inequality and oppression. The abolitionist movement becomes not just about slavery, but about how magic makes slavery even more evil. (Alchemists dose slaves with a potion that robs them of all power to control their bodies.) The French Revolution becomes not just about the aristocracy’s opulence and indifference to the suffering of their subjects, but also about the freedom to use magical gifts. Colonial fear of slave rebellions becomes not just about slave owners’ fear of economic loss and reprisals for their brutality, but also about their fear of their former slaves’ often powerful magic being unleashed upon them. (This treads awfully close to racist beliefs, still pervasive in our contemporary society, that black people are superhuman.) Also? In this book, the Haitian Revolution doesn’t begin because the slaves in Saint-Domingue rose up and freed themselves, it begins because a white dude frees them of magical alchemy, at the direction of another white dude, which then allows them the freedom to fully liberate themselves. I find that…problematic…to say the least, because it turns a historical example in which black people rescued themselves into a white savior story. I wanted to like this book. Parry is an engaging writer, and her interpretation of Robespierre in particular was fascinating. Unfortunately, she needed to handle the historical issues with more care. I have no doubt she was well-intentioned as she wrote this book, but I don’t think she had the knowledge and experience to address the slavery and class inequality aspects in a meaningful way. Rather than weaving the idea of magical oppression into historical events in a nuanced way, Parry keeps the revolution and historical figures, but replaces the causes and context of their fight with one of her own invention.

  11. 5 out of 5

    The Nerd Daily

    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 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 back and forth between France, Haiti, and Britain where magic is confined strictly to the aristocracy in the European countries. In France, Robespierre dreams of a country free of constraints, a France where commoners and aristocrats alike use their magic freely. He’ll go to any means to make it a reality, even if that means he has to associate with dark magic. As the abolition of the slave trade is heavily discoursed in London, Prime Minister William Pitt is locked in a constant battle against his own nature. Fina, a slave stuck in a sugar plantation in Jamaica struggles to be free of the enchantment suppressing her magic and join the Revolution. In the midst of it all, an ancient, dark presence is stirring, slowly leading the world into utter chaos. Read the FULL REVIEW on The Nerd Daily

  12. 4 out of 5

    Luna

    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 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 in exchange for an honest review .

  13. 4 out of 5

    OutlawPoet

    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!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    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 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 into the small minutiae of society that I’m never left wondering, why don’t people just do X with magic? The book starts with both leads, William Pitt in England and Robespierre in France, fighting for the rights of Commoners to perform magic. If a Commoner family was able to use weathermancy, they would have been able to water their crops and not starve, if a Commoner firemage could heat his house, he wouldn’t risk freezing to death. It’s these little details that I thought fleshed out the book, and this re-imagined 18th century that gave the worldbuilding so much life. On a larger scale, this Western Europe 18th century has just come out of the American Revolution, and revolution, freedom for all magicians, is in the air. The center of this book is politics, the slow gradual freedoms and allowances that Pitt manages to muster through in England, sharp, explosive rebellions taking place in France, and a fight for freedom from slavery in Haiti. I admit having absolutely no knowledge of the French Revolution, or this general time period. About halfway through, I asked several friends who’d taken French in high school what role Robespierre had in the Revolution because he seemed like a pretty neat, smart dude. I was laughed at. Turns out, Robespierre was the one running around with the guillotine. Which, frankly, speaks so well to how these characters are developed and characterized. Robespierre doesn’t start his life a bloodthirsty tyrant, and it’s fascinating to be able to follow him throughout this book, reading from his perspective, and seeing that slow descent into tyranny. Similarly in England, we have William Pitt and his best friend/close political colleague William Wilberforce. Pitt and Wilberforce have this fantastic bromance (is it weird to say important historic political figures have bromances?) and through it, we are able to really delve into the psyche of each. However, with their good friendship emphasized so heavily, it’s clear to the reader that, like all people with different goals and worldviews, they’ll one day have a falling out. And when that happens, as the reader, I feel that I knew both characters so well that I’d never be able to pick a side. It’s rare that I enjoy Victorian/Regency-esque prose, but Parry really knocks the writing out of the park. The best way I can describe it is Victorian enough, but not so much that it stifles the rest of the story. Pacing wise, the book is fairly slow. For a book about revolutions, the story itself is surprisingly character-driven. Personally, I enjoyed taking a deep-dive into the minds of our different leads, but I’ve had friends complain it’s too slow. Parry is flexing her knowledge of the French Revolution and it shows. There are two points I want to make note of, however, not necessarily as detractors, but just good information for a reader going into this book. The first is that this book is not a standalone. Beyond the French Revolution, the English trying to decide how to respond, and the Haitian revolution, there’s a shadowy 4th party in the background, pulling strings and pushing pieces around. That character makes small appearances here and there, which led me to believe that they were the final boss of the book. Which they were not. The second is that when we follow Pitt and Wilberforce, their main focal point is the abolition of the slave trade. While the book doesn’t delve much into the arguments of the opposing side, avoiding it entirely is impossible as well. Even on the Abolitionist side, the arguments often used delve into the economic value and worth of a human life, and in many situations, these debates, to me, were portrayed as old white men calmly discussing slavery with little-to-no input from former slaves. For me, these discussions came off as extremely sanitized with little acknowledgment from the Abolitionists of the racism that was surely rampant during the era. Especially with the current political climate in the US and the Black Live Matter movement, this language may be triggering to some readers. Overall, I rate this book a 5/5. I was stunned by the worldbuilding and the integration of magic into 18th century Europe and I loved the writing and the sheer character development of the characters we follow. Extremely topical for our current political climate and an absolutely fascinating read! Definitely in contention for my favorite book of 2020.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Christi M

    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 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 undertaking is amazing. To research such a political span of time in European history and to adjust it in such a way to where parts of known history are now integrated with magic was truly phenomenal to read. Undeniably A Declaration of Rights of Magicians is an intelligent and well-thought out the book and I am left wondering if my knowledge of the actual subjects will forever be changed. However, merging the two together also comes at a cost. At times, I was drawn into an incredibly intriguing story and other times I felt like I was back in history class waiting for the bell to ring. It was during these times that I felt the story dragged a little or at least my excitement for the story diminished as we saw things occur off screen, but not on. I thoroughly love and appreciate the concept of the book, but there are other historical events or points in time I enjoy more than than the late 1700s. Maximilien Robespierre, William Pitt, Toussaint Breda, George-Jacques Danton, William Wilberforce among others were names learned long ago – mostly for a test. Politics can be quite an intriguing subject none more so than the events leading up the French revolution and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction from an alternative world perspective or at least one that is slightly altered. But unfortunately for me, this story didn’t work out as much as I had hoped. Rating: 3 stars Thanks to Netgalley and Redhook Books for the advanced reader copy and opportunity to provide an honest review.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Diana

    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 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, honestly, it's such an engrossing story! But I ended up not wanting to read anymore.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sarah-Hope

    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 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 of these characters are trying to achieve what they perceive as a greater good makes the novel even more compelling. If you love fantasy and alternate history, you will love this book, but it will also appeal to readers who normally stick to literary fiction or nonfiction historical writing. I received a free electronic review copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. The opinions are my own.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Andria Potter

    New favorite of the year!!!! ❤️ 5 🌟 ❤️!!!!

  19. 5 out of 5

    charlotte, (½ of readsrainbow)

    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 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 history as we know it, but with vampires, necromancers, and other magic users. Now, you might think that doesn’t sound so bad. But when I say “almost exact retelling”, I do mean it quite literally. About the only thing that changed about it was exact motivations for things. I don’t know about you, but I’d have thought that, in a world with magic, history would not happen to unfurl in exactly the same manner as our world. Not to mention there’s a good two millenia plus of development before all this supposedly takes place. And I’m supposed to believe that, under conditions so drastically different from our own, there would be the exact same history unfolding in the exact same way? And, honestly, that’s what made it most boring to me. That, and the fact that it spans so many years before we even get to the crux of the plot (which is only just revealed right at the end of the book, besides), and in those years, what do we get? Literally just intensely detailed political manoeuverings, a million minutiae on how exactly the very tiniest details of the world had changed. It was, quite frankly, one of the most boring books I’ve ever had to drag myself through. It’s not like it was badly written either, so I couldn’t just blame my boredom on not getting along with the writing. It was well-written, but dense and so bogged down in the details, I couldn’t even effectively skim-read it. I was so bored by this book that, halfway through, I went and googled William Wilberforce, only to find out he had a direct hand in the creation of the Society for the Reformation of Manners, themselves a big player in the raids on molly houses in the 19th century. So yeah. That nixed any chance of me liking his fictional representation and definitely nixed any chance of me liking this book. But beyond the boredom, there were some other aspects I didn’t really like. Firstly, I don’t particularly enjoy reading about real historical people but fictionalised. It just feels like it can easily edge into smoothing out any nuance. Like how, apparently, Wilberforce was anti-unionist (and also, judging by the Society he formed, homophobic), but of course we don’t get presented with that here. Oh and then there was the fact that the Haitian slave revolution was written as being initiated by a white man. With the caveat that I know very little about that, only what I’ve read online, it didn’t exactly feel great. But then again, the whole “slavery but let’s make it even worse by having the characters bound within their bodies and controlled by the masters, because magic” part of this book didn’t feel so good at all. So maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised.

  20. 5 out of 5

    James

    I loved this even though it took me some time to get through. In my defense, life has distracted my reading time. But yeah, this was some great historical fantasy that brings to mind Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell. Set around the French and Haitian revolutions, its primary characters include William Pitt, William Wordsworth, Robespierre, and Toussant. My knowledge of this time period is a light, but I found myself returning to wikipedia again and again to find just how closely Parry modeled her I loved this even though it took me some time to get through. In my defense, life has distracted my reading time. But yeah, this was some great historical fantasy that brings to mind Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell. Set around the French and Haitian revolutions, its primary characters include William Pitt, William Wordsworth, Robespierre, and Toussant. My knowledge of this time period is a light, but I found myself returning to wikipedia again and again to find just how closely Parry modeled her story after real events, and often spoiling myself in the process. Highlights include the friendship and banter of Pitt and Wordsworth, and the mysterious menace of the secret benefactor whom I spent the whole novel trying to guess the identity of. But there are lots of questions left open for book 2! This book is a little dialogue heavy, and feels very much written in a 19th century victorian author voice, so it may not be for everyone. And I think some knowledge of history helps. But overall, I loved it and look forward to finding out what happens in the sequel.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Cheshta Choudhury

    The blurb says that "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", and truly, it is just that.  Set in the 18th Century and following political and revolutionary leaders from London, Paris, and the Caribbean, the story interweaves events of the French Revolution and slave abolition movement. There are magicians and the Knight Templars who regulate them. Both France and Britain are struggling for the indepe The blurb says that "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", and truly, it is just that.  Set in the 18th Century and following political and revolutionary leaders from London, Paris, and the Caribbean, the story interweaves events of the French Revolution and slave abolition movement. There are magicians and the Knight Templars who regulate them. Both France and Britain are struggling for the independence of the Commoner magicians. We follow William Pitt and William Wilberforce in London, Camille Desmoulins, Maximilien Robespierre, and Georges Danton in France, and Toussaint Louverture in the Saint-Domingue. All of them were active participants in several well-known Revolutions. The author has done a commendable job of seamlessly inserting magic in and among the true narratives. Thus, although historical fiction, the book feels like a fantasy! And I am all here for it. Reading it was like reading a book from the 18th Century. The characters are written so well that I instantly fell in love with them, the fact that they lived at some point also helped a bit. Pitt and Wilberforce's friendship is something worth dying for, one of the best friendships ever. I loved their banters and philosophical musings!. There is much moral dilemma in the story(which is natural due to the topic of slavery) and immense political intrigue! How people with good intentions can also become disillusioned and commit wrongs in the name of morality and how the line between 'right' and 'wrong' is very thin, all these and more are made apparent by the book. It draws upon the French Revolution and the Abolitionist movement but it has an originality that I fell in love with. Rating- ⭐⭐⭐⭐.25/5. It is coming out on 25th June, keep an eye on it! I promise it's worth a read. Thank you Netgalley and Little Brown Book Group UK for the e-ARC.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Anna Nesterovich

    I received a copy of this book via Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. I usually get plenty of those, a lot of them are hyped about and come highly recommended, and I am usually pretty disappointed. This time, however, I was not disappointed at all! This book is BRILLIANT!!! Well, almost. When I started reading, I didn't expect much, but got more and more interested with every page. To the point, somewhere about half way, where I almost stopped reading, because I was dreading that I received a copy of this book via Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. I usually get plenty of those, a lot of them are hyped about and come highly recommended, and I am usually pretty disappointed. This time, however, I was not disappointed at all! This book is BRILLIANT!!! Well, almost. When I started reading, I didn't expect much, but got more and more interested with every page. To the point, somewhere about half way, where I almost stopped reading, because I was dreading that the author ruined the ending. It became so good, it seemed there was no way but down. The urge to continue was stronger than the dread though, so I kept reading. The book defies genre boundaries. I've read plenty of fiction, fantasy, and historical fiction, but this one is historical fantasy :D And historical in this case is very, very historical: well researched and informed. I love it when authors do their homework. Also, historical in this case doesn't mean some alternative history or a different take on the events. It is literally historical. But fantasy. Work it out. The closer and closer I got to the end, the less and less I was afraid that the end would disappoint. It wouldn't be possible on the last 100 pages? 50 pages? 20 pages? Alas, it is actually possible with just 3 pages left till the end. All this amazing work was actually ruined on the last 3 pages! Where the brilliant writing suddenly turned pompous, orotund, and utterly empty. That is when I looked at the Goodreads page to check if there is another book coming. Authors usually don't do cliffhangers like that, if they are not writing the next installment. Unfortunately, even though the second book is supposedly scheduled for the next year, it doesn't have its own page yet and no information is available. So now I'm not sure. It was a steady growing 5-star review up till the very last pages, where my opinion plunged to about 3 stars. Since I enjoyed the book very much (and I do want to see the second one), I'm inclined to be lenient and still give it 5 stars. I just need a promise the journey will be as good in the second book.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Tara (Spinatale Reviews)

    The first time I picked up A Declaration of the Right of Magicians, I wasn’t sold. So I decided to put it aside and come back to it because I loved the author’s first book. And I’m so glad that I did. If you’ve thought “I want history but make it magic,” pick this one up. As it says in the Acknowledgments, this book is an amalgam of the real history of Britain, France, and Haiti in the eighteenth century. Just with magic to make things even more interesting. And Parry blended everything together The first time I picked up A Declaration of the Right of Magicians, I wasn’t sold. So I decided to put it aside and come back to it because I loved the author’s first book. And I’m so glad that I did. If you’ve thought “I want history but make it magic,” pick this one up. As it says in the Acknowledgments, this book is an amalgam of the real history of Britain, France, and Haiti in the eighteenth century. Just with magic to make things even more interesting. And Parry blended everything together seamlessly. I found it fascinating to see how the abolitionist movement grew and changed over time. And how certain events set the movement back or moved it forward. The beginning is a bit slow as everything gets set up. But the time that Parry took to lay the groundwork for the rest of the novel is so well-spent. In general, the world-building in this novel is just breathtaking. Not only did Parry create a brilliant magic system but she integrated it perfectly into real-world politics. The characters were all beautifully brought to life, with all of their flaws and foibles. A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians struck the perfect balance between political intrigue, intricate world-building, and action. I’m really hoping that we get a sequel in the future though because I need to know what happens to these characters (okay, I already know the general idea because of the internet rabbit hole I fell down after reading but I want the magic version). While it is long and, at times, rather dense, A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians will leave you thinking long after you turn the final page. I would definitely recommend this one if you’re intrigued by the summary. *Disclaimer: I received a digital advance copy of this book for free from the publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

  24. 5 out of 5

    thewoollygeek (tea, cake, crochet & books)

    I absolutely loved this book (which is very good because I have a Goldsboro’s edition preordered) Parry is an artist of the written word, using it to enthrall me and weave it’s web around my imagination. I really didn’t want to leave this world whenever I had to put it down because reality called. The research that has gone into writing this future classic to me is evident in the reading, it’s just perfect, intelligent and creative. It’s humorous, dark and also emotional. You need to read this b I absolutely loved this book (which is very good because I have a Goldsboro’s edition preordered) Parry is an artist of the written word, using it to enthrall me and weave it’s web around my imagination. I really didn’t want to leave this world whenever I had to put it down because reality called. The research that has gone into writing this future classic to me is evident in the reading, it’s just perfect, intelligent and creative. It’s humorous, dark and also emotional. You need to read this book. If I could give it more stars I would. Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a free copy for an honest opinion

  25. 4 out of 5

    Geonn Cannon

    This book is... astounding. Truly remarkable. Some will hate it, and I see a few low reviews, and I get it. Parts of this book really feel like work to get through. But it's never unrewarding. The work that had to go into this book, not just the story but to get the tone of an actual 19th century novel down so well... I'm amazed. It's a fine successor to Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (I was completely unsurprised when the author's note at the end revealed she has animals named after characters i This book is... astounding. Truly remarkable. Some will hate it, and I see a few low reviews, and I get it. Parts of this book really feel like work to get through. But it's never unrewarding. The work that had to go into this book, not just the story but to get the tone of an actual 19th century novel down so well... I'm amazed. It's a fine successor to Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (I was completely unsurprised when the author's note at the end revealed she has animals named after characters in that book), and one of the best historical fantasies I've ever read. Also, as an aside, it was perfectly timed to finally see Hamilton and then dive into a book featuring the French Revolution (avec un petit twist).

  26. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    "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 "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 potion each day to suppress their magic and keep them subservient. But, Revolution is in the air and in Haiti and Santo Domingo, there is open rebellion. In London, abolition is hotly debated. In Paris, Robespierre breaks open the gates to the Bastille. Exhaustively researched, very detailed, at times, the reading is dense and too-filled with political minutiae so that it's not always a smooth read. It's definitely not for everyone. Nevertheless, the concepts are fascinating. Many thanks to the publisher for providing a copy for review.

  27. 4 out of 5

    KitKat The #BookNerd KBbookreviews

    A rich tale of revolution, magic and conflict. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Rating: 4.5 out of 5. 4.5 Stars Synopsis: It’s the Age Of Enlightenment, a revolution is brewing in France – spearheaded by Camille and Robespierre, Britain’s political stance is shifting at the hands of Pitt and Wilberforce, abolitionists are rising up to put a stop to slavery, and Fina and Toussaint are determined to free their people. The Common people want to use their magic freely, but at what cost? A war is brewing and blood will be shed, bu A rich tale of revolution, magic and conflict. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Rating: 4.5 out of 5. 4.5 Stars Synopsis: It’s the Age Of Enlightenment, a revolution is brewing in France – spearheaded by Camille and Robespierre, Britain’s political stance is shifting at the hands of Pitt and Wilberforce, abolitionists are rising up to put a stop to slavery, and Fina and Toussaint are determined to free their people. The Common people want to use their magic freely, but at what cost? A war is brewing and blood will be shed, but how much of this is for freedom? CW/TW: Torture/Abuse, Slavery, Violence, Gore, Murder/Death, War A Declaration Of The Rights Of Magicians, by HG Parry is a clever and immersive tale of revolution, politics, freedom and war. This is the first book I have read by HG Parry so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect but I have to say this was a fantastic read. This book is beautifully written, Parry masterfully creates a dynamic story with a wide scope spanning across multiple years and countries. The scope of the story is perfectly aided by the narrative structure – We get multiple third person narratives from each of the key characters in Britain, France and Jamaica and each of their stories align and come together perfectly. I really enjoyed each perspective of this story, though I feel we didn’t get as much of Fina as we did the other characters at least not until the last quarter of the book. I will admit this book is incredibly heavy on politics, there are a lot of debates, talks about legislation and reforms, as well as abolition of current regimes – so if you are not one for political intrigue and debates then this book may not be for you. However, this was the perfect read for me, the politics was engaging, the debates dynamic and powerful, and the web of laws, reforms and abolitions was impactful and impressive. Parry certainly knows how to weave an impressive story filled with politics without losing the attention of the readers. Each narrative perspective has a unique voice and view of the social unrest during this time period along with a unique look at the magic Parry has incorporated into the story. On the whole, Parry’s writing is beautiful, captivating and magical. There is the perfect balance of beautiful descriptions of magic, characters and settings contrasted with the harsh realities of revolutions, slavery and oppression. The actual story is wonderfully crafted. Parry seamlessly combines magic and fiction with history making it appear natural and realistic. We follow multiple different strands that all eventually become tied together. In Britain we follow Pitt and Wilberforce, two close friends with an affinity for politics and speaking, as they accumulate political power. Their story starts with them, and their friend Eliot, as young 20 something year olds who are seen as rising stars in the government, particularly Pitt. The three are more progressive than the majority and hope to move towards broadening the legal use of Commoner magic, specifically Pitt and Wilberforce, as they believe magic should not just be reserved for the Aristocracy. The two work to use the law in order to produce social change, Pitt as the eventual Prime Minister, and Wilberforce as an independent and abolitionist. Their views quickly widen to wishing to abolish the slave trade, despite the heavy opposition, and in turn abolishing spellbinding. However, in the midst of the political battle to abolish the slave trade and free commoner magicians, Pitt and Wilberforce soon realise there is a dark and terrifying mastermind who is manipulating their opposition subsequently creating tension between France and Britain. The two encounter multiple supernatural threats that lead them to this dark and mysterious figure – though the threat may be greater than they ever could have imagined. There is an excellent blend of human and magical/supernatural threats throughout this story, but we are always returned to the core of each problem – humans. Though there is magic and ‘supernatural’ beings that exist, the most demanding, dangerous and cruelest threat is humans and the oppression they create – this story had the perfect historical setting for the message it construes. This is further developed upon in the second thread of the story, France. We follow Robespierre and Camille as the spearhead the French Revolution, desperate to build a new France where everyone can use magic freely the French people take to uprising and protests to enforce social change. A stark contrast to the slow, reformatory approach taken by Britain, instead we get a more dynamic and passionate attempt at change. Though Robespierre initially attempts to make changes via his profession as a lawyer, he quickly aids Camille who is a revolutionary to fan the sparks of protest until Robespierre himself eventually becomes the face and drive behind the revolution. This was an intriguing thread in the story because Robespierre is not as passionate or impulsive as Camille so we see him slowly grow to make more and more difficult and questionable decisions in the name of freedom. If this wasn’t enough, Robespierre isn’t acting alone – a voice in his head and in his dreams is masterminding a plan of his own and guiding Robespierre’s revolution. This was extremely interesting because it allows us to grapple with the question to what extent are these Robespierre’s choices? For a character seemingly mild and more of a bystander he grows to make crueller and more horrifying decisions in the name of the revolution. I found this element of the story fascinating because revolutions are messy and this shows you just how easy it can be to cross the line because freedom comes at a cost but can the price be too high? The French storyline truly illustrates Parry’s masterful writing as it shows just how perfectly she can incorporate magic and a unique magical history into our own history without distorting it or changing any of the crucial points. We have a clear view of this time period, staying true to what occurred but we also have the addition of magic and the history this brings, namely the Vampire Wars. This book seamlessly blends real and fictional history together with very real and believable results and effects of this time. The third thread of the story is that of Jamaica, that eventually links with Saint Domingue. This is where we follow Fina, a young woman who was stolen from her homeland and forced to become a slave on a plantation. Parry truly captures the horror of this part of history, and doesn’t shy away from drawing a stark picture of this brutal and shocking time – not only does she draw light on how monstrous this was she manages to use her fictional magic to illustrate just how awful it was. Fina is taken when she is young and forced onto a boat that takes her miles away from her home, on the ship she is Spellbound – a process of feeding those taken a magical elixir making them unable to move their body unless given direct orders from the slave owners, moreover it suppresses any magic they may have rendering it useless. We follow Fina as she somehow breaks free after years of being bound as a slave and follows a voice calling for them to take revenge. Fina’s narrative is shorter than the other two, but in the scheme of the story it does make sense because as her story combines with the other two threads more of the mystery behind the monster in the darkness is revealed as are the results of the war brewing between France and Britain. The scope of this story is very broad, though the details are impeccable, and watching as the three narrative become intertwined was fascinating. The conflicts between the characters naturally grow alongside the political and revolutionary conflicts and become a key part of the story that is truly intriguing. Friendships and trust become strained and tested, conflicts between those who have only ever supported you test the characters resilience and betrayal has brutal results. Moreover, the conflict between characters across the sea is beautifully depicted despite them never meeting because it shows the tensions that rise due to social unrest and looming wars. Despite being based on our own history, thus we know the result of some events (i.e we know what happens to the King of France, and we can foresee King George’s insanity) the story still manages to be engaging and surprising by committing to making the twists and turns occur on a personal level between characters, as well as using the fictional history and magic to create new and surprising events without harming the real history and events. The magic that exists in this world is fascinating, it exists in so many unique forms from being able to use/control the weather, to control over the elements, to being able to summon and use shadows, it is incredible diverse but the system is meticulous. Magic exists and is passed down through the bloodlines, though bloodlines are not enough to ensure a magical child. Moreover, certain forms of magic are seen as dark magic, stemming from the fictional magical history that exists, these include things such as necromancy and blood magic, and the magic is governed by the Templars who test children at birth to see if they have magic or not. The dark forms of magic are (mostly – shadowmancers are allowed) not allowed to exist in the world, blood magicians were eradicated – they came to be known as Vampires because they could become immortal through sacrifices – the horror of the ‘Vampire Wars’ lead to their eradication. The magic and its own embedded history is rich and well developed, we learn about it all naturally and organically without feeling like we are having information dumped on us, it is also masterfully entwined with the story and real/natural history. There is also a social divide in terms of magic, the Common people are not allowed to use magic freely and are given a bracelet at birth that will burn them and let out a high pitch whistle should they use their magic – only the Aristocracy are allowed to use magic freely – which is a crucial part of the revolution and social change that occurs throughout the story. While we have the revolution, abolition of slavery, and the dark mysterious villains plot driving this story it is, at heart, a character driven tale. Everything that occurs is because of the characters choices, be it cruelty or kindness. The revolution is brought about my Camille/Robespierre/suspicious dark figure, the abolition of slavery is bought about by Pitt/Wilberforce, and the uprising of the slaves themselves is propelled by Fina and Toussaint. The characters are where this story shines, we all know roughly the history, so it is down to the characters and their magic to make this story engaging and they do so wonderfully. The characters are diverse in terms of race/ethnicity as this story spans across several countries – it also appears male dominated but that is simply a result of being based on actual history and Parry does her best at incorporating strong female characters around the historical male figures, as well as including Fina and giving her her own perspective. Each character is incredibly well developed, particularly despite the large cast. They all are dynamic, unique and complex with their own strengths and flaws making them realistic and relatable. Moreover, every single characters development over the course of the story is intriguing and raw – their developments are human and messy but they still stick to their values – it was incredibly well done and I could easily connect with the characters. Not only are the characters outstanding as individuals, their relationships are a highlight throughout the story, particularly Pitt and Wilberforce’s friendship. Despite being a story about shocking oppression and the questionable nature of humanity, we still get to see the good in people through the friendships built over the course of the book by those wishing for equality. There are a lot of contrasts between the characters and relationships and the trust between them all is frequently tested – I absolutely adored each connection the characters made and cannot wait to see how this changes or progresses in the next book. There is so much more I could say regarding the plot, the characters and the magic in this story but I don’t want to spoil anything and it is definitely better to experience it for yourself because this story is so rich and immersive! Overall, this is a rich and immersive story where the magic hums through every single page. It is a brilliant take on our history and the incorporation of magic was flawless. This was an excellent story of humanity, social change and friendship – it will stop and make you think but also captivate you and compel you to rush through the story. *I received a free ARC from Orbit/Nazia @Gambit589 in exchange for an honest review – A big thankyou to the publisher!*

  28. 5 out of 5

    Adriana

    Wow. Just wow. I feel like this is the kind of story that you will either fall headfirst into and devour or you'll find tedious and hate. It's all a matter of being willing to fully immerse yourself in an alternate history of which the French Revolution and the slave trade are powerful, if slightly depressing, elements. Major props to Parry for keeping historical elements as accurate as possible while infusing the world with what feels like a long magical history that falls into place seamlessly Wow. Just wow. I feel like this is the kind of story that you will either fall headfirst into and devour or you'll find tedious and hate. It's all a matter of being willing to fully immerse yourself in an alternate history of which the French Revolution and the slave trade are powerful, if slightly depressing, elements. Major props to Parry for keeping historical elements as accurate as possible while infusing the world with what feels like a long magical history that falls into place seamlessly and believably. Getting to see every act from three very different perspectives and getting to know the characters through the years/pages makes for a truly compelling read. Even more so when you grow to feel like they're real people and you just know what's in store for them... The one thing I could complain about is that it does get rather realistic in the depiction of certain things, particularly the slavery parts of the story. It's almost enough to make one stop reading, but it really is necessary for the story and it really does pay off as an integral part of character development. Overall, I found this to be a truly original take on alternate history that adds magic to the world in a most realistic way. Undeniably worth the read. Major thanks to Netgalley and Redhook Books for the chance to read it in exchange for an honest review.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Siavahda

    I’ve seen this book getting a lot of comparisons to Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, which I think is a little unfair; JS&MR has a kind of intrinsic light-heartedness to it, even when things get very serious indeed, and a sly wryness that invites the reader in on a joke the characters themselves are not in on. It’s big and fun and warm. A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians (say that ten times fast) is a thoroughly brilliant masterpiece of historical fantasy, and it shouldn’t be getting compared I’ve seen this book getting a lot of comparisons to Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, which I think is a little unfair; JS&MR has a kind of intrinsic light-heartedness to it, even when things get very serious indeed, and a sly wryness that invites the reader in on a joke the characters themselves are not in on. It’s big and fun and warm. A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians (say that ten times fast) is a thoroughly brilliant masterpiece of historical fantasy, and it shouldn’t be getting compared to anything. It stands squarely on its own, rich and complex and utterly delicious – but tackling head-on the indescribable horrors of slavery, the poisoned ideals of the French Revolution, and the disgusting hypocrisy of those in power – including those who consider themselves good men. How to describe it in a way that does it justice? I can’t speak to its historical accuracy – this isn’t a period of history I’m familiar with – but Parry has used several important historical personages as characters, including William Pitt, William Wilberforce, and Maximilien Robespierre – the Prime Minister of ‘Great’ Britain, a famous abolitionist, and one of the guiding powers of the French Revolution, respectively. Although there is one other POV character, these three form the holy trinity of the novel, for the most part. Like I said, I knew next to nothing about these people or this time period going into A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians. But Parry very much brought both the personages and time to life for me in these pages. Read the rest at Every Book a Doorway!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sophie

    I feel like what this book had going for it was also ultimately its downfall. I found it incredibly smart that Parry wove magic into pre-existing historical events. The subtlety of that change feels like a perfect example of how alternate history should be done, and yet the choice of events itself don't make for a compelling story. The French Revolution and demolition of the slave trade are both incredibly interesting on their own, and yet taking it from a political perspective is exhaustingly t I feel like what this book had going for it was also ultimately its downfall. I found it incredibly smart that Parry wove magic into pre-existing historical events. The subtlety of that change feels like a perfect example of how alternate history should be done, and yet the choice of events itself don't make for a compelling story. The French Revolution and demolition of the slave trade are both incredibly interesting on their own, and yet taking it from a political perspective is exhaustingly tedious. Previous reviewers are right, there's just not enough magic slipped in to make it captivating. The POV shift from France to England to Jamaica wasn't balanced enough, I thought. There was so much focus on the politicians in parliament and the revolutionaries plotting in France, and not nearly enough of the slaves taking action in Jamaica. The slave rebellion chapters were so sparse, I was genuinely confused by the end how it fit in with the rest of the novel, which is ironic, given how the slave trade is what drew all the characters together. I found myself wondering what the point of including it at all in the plot was. This book is very heavily reliant on telling and not showing, so a lot of the action is explained through dialogue, instead of the reader getting to see the action directly for themselves. So although the history was all extremely detailed, the fantastical portion of it all felt incredibly vague in comparison. Vampires are mentioned as the main point of conflict of the plot, and yet we never see them at their most sinister, short of causing chaos and twisting people's minds. None of the magic felt particularly well-developed, and not used nearly enough. Things like the magical revolts could have taken up more page time, and the politics a lot less. I just didn't find these white men in history particularly interesting, and would have liked a varied perspective. Overall, I was just very bored, but it did make me want to read around the French Revolution, which I'm already fascinated by...

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