The Reach Between Worlds by CM Hayden
What I drank prior: State of the Union was tonight. Ginny and I made a drinking game that included lots of his -isms that caused us to kill a bottle and a half of wine plus one generously poured vodka soda. Ughhhhhhh
Spoiler-free Overview: This is the story of Taro and his sister Nima. When their parents fall ill, it’s up to them to support the family of 6. The only way these two teens can do that is by working for one of the most notorious crimelords in the city, Mathan. When he approaches them with a lucrative offer to help cure their parents, it’s impossible to say no. so off Taro and Nima go to magic-school to break out another infamous criminal. On the way, Taro meets a mysterious Magister named Aris, he makes friends, he figures out how to pay for school, etc. The magic source seems to be broken and no one knows why. This story is about Taro trying to figure out magic school while also taking care of his sister and a prison break all in the name of saving his family.
Spoiler-free Thoughts: I really really wanted to like this more, but it felt too much like Harry Potter, meets Mistborn, meets Name of the Wind. Also, a lot of the relationships in this book seem wildly out of character and don’t grow over time. I will say that it has good diversity and disability rep. (Taro has a prosthetic leg)
Characters: This is a shortcoming of this book. We understand Taro, but that’s it. There’s a love interest and my notes literally say “But why he love her?” Nima makes absolutely no sense. Aris reminds me of the crazy-wizard trope. His “friends” literally just come up to him on the first day and is like “wanna break the rules and ohbytheway we’re best friends now even though we’ve just met” UUGH
Plot: I will say the plot had potential. I predicted some things, but definitely not all of them. The plot twists and villain reveals were great. at times it felt like it was dragging along and in others it was like… wait what just happened? Things seem too easy for these literal beginners at magic. Oh, there’s a airship yard with a bunch of broken airships? Us 15-19 year olds can definitely make at least one of them work by doing what practices mechanics seem not to have been able to do. Def. It also seems unfinished. shrug emoji.
Writing Style: It’s not the most well edited book. It’s a debut and it shows. Goodreads tells me that the books get better, writing wise, as it moves along but i cannot bring myself to continue on with the series.
World Building: I actually liked this world. The magic system seems VERY Name of the Wind but in a steampunk way. I am a sucker for steampunk fantasy.
What to pair it with: I could not even tell you. It’s like peppermint schnapps. We all used to think it was great in college, and then you grow up and are like… oh. We were idiots.
Rating: 1.5/5 Shots
Until next time, we remain forever drunkenly yours,