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REVIEW: Subversive (Clandestine Magic Book 1) by Colleen Cowley

Updated: Jan 12, 2022

About the book:

A wizard. An unwilling assistant. An explosive secret.
In an America controlled by wizards and 100 years behind on women's rights, Beatrix Harper counts herself among the resistance—the Women's League for the Prohibition of Magic. Then Peter Blackwell, the only wizard her town has ever produced, unexpectedly returns home and presses her into service as his assistant.
Beatrix fears he wants to undermine the League. His real purpose is far more dangerous for them both.
Subversive is the first novel in the completed Clandestine Magic trilogy, set in a warped 21st century that will appeal to fans of gaslamp fantasy, strong female characters, slow-burn romance and intrigue.

Review by Christina Boyd:

Colleen Cowley shines with her debut novel Subversive, a 444-page political fantasy set in an America controlled by wizards, yet one hundred years behind women's rights. Beatrix Harper is an integral part of the resistance as her young sister leads the women’s fight for the prohibition of magic, but when wizard Peter Blackwell unexpectedly returns to their hometown and engages her as his assistant, she finds herself magically bound, locked in an uneasy detente.

When Beatrix discovers the secrets of both Blackwell and the government, she ponders the relative merits, and dangers, of what her own recently discovered magical powers mean for women, and the country. She must not only decide where her loyalties lie but navigate a personal and magical political minefield.

Cowley weaves a web of slow-burning forbidden romance and intrigue between wizard and his assistant in a fascinating and dangerous alternative 21st century America. If the rest of the books are as engaging and thought provoking as this page-turner, the “Clandestine Magic” series is sure to be a hit. Somebody call NetFlix!



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