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The Brilliant Death

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  231 Ratings  ·  123 Reviews
For Teodora DiSangro, a mafia don’s daughter, family is fate.

All her life, Teodora has hidden the fact that she secretly turns her family’s enemies into music boxes, mirrors, and other decorative objects. After all, everyone in Vinalia knows that stregas—wielders of magic—are figures out of fairytales. Nobody believes they’re real.

Then the Capo, the land’s new ruler, sends
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published October 30th 2018 by Viking
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Elyse After reading the book, there's no doubt in my mind that there will be a sequel.

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Emily May
Jun 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, fantasy, arc, 2018
Teodora di Sangro’s life is built on secrets.

The Brilliant Death sucked me in pretty much instantly when the protagonist - Teo di Sangro, who is a strega - waltzes onto the page and turns a man into a music box for threatening the well-being of her family. As it turns out, this guy is just one more trinket added to Teo's collection. You'd better learn it fast: while Teo's around, no one screws with the di Sangros.

Hell yeah.

From there, a bigger fantasy world opens up, filled with stregas and ot
Em (RunawayWithDreamthieves)
someone: hey

me, busy being emotionally invested in this 19th century mafia story featuring genderfluid shape-shifters, an amazing queer romance and an iconic & unabashed obliteration of the concept of gender binary: shhh please be quiet
Elise (TheBookishActress)
I had discovered a special way that women could be dangerous. They were trained to play close attention to people. To take them apart, like Luca had done with his clockworks, and study how they ran.

This was so. freaking. interesting. A story following a genderqueer narrator who can turn people into boxes, and her love interest who can literally magically switch sexes, all set in a 19th-century-Italian-inspired world by an Italian author. Like, come on, how can I even resist that?

The Brillian
Nov 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: october-tbr
If any of this interests you I highly recommend picking this up:
- 19th century Italy inspired world
- mafia family
- political intrigue
- unique magic system
- queer main character
- genderfluid love interest
may ➹
Amy Rose Capetta called her partner her “very own sexy magic tutor” in the acknowledgements and your loss if you don’t want to read a book about sexy magic tutors, magic that can turn men into objects, and gay

// buddy read with felix and bad memory
⚔ Silvia ⚓
I've thought about it and while a lot of the premise of this book sounds amazing, as an Italian person the mafia element makes me way too uncomfortable to even consider reading it.
Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥
What's this magic and when can I read it?!

I mean:
- A Mafia don's daughter
- A gender fluid character
- Magic!!!
- A queer romance
- Some sort of blood feud?!

Sign me up!! I need this in my life ASAP!!!
This is what I call intriguing. XD
julianna ➹
wow our main characters are a genderfluid couple, amazing
Nov 12, 2018 rated it did not like it
DNF 32%

When I first decided to DNF this over the weekend I had a lot to say about it. Now, I just don't care. I don't care enough for a roast, I don't care enough for a lengthy review, I just do. not. care. about this book.

At. All.

What I do care about is that I freaking bought this at full price, which I never do and it was so disappointing, and now I'm pissed and I want my money back. So, without further adiu a quick run through.

1. The characters were boring and flat. I didn't care what they t
Vicky Who Reads
Oct 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs
4 stars

If I could pick three words to describe this book with, it would be "lush," "conspiratorial," and "queer."

Because this book is "lush" in almost every way:

- It's magic system--with the strega who are going through a time of change as people attempt to exploit their magic and use it for nefarious purposes--fully embodies the word "lush" with the elegant way the magic works and its smooth execution.
- "Lush" in the way that the characters are rich and developed and shaped in a way that you un
Jun 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
3 1/2 stars

The world definitely needs more sexy gender-bending magic tutors – I know I’ve always thought so, and this book definitely delivers on the SGBMT’s. This is mostly a classic quest/court-intrigue type fantasy, but the beautiful writing and unique details kept me interested until the end.

Teodora (“Teo”) DiSangro has been her family’s secret assassin ever since she was small and realized that she was a strega who had the power to change people into everyday objects. Thanks in large part t
Marianne - November Words
Feb 15, 2017 marked it as to-read
Shelves: lgbtqa, already-out
Look at this premise. Look at it.
Aug 31, 2018 rated it it was ok
I had to do a little thinking before writing this review.

It’s likely clear from my star rating that I didn’t like it very much. I won’t give it one star because there was something I appreciated about it.

I like the fact that this is a diverse author who gives us a main character who is also diverse. I looked at the author’s website out of curiosity and she self identifies as bi, demi-girl, and queer. And this seems to be who her main character is, which is awesome. I think there will be readers
Sep 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is such an immersive, well-written fantasy! I love the Italian-inspired world and the gender fluid lovers, and the magic system is really well thought out.
With such a unique and intriguing premise, and one that promised magic, political intrigue and so much more, I couldn’t help but be excited for The Brilliant Death. And if the above wasn’t enough to hook me, add in mafia and gender-fluid characters, all set against a backdrop of a fantasy version of 19th century Italy, and I knew this was going to be a book that worked for me. And it most certainly did.

The action starts almost immediately, with Teodora DiSangro’s father rendered immobile and on
Tirzah Price
Mar 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant and humorous and adventurous. Your new favorite fantasy novel. Also, hella queer.
***I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review***

---Update: THERE WILL BE A SEQUEL!!!!!!!!---

I really enjoyed this book! It's probably more of a 3.5 stars for me. The writing and flow of the story is lovely. It kept me engaged and more than once, I caught myself thinking about the book when I wasn't reading it. The base of the story has SO much potential.

I loved how there was an Italian mafia feel to the families and the loyalties they had. You just get a sense that eve
Kath (Read Forevermore)
Oct 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-arcs, reviews
An arc of this book was sent to me by Penguin Teen in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Rating: 5 / 5

The Brilliant Death is a BRILLIANT book, and yes I was waiting for forever to actually say that! It is set in an amazing fantasy world with stregas (which I looked up and it is the Italian word for witch that refers to a group of pagan magic users who protect Venice or the modern Italian Wiccan-styled witch) and other Italian-inspired elements. This book was high
Oct 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
I can’t quite decide between 3.5 and 4 stars for this book, so I’m just rounding up to 4 for now. Overall The Brilliant Death felt unique and enjoyable, but it did have some issues.
Oct 31, 2018 marked it as did-not-finish
DNF at 30%.

I like stories that can make me feel--whether it's anger or devastation or happiness--and this book was the opposite of that. The flow, logic, and emotions delivered in this book felt incredibly unnatural to me. Conversations failed to connect, be it a simple explanation about something, or a situation developing from point A to point B. The protagonist also seemed so entirely detached from the deaths of her family members that I felt completely detached from the book too. The premis
*I received an early copy of this through the website, Bookish First - didn't change my opinion at all but thanks so much!*

This book will easily go down as one of the most surprising and intriguing reads that I read of all 2018. I've read such few books this year that have stood out, and this book brought sexiness, magic, and moreeeeeeeeeeeee.

I wasn't quite sure what I was getting when I first picked this book up. All I remembered was mafia but with magic, and like, that was enough for me? This
Aimee ♥ | Aimee, Always
why isn't anyone talking about this???????????
Jul 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: bookcon2018
I loved the beginning of this book. Teo is the daughter of the di Sangro family. Despite being the most suited to run the family, as a daughter, that’s not an option. Instead, Teo helps the family by secretly turning the family’s enemies into trinkets with the magic they’ve kept secret. How cool is that?!?

Teo meets Cielo, a strega (magic wielder) who can change their physical appearance at will, and starts to question their own gender. I loved the exploration into Teo’s gender, but I really did
Aug 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: queer, sf, ya
On its surface, this appears to be yet another addition to the string of Strong Female Protagonist Fantasy YA books that are crowding our shelves. This entry stands out above the others I've read in recent years thanks to the author's capable writing, a winning protagonist, and the thoughtful exploration of gender transformation-via-magic, folded into a court-and-family magic intrigue that play combine to heightened effect. Teo's journey is never simple, and warring duty to family and to self ar ...more
Claire (bookscoffeeandrepeat)
I'm not really sure how I felt about this.

It didn't seem as unique and intriguing as I expected. I can see how interesting this book can be for others especially after reading the blurb. However, I thought there was nothing unique about the premise and it didn't seem to completely capture my attention. I don't know if the pacing is slow for this book, and/or if I needed to immerse myself in this story. I maybe have to read a couple of chapters before I decide to continue on the story.
Amy Lou
Nov 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.25 stars
I REALLY enjoyed this. It was excellent and totally well done. The writing style was great and the magic system is so captivating. I’m definitely curious about what else this author writes.
Madalyn (Novel Ink)
Sep 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
I really enjoyed this! I don’t reach for fantasy very often these days, but this is exactly the kind of fantasy I love: beautiful writing, political intrigue, cool magic systems, and, of course, queer characters!!!
Lilly (Lair Of Books)
ARC received from the publisher in exchange for a honest review
Nov 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is literally everything that I’ve ever wanted in a book and I’m so happy this exists! I really really hope we get a sequel!!
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The Magic Mafiosa 1 6 Aug 18, 2018 01:25PM  
Amy Rose Capetta studied theater at the Stella Adler Studio as a teenager before spending four years in a Shakespeare troupe. Echo After Echo is her first book with Candlewick Press. Amy Rose Capetta lives in Michigan.
“I had discovered a special way that women could be dangerous. They were trained to play close attention to people. To take them apart, like Luca had done with his clockworks, and study how they ran.” 0 likes
“Understanding rustled through me, soft as leaves. It wasn’t quite the same, but I’d often felt I didn’t fit inside the boundaries of the word girl. It reminded me of a country I could happily visit, but the longer I stayed, the more I knew I couldn’t live there all the time. There were moments when I sorely wished to be free of the confines of this body, the expectations it seemed to carry.” 0 likes
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