eARC Review – Marrow Charm

Title: Marrow Charm (The Gate Cycle #1)

Author: Kristin Jacques

Publisher: The Parliament House

Publication date: October 1st, 2019

364 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

‘In his pursuit of the occult, the Third Reich opened the Gate to a realm of magic and brought the world to ruin. The Gate was eventually closed, but They were already in our world and They were hungry.’

-The Lost History, Library of Avergard

Azure ‘Azzy’ Brimvine lives in a world decimated by magic, where humans have retreated underground from the overwhelming dangers of the surface. But Below is no safer than Above.

Magic borne plagues continue to eat away at the remaining human cities, a sickness that doesn’t merely kill, but creates aberrations from the stricken: people twisted by magic into something dark, dangerous, and powerful. It is an existence of fear and constant dread. When Azzy’s brother, Armin, is infected and cast out into the Above, she sets out after him, determined to be there for him no matter what he becomes.

The world Above is full of monsters, both wild and cunning, some more human than Azzy was led to believe. Armin is captured and bound for the Auction block of Avergard, a ruthless city of inhuman lords and twisted creatures. To reach him, Azzy must brave the perils of the Above and the chaotic life forms created by the Gate. To reach him, she must find allies and forge new bonds in this broken world.

And Azzy must reach him, before Armin’s new power is used to open the Gate once more. 


**Thank you to The Parliament House, Netgalley, and Kristin Jacques for providing me a copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review**

Marrow Charm is set in a world where magic is not a desired gift, but a feared and malicious curse. Magic entered the world and twisted humans and animals into beasts that forget who they are and who are very dangerous. The world has moved underground, as the “Above” world is too dangerous to live in. When a human is “tainted” with magic, they are banished to the “Above”, as there is no stopping magic’s hold that dooms the human to either death or life as a monster.

Azzy is the daughter of a witch, living in one of the last human settlements below the surface. She is spending her life trying to protect her brother from the magic in his blood threatening to overtake him. A string of unfortunate events finds her brother cast out to Above, with her chasing after him to try and save him from herself. Her adventures take her across many miles, working with an eel lady, witch, and man/wolf. She has her own brand of magic, which isn’t really clearly explained throughout the book, just hinted at.

Marrow Charm is the first book in The Gate Cycle, a new series by Kristin Jacques. A high fantasy novel with monsters, magic, apocalyptic plagues, some light romance, and some slight cannibalism – Marrow Charm is exciting and well written for those who really enjoy fantasy. It has an interesting take on magic that you don’t generally see. Magic in books is something normally considered a gift or talent, something people should want to have. Marrow Charm creates a magical world where humans are begging to remain unaffected by magic. It creates an interesting dynamic.

I was a bit confused from time to time during some of the action scenes, and when Azzy’s specific powers were being discussed. It wasn’t very clear throughout the book what her powers are, as they don’t adhere to the normal rules. I’m assuming this will be more fleshed out and explained in a sequel.

Overall, a very good book and I would definitely check out a sequel.

Happy reading, bookish friends! 🙂

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