A review by malin
The Brilliant Death, by A.R. Capetta


This book is set in a world inspired by 19th century Italy with queer people that say fuck you to the gender binary. The promise sounds amazing, and I should have loved it but I was left with very mixed feelings.

Gender. Neither the main character Teo nor her genderfluid love interest fit in to the binary view of gender. Teo is allowed to questions her gender identity throughout the book, which I liked. It also had other gender discussions which I enjoyed.

Queer. I’m a simple girl with simple needs, (although it was a bit instant-lovey) I enjoyed it.

Teo. She was a nice protagonist that never annoyed me.

Magic System. The concept of the magic system was interesting
Spoiler, especially with how the magic is passed down through the brilliant death.

World. I should have liked it in theory but it felt kind of underdeveloped? The Capo and the inspiration setting could have been more fleshed out, and the world generally felt kind of lacklustre.

Magic System. Although I liked the concept of the magic system it was often too vague. There wasn’t really any clear rules or limitations for how the magic was used.

Plot.I couldn’t care less. The plot was rushed but the scenes sometimes dragged.

Side-Characters. So. Many. Characters. With. So. Little. Page. Time.

Writing. Meh. It was telly at times and used my pet peeve of calling someone by a characteristic when you know their name (e.g. Celio is called “The strega” all the fucking time). It’s especially annoying when it’s the love interest and it’s a first person pov.

I liked everything in theory, but only half of it in practice.