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10 thoughts on “The Brilliant Death

  1. says:

    Someone hey Me busy being emotionally invested in this 19th century mafia story featuring genderfluid shape shifters an amazing ueer romance and an iconic and unabashed obliteration of the concept of gender binary shhh please be uiet So what’s this book about? Teodora di Sangro the daughter of a mafia don pays for the safety of her family with the coin of her own conscience parceled out every time she wields her secret magic—a shadow talent of turning her father’s enemies into decorative objects—until that purse is empty at last To Teo “family is fate” and family comes with very strict lines and dedicated pigeonholes for everyone and a burn of bitterness at the knowledge that her vindictive eldest brother should inherit the title that should have been hers with none of the hardship that had made her so desperate for it When another high lord sends out poisoned letters to the dons of the five families including her father in a desperate clawing for advantage Teo must journey to the capital masuerading as the di Sangro heir to save her father but a simple disguise won’t doEnter Cielo a genderfluid shape shifting strega who will tutor Teo and help her uncover the truths about her magic that’s she’s been mining for like shaking dust from a tapestry of wonder But Teo and Cielo uickly find out that a uell board has been set up the game already in play and all they could trust in the shifting sands of the capital’s politics is each other “We’re not like them Or rather we are and we aren’t People hold a deep fear of complication”  Do you get all giddy at YA fantasy? Do you relish stories that blend magic and political intrigues? Are you craving new diverse and inclusive fiction? If you answered yes to all three of those uestions then this book is just for youThe Brilliant Death is a lively uick moving fantasy that makes sure readers know and like its characters well enough to care when threat comes for them The intimidating and intricate workings of the mafia life provide an intriguing backdrop for the action—and power is a tangle of threads that everyone wants to clench in their fists which ratchets up the tension and drives the novel to its bloody but satisfying conclusionAlthough The Brilliant Death sometimes flounders until it finds its footing characters seen only briefly early on in the book come to ends that don't feel necessary or earned villains lack enough depth and care and detail in their development and the story’s momentum suffers as a result of keeping a tight narrow focus on the romance between Cielo and Teo I wasn’t bothered enough to get thrown out of the story I was very engrossed in the exploration of gender identity and the pull of family and history and other powerful themes and I think therein rests the reward for seeing this book throughCielo and Teo are two sharp minds two fearless hearts thrust together by chance and bound together by a single purpose who discover that they have much in common than the magic pulsing through their veins Both identify as genderfluid and use their magic to pour with ease into and out of whatever shapes they please It was utterly nourishing to see them given enough space to explore and frankly discuss their sexuality and gender identity As Teo and Cielo bond together and we’re treated to a romance that illustrates the power of a well matched pairing the story pushes on the deepest uestions ingrained into their hearts and blossoms into a thoughtful emotionally complex and absorbing tale “Understanding rustled through me soft as leaves It wasn’t uite 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 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”  Teodora’s arc in particular was incredible She was the daughter of a mafia don who had kept the face of the world veiled from her She was lost in the deep narrow space between the two forms girls were allowed to take but that only shored up her resolve to be than what was preordained for her speaking each want and ambition like a stone she built her future with I was rooting for her all alongAll uibbles aside The Brilliant Death was a solidly crafted and very engaging novel that has representation in sorely needed ways

  2. says:

    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 trinket added to Teo's collection You'd better learn it fast while Teo's around no one screws with the di SangrosHell yeahFrom there a bigger fantasy world opens up filled with stregas and other Italian inspired elements like the mafia and it's leader or Capo Teo has long kept her magic a secret from her family but she is forced to use it and when a magically poisoned letter arrives and leaves her father dying The book blends magic and politics really well Teo must uickly learn to harness her magic for her family's sake though enemies are everywhere one even being her vindictive older brother Beniamo The dynamic first person prose keeps the pages turning at a fast pace; in fact I would argue that the book could have slowed down in parts but as criticisms go that's not a bad one to haveBut you want to know what really made me like this book? I mean than the strong writing charismatic narrator and fast paced political machinations? Cielo was a wild strega I was a di Sangro We could only lose each other CIELO Be still my beating heart I think I'm in love I didn't realize it before reading this book but a sexy gender fluid strega is absolutely what has been missing from my life Cielo is one of those characters You know the ones The mysterious kinda naughty cheeky characters who you can't help falling in love with And Cielo who sometimes appears as a boy and sometimes as a girl becomes Teo's magic tutor and the interactions between the two of them are wonderfulMuch of the story is about being a girl not uite being a girl and defining yourself outside of other people's expectations The uiet power of the book's conclusion left me with shivers down my spine I think the author leaves the story in a good place; only time will tell whether The Brilliant Death is a standalone or a series but for now at least it feels like the end Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube

  3. says:

    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 3 12 stars This was so freaking interesting A story following a genderueer 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 American author Like come on how can I even resist that? The Brilliant Death follows Teo who after her father is murdered is forced to journey to the capital of her state to attempt to save his life Along the way a form changing witch joins her She also turns several terrible men into inanimate objects which is something I am always here for Fundamental to this book is a discussion of denial of identity Lead character Teodora has both denied her identity as a witch and denied her complicated relationship with her gender I absolutely loved the coherency with which her arc around discovering herself tied together her character journey is one of my favorite aspects of this book And with this the book becomes a journey about hiding places and the way we can hide love and hide ueerness in plain sight There’s a clear avoidance of the inevitable outing which I almost expected throughout the book and I was incredibly impressed by how well Capetta handled this There is also a romance and it is fairly shockingly good Cielo the love interest is a bit of the Rogue Hero trope in the best way They sometimes appear as a boy and sometimes as a girl but are never uite either Sort of related the book’s utter refusal of gender is too powerful This is #ownvoices for both nonbinary characters and it is just so excellent Unfortunately there are also some cliche moments A death I didn’t like Some villain monologuing Plot is often forgotten for the admittedly very good romance Though the villains do have shades of well intentioned extremist they aren’t very memorable sisters Azzura and Delfina are the only exceptions I could have had of Teo’s love for her family And I did not vibe with some of the writing It's mostly really good and then sometimes sentences just feel weird I have to be honest though and say that my #1 favorite moment of this book was when Amy Rose Capetta called her partner Cori “my very own sexy magic tutor” in the acknowledgments I personally love romance ✨ Arc received via my local bookstore for an honest review releases 8 October 2018Blog | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube

  4. says:

    Well this book was most thoroughlywait for itBRILLIANT oh please you absolutely knew I was going to say that I was given an opportunity and I took it I was absolutely in love with the premise as soon as I heard about it and it turned out to be everything I want in a fantasy? It absolutely kicked it's way past generic doors and gave us what we crave ueer narrators strong family ties really interesting and different world building magic that's sometimes soft and sometimes terrible and the absolute sweetest and most cunning characters ever Sweet AND cunning is my favourite combination I will just smoosh this book to my heart It is Brilliant™Also I'm freaking relieved to see it's got seuels coming because that ending was not where I am to be left Do not leave me like thisI listened to the audiobook which 1010 would recommend However this is going to leave me in this really awkward place where I have legit no idea how to spell anything Lmao Please forgive me? If left to myself I would've said the narrators were Tao Dro and Cello instead of Teodora and Cielo But I loved the narrator and she did amazing accents and really recommend➸ First things first super super stoked to have a fantasy starring a genderfluid narrator AND the love interest is genderfluid I can't speak on any of this from experience but I just feltit was really beautifully done I loved how Teo talked about when they were in boy form that they weren't in disguise They were themselves Just changed The book really talks about change too a lot how you can be scared of it and embrace it Both Teo and Ceilo use himher throughout the story and they are attracted to each the whole time too It's just ueer fantasy plsAlso I just found this super perfect article by the author on why they wrote TeoCeilo This is a love letter to the author's identity and their partner yeah emotions from me afjdkasd i love ownvoices stories i love that they got to tell their truth like this➸ The characters just so easily stole my heartFrom Teo being such a Gryffindor with a good dash of scheming and then to Cielo who was a bit of an enigma but so adorable and pointy and opinionated and stubborn I loved Cielo so bad omg They loved their magic and taught Teo how to love it Basically Cielo shapeshifts the whole book even into rain and clouds Teo's power was focused on changing people into objects Which really reminded me of Holly Black's Curseworker books??? But ok ok I can move past that And omg I loved them together They made each other the best they could be And Teo being Cielo's anchor just ajfdklsd gave me far too many emotions for my cold dead heartI did not come here to feel things But I felt many things Definitely than three➸ The plot has everything too wow did they cover it allI mean is it a YA fantasy without a masuerade scene But we also have a journey and a castle with like an epic fantasy Italian esue mafia family and Teo ends up in the city to scheme against the Capo There are gods and the church and superstition and possible invaders THERE IS SO MUCH FOOD And there is so so much strega that's the term for the magicianswitches in the book magic and lore that I so appreciated The basic underline is There is WORLD BUILDING and it manages to be rich without being info dumpy which is a true freaking blessing➸ My only very small thing to note isIt did feel a bit overpacked at times Like there was a lot going on and then at the end we had to just push through a ton to wrap up all these threads And leaving view spoilerCeilo with justnothing??? for so so much of the ending drove me mad??? I didn't get how Teo was just like oh yeah I saved my dad and literally left Ceilo in the woods with my insane bro but it'll be fine and she didn't go back for him THEY HAD TO FIND HER I JUST hide spoiler

  5. says:

    If any of this interests you I highly recommend picking this up 19th century Italy inspired world mafia family political intrigue uniue magic system ueer main character genderfluid love interest

  6. says:

    non binary leads in a pre unification Italy mafioso family fantasy aw yiss

  7. says:

    I wanted to love this one bc the ueer rep was AMAZING but I’d be lying if I said the plot didn’t have my eyes glazing over for 90% of the book It takes a lot for me to like fantasy and this just didn’t do it for me 😕 womp

  8. says:

    Normally when I read a book the I read the I understand In this case the I read the less I saw the point of this story The beginning sounded exciting a mafia daughter with hidden abilities has an important mission to accomplish and is helped by another power wielding boygirl who she falls forBut I didn’t care about any of the secondary characters Even the villain wasn’t really a villain and not very surprising Cielo the person Teo falls for who can change between boy and girl was uite elusive so much that I lost interest in her after a while And I didn’t understand why hisher pronoun wasn’t ‘‘them’’ I didn’t understand hisher character very well to be honestIt’s a shame because I thought this author’s ECHO AFTER ECHO was fantastic and original The I think about it the I want to re read it But this was messy and weird The magic had little to no back story The thing about the brilliant death was er odd But above everything I just didn’t care about the plot any after the halfway point and didn’t bother finishing the last 100 pages Teo was fine and so was the writing but everything else wasn’t worth reading aboutBlog | Youtube | Twitter | Instagram | Google | Bloglovin’

  9. says:

    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

  10. says:

    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

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The Brilliant Death For Teodora DiSangro a mafia don’s daughter family is fateAll 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 realThen the Capo the land’s new ruler sends poisoned letters to the heads of the Five Families that have long controlled Vinalia Four lie dead and Teo’s beloved father is gravely ill To save him Teo must travel to the capital as a DiSangro son—not merely disguised as a boy but transformed into one Enter Cielo a strega who can switch back and forth between male and female as effortlessly as turning a page in a book Teo and Cielo journey together to the capital and Teo struggles to master her powers and to keep her growing feelings for Cielo locked in her heart As she falls in love with witty irascible Cielo Teo realizes how much of life she’s missed by hiding her true nature But she can’t forget her mission and the closer they get to the palace the sinister secrets they uncover about what’s really going on in their beloved country—and the determined Teo becomes to save her family at any cost

  • Hardcover
  • 352 pages
  • The Brilliant Death
  • Amy Rose Capetta
  • English
  • 19 January 2016

About the Author: Amy Rose Capetta

Amy Rose Capetta the author of Echo After Echo holds a master of fine arts in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts She lives in Vermont with her partner author Cori McCarthy and their young son