M.K. England is an author and YA librarian who grew up on the Space Coast of Florida and now calls rural Virginia home. When they’re not writing or librarianing, MK can be found drowning in fandom, rolling dice at the gaming table, digging in the garden, or feeding their video game addiction. They love Star Wars with a desperate, heedless passion. It’s best if you never speak of Sherlock Holmes in their presence. You’ll regret it.
THE DISASTERS is their debut novel. Follow them at http://www.mkengland.com
by M.K. England
Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books
Release Date: January 21st 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
From the author of The Disasters, this genre-bending YA fantasy heist story is perfect for fans of Marie Lu and Amie Kaufman.
In Kyrkarta, magic—known as maz—was once a freely available natural resource. Then an earthquake released a magical plague, killing thousands and opening the door for a greedy corporation to make maz a commodity that’s tightly controlled—and, of course, outrageously expensive.
Which is why Diz and her three best friends run a highly lucrative, highly illegal maz siphoning gig on the side. Their next job is supposed to be their last heist ever.
But when their plan turns up a powerful new strain of maz that (literally) blows up in their faces, they’re driven to unravel a conspiracy at the very center of the spellplague—and possibly save the world.
“Honestly, princess, you are the most high-maintenance slob I’ve ever met.”
“Thought number one: badass. Thought number two: Remi is going to be the most excited. Thought number three: sounds super fake, can’t possibly be real, but if it is… Thought number four: sounds expensive.”
“I tip my head back to stare at the stars again, much more visible in this dark, broken neighborhood. The constellation of Ailia, the ancient dancing warrior of Firza, shines overhead, precariously balanced on one toe. I feel you, man. this is a tipping point for sure, but I know just how to give Jaesin a good shove over the edge.”
“MY HIPS BARELY FIT THROUGH the narrow basement window, but after a long, awkward moment staring out into the empty evening streets with my ass stuck inside the house, I finally tumble free. Extremely graceful exit – I’m sure everyone’s impressed.”
” I roll my eyes at myself. Woe is me, swoon. Whatever will I do? However will I manage? Get it together.”
This book was simply put awesome! The story follows Diz, a girl made an orphan by the original Spellplague and her gang of misfits: Remi the Maz wiz, they were hit with the spellplague but manages to live a relatively normal life, just with a few more visits to the Doctor. They are naturally able to control Maz, and can weave some kick ass spells. Jaesin is another orphan from the spellplague. He Diz and Remi grew up in the same orphanage and became fast friends. He’s the dad of the group, the protector and definitely the strength both literally and figuratively. And lastly we have Ania, the only gang member who isn’t an orphan, in fact her parents are ridiculously rich and she is able to fund the gear for most of the groups dark side of the law activities. She is also able to weave Maz, but only through the help of some gear created courtesy of Diz.
Diz herself is a fantastically written and utterly believable character. The book starts with the groups last heist before Remi and Jaesin disappear to Jattapore and Ania heads to University leaving Diz alone. We see her struggle with the reality of being abandoned by the only real family she’s known ever since the death of her parents. She can be a bit of a brat at times, but what teenager isn’t. Hilariously witty, unfortunately graceless and a technological wiz. When the gang discover a previously unheard of strain of Maz, it’s only Dizzy’s quick thinking that keep them from ‘disappearing.’
The world that the author creates is wonderfully unique. Maz or magic exists and is strictly controlled by the MMC after the disastrous Spellplague that hit years before and left most of the cities children orphans. There are natural Maz weavers, those that don’t need technology to weave the maz and then there are those, normally the rich, who can afford tech that allows them to interact with Maz. And then there are the ‘mundies’ people who don’t interact with the Maz in anyway, whether it is due to fear, or not being unable to purchase the tech needed. The plot manages to give you heap loads of information about the history of the planet without losing pace and managing to keep you wholly enthralled in the overall storyline.
The romance in this book was slow-burn to the max. I enjoyed seeing the vulnerability in the characters, neither aware that all it would take is a simple touch or a kiss to make the other stay. You get a bit of a history, and can tell they have been dancing around each other for a while which just adds to the tension.
The descriptions in this book were one of the few things I couldn’t quite love, especially when the authors describing anyone weaving maz. I found it quite hard to visualise anything from the authors descriptions and found myself, at parts, skipping over those bits. I imagine, that if brought to life it would be visually stunning, I just struggled visualising it myself. This didn’t take anything from my overall love of the book. I fell in love with the characters over the plot.
The rep in this book is sublime, one of the main characters is gender neutral and there are plenty of same sex couples. Remi was a really intriguing because of this and I loved how the author made them one truly kick ass character, and how we got to see them living with the spellplague but never letting the illness define them. I loved this book, I am so similar to Diz its crazy, and really found myself bonding with her as a character. I found this a spellbinding read and will definitely be picking up anything else the author writes. 4/5.