Spellhacker
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.No pressure.

Spellhacker Details

TitleSpellhacker
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 21st, 2020
PublisherHarperTeen
Rating
GenreFantasy, Young Adult, LGBT

Spellhacker Review

  • M.K. England
    January 1, 1970
    I'm so thrilled to announce my second stand-alone book with HarperTeen, SPELLHACKER! It's the story of a heist gone wrong in a futuristic world with magic, starring a girl named Diz who is basically a cactus secretly filled with marshmallow. Diz is joined by her NB childhood friend Remi (who she is definitely not dating), her fierce bestie Ania, and her dad-friend Jaesin. I love the magic system, setting, and found family dynamics in this book, and I hope you do, too! To show you how much the I'm so thrilled to announce my second stand-alone book with HarperTeen, SPELLHACKER! It's the story of a heist gone wrong in a futuristic world with magic, starring a girl named Diz who is basically a cactus secretly filled with marshmallow. Diz is joined by her NB childhood friend Remi (who she is definitely not dating), her fierce bestie Ania, and her dad-friend Jaesin. I love the magic system, setting, and found family dynamics in this book, and I hope you do, too! ✨To show you how much the editor of this book just totally gets it, here's her quote: "This book is a kick-ass page-turner of a genre mashup that was a thrill to work on and, I hope, even more of a thrill to read! Diz IS a cactus secretly filled with marshmallow and she's GOT JOKES and I love her, even though she would not know wtf to do with that or any feeling 😇"It's true. Diz and feelings are broken up tbh.FAQ about SPELLHACKER:Q: Is it space?A: Nope! It's a futuristic world with magic, so it's fantasy with some hi-tech.Q: Is it a series?A: Nope! Standalone. Read without fear of cliffhangers. Q: Is it queer?A: Uh. It's me. So *sips tea* yes, dear, quite. Queer (primarily sapphic) MC, non-binary love interest, bi secondary character, widowed lesbian bakery owner, elderly science husbands. ALL THE QUEER.I can't wait to tell you more about this book as details become available. First word always goes to my newsletter subscribers! Wanna be in on that? Sign up at bit.ly/MKEnews.
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  • Hollis
    January 1, 1970
    I've not really had the best luck with queer fantasy lately and that is such a shame. Here is another story that has a great concept that just didn't quite win in execution. But unlike another recent read, at least I didn't hate this one? And also, unlike that same book, at least this author prefaced the novel with definitions for the magic system?And speaking of the magic system, it felt.. new. The fact that not everyone could use it, and there were different levels of ability, but there didn't I've not really had the best luck with queer fantasy lately and that is such a shame. Here is another story that has a great concept that just didn't quite win in execution. But unlike another recent read, at least I didn't hate this one? And also, unlike that same book, at least this author prefaced the novel with definitions for the magic system?And speaking of the magic system, it felt.. new. The fact that not everyone could use it, and there were different levels of ability, but there didn't seem to be any classism or jealousy between those who could and couldn't was an interesting mix. The world, too, had a unique feel. I just didn't love the characters? The plot, and the Big Bad, seemed a little.. thin? I don't know. Potential was there, and I enjoyed England's debut, so I kept pushing on. But this just wasn't a win.This does seem to be a standalone, however — just like their debut — so it might be worth checking out if you like fantasy and queer representation and heists.** I received an ARC from Edelweiss and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **---This review can also be found at A Take From Two Cities.
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  • Fanna
    January 1, 1970
    January 24, 2020:Spellhacker is riding on a magical substance called maz against the backdrop of scientific support so it does blend the two genres of fantasy and science-fiction very well. Portraying a diverse set of characters, from POCs to LGBTQ+, with a great intention and a normalized manner of pure existence instead of justification is commendable: lesbian, gay, non-binary characters along with the mention of brown skin and headwraps. Definitely a magnetic choice for those who love squad January 24, 2020:Spellhacker is riding on a magical substance called maz against the backdrop of scientific support so it does blend the two genres of fantasy and science-fiction very well. Portraying a diverse set of characters, from POCs to LGBTQ+, with a great intention and a normalized manner of pure existence instead of justification is commendable: lesbian, gay, non-binary characters along with the mention of brown skin and headwraps. Definitely a magnetic choice for those who love squad stories overlayed by a heist mission and its consequences, and set in a futuristic yet slightly dystopian world. However, the predictable plot and lack of surprising twists or revelations should be considered before picking it up. January 15, 2020: Kinda disappointed. RTC.December 23, 2019: buddy reading with the lovely Nandini @Novels&Nebulas!November 21, 2019: a futuristic world with magic and hi-tech? diversely queer rep? a heist story? I'm super excited to read this as part of a blog tour! Disclaimer: Thank you, FFBC Tours and HarperTeen for the digital copy.
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  • Iris
    January 1, 1970
    This is "the story of a heist gone wrong" by the author of one of my favourite reads of 2019 so far, and I NEED IT RIGHT NOW.
  • Madison
    January 1, 1970
    Spellhacker is a fantastic mix of fantasy and science fiction. I can tell you right now it is going to be a pain deciding whether to put it in our YA fantasy or YA Sci-fi section but the pain will be worth it to share this adventure of a novel with our readers. Tech hackers, best friends, diverse romantic relationships, conspiracy theories, magic literally woven with technology and gadgets, explosions, heists and enough action to keep you glued to the pages, M.K England seriously delivers with Spellhacker is a fantastic mix of fantasy and science fiction. I can tell you right now it is going to be a pain deciding whether to put it in our YA fantasy or YA Sci-fi section but the pain will be worth it to share this adventure of a novel with our readers. Tech hackers, best friends, diverse romantic relationships, conspiracy theories, magic literally woven with technology and gadgets, explosions, heists and enough action to keep you glued to the pages, M.K England seriously delivers with this fabulous book.Diz‘s world as she knows it is ending. Her best friends, who, aside from a cousin, are the only family she has since her parents died in the Spellplague that killed thousands, are moving away from their home to new jobs, new Universities. They have time for just one final job, siphoning maz from the tightly controlled supply MMC maintains. But when the job goes horribly wrong, the four friends have to run for their lives, especially when MMC look set to use their mini disaster to cover up the fact they have been secretly mining a new strand of very dangerous maz. To save themselves and clear their names they will have to save their city also. Spellhacker is such a fun adventure. It’s a combination between a heist novel and fantasy quest, with a bunch of cool tech thrown in. The world in Spellhacker feels almost futuristic - almost dystopian as the destruction caused by maz and the spellplague could easily reflect the natural disasters and impacts of climate change in our own world. Magic, rather than replace or prevent technology, has been neatly intertwined and it makes so much sense. I know readers who frequently ask me for fantasy books that make sense and have scientific backings will love Spellhacker.M.K. England consistently presents a range of diverse characters in her novels, and they are leading, well developed characters, not merely placeholders. Diz is already dreading the day her three best friends leave her behind. She is still grieving the death of her parents and holding Remi at arms length, not exploring what they might truly mean to her. As they pull their last job, make a big discovery about their world and the maz, the four friends also explore the relationships between them and the strength of their friendship. I do hope there will be a sequel. While this first book leaves readers with a satisfying ending, the four friends have just begun their adventure and I would love to see what they get up to next.The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.Find more reviews, reading age guides, content advisory, and recommendations on my blog Madison's Library
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  • USOM
    January 1, 1970
    (Disclaimer: I received this book from Edelweiss. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)Found family, standing up when others would stay silent, and all the queer magic, Spellhacker is a story that celebrates resistance and love. Featuring a queer MC, nonbinary love interest, bi side character and some other smaller but adorable queer characters, Spellhacker is a story of choosing with whom we will take a stand. The world building in Spellhacker is magical, colorful, and (Disclaimer: I received this book from Edelweiss. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)Found family, standing up when others would stay silent, and all the queer magic, Spellhacker is a story that celebrates resistance and love. Featuring a queer MC, nonbinary love interest, bi side character and some other smaller but adorable queer characters, Spellhacker is a story of choosing with whom we will take a stand. The world building in Spellhacker is magical, colorful, and detailed. Even though I would probably be an awful magic user, there's something infectious about the power, the color, and the tension.Diz is a fantastic main character. I related to her feelings of being left behind, of not knowing how to tell the people we love most to stay. That feeling of wanting to voice our deepest desires, but being so deeply afraid of rejection. Of the ones we love not choosing us. Diz feels, in some ways, powerlessness in the face of disaster and change. Throughout Spellhacker, Diz has to figure out how to face her fears.full review: The world building in Spellhacker is rich. Talking about the wealth disparity of Maz and corporate control, Spellhacker transports us to a magical world.
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  • Alexandra Nae
    January 1, 1970
    Spellhacker is one of my most anticipated releases this 2020 and I adored reading it! It’s absolutely delightful! With queer characters everywhere and a fast-paced and fun story, you just can’t help but enjoy this book!Good writingThe writing style is good! Spellhacker is told in the first person point of view and that really allowed me to get to know the main character and see the story unfold the way she saw it. The tone is light and fun, but it can also get exciting or thrilling and even Spellhacker is one of my most anticipated releases this 2020 and I adored reading it! It’s absolutely delightful! With queer characters everywhere and a fast-paced and fun story, you just can’t help but enjoy this book!Good writingThe writing style is good! Spellhacker is told in the first person point of view and that really allowed me to get to know the main character and see the story unfold the way she saw it. The tone is light and fun, but it can also get exciting or thrilling and even emotional.Memorable charactersThere are a lot of memorable characters in this book.Diz, the main character, is great. She’s hilarious and talented, but also very insecure and maybe a little bit emotionally stunted, too. She had bad experiences in the past, which makes it understandable that she’s afraid of letting herself feel. Still, there were moments that I was frustrated at her. Fortunately, she redeemed herself and I loved her character development! I also loved that I was sucked into her thoughts and feelings. Reading the story through her perspective was exciting!The minor characters are also memorable. Remi is too precious for this world, Jaesin is such a dad, and Ania is amazing! I loved the dynamic between all four of them (hooray for found-family tropes!), and in a way, I can relate to Diz and her fear of parting ways.And yes, there are numerous queer characters in the book and it’s absolutely delightful to read about them and know that it’s perfectly normal in their world.Fast-paced and fun plotSpellhacker has a fast-paced and a fun plot. I remember reading only the first chapter, and there were already action and adventure. I loved that!The plot also touched on some points that made me more invested in the story, e.g. anti-capitalism, frequent natural disasters on their planet (which can be likened to global warming). There are some plot twists that were a little predictable for me though, so it wasn’t much of a surprise but I still managed to enjoy it.Romance is also a significant part of the story, and y’all there was definitely a lot of pining. The chemistry was good and I couldn’t help but root for that pairing!Awesome world-buildingI also loved the world-building in this story. The author created such an interesting world, one filled with magic and science but also riddled with natural disasters. Would have loved to know more about their planet though. There were different fictional countries and cities mentioned, but there weren’t much details about them. A map would have been a nice addition as well!(This review was first published on Enthralled Bookworm as part of the Spellhacker Blog Tour hosted by The Fantastic Flying Book Club.)
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  • Kal ★ Reader Voracious
    January 1, 1970
    DNF @ 35% This is a quirky and queer read and I'm so bummed that this book didn't work for me! I actually really enjoyed the first 20% or so, but once I realized the bulk of the plot hinged on miscommunication as a plot device... it kind of was all I saw. (view spoiler)[The number of times that the main character inner monologues about her not wanting her friends to leave, but not saying anything about it??? I can't chalk all of her Bad Decisions and silence up to being 18 and simply making DNF @ 35% This is a quirky and queer read and I'm so bummed that this book didn't work for me! I actually really enjoyed the first 20% or so, but once I realized the bulk of the plot hinged on miscommunication as a plot device... it kind of was all I saw. (view spoiler)[The number of times that the main character inner monologues about her not wanting her friends to leave, but not saying anything about it??? I can't chalk all of her Bad Decisions and silence up to being 18 and simply making mistakes, and it was grinding to read about the lengths someone would go to NOT share feelings. I get abandonment issues. I understand feeling scared of vulnerability. But it just can't connect with Soz despite having similar issues. (hide spoiler)]I am so sad, but this is definitely a me thing, not a bad book. I am sure many people will love this one, but I couldn't get over the narrative style. Thank you to the publisher for providing me an eARC via Edelweiss of this book in exchange for an honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. Quotations are taken from an unfinished proof and are subject to change upon final publication. Blog | Twitter | Pinterest
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  • kelly {BookCrushin}
    January 1, 1970
    Spellhacker is the queer sci-fi fantasy book you've been waiting for! There is a wild magic system, inventive tech, high stakes, heists, and at the very heart of it, found family and love. I absolutely speed through this book and I think it's a damn good time.READ the full review at BookCrushin.com
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  • Nandini | Novels and Nebulas
    January 1, 1970
    I'm so thankful for the opportunity to read this early! I received an e-ARC via Edelweiss as a part of the blog tour organised by Kate @ Your Tita Kate. Buddy read with Fanna @ Fannatality. Reasons to Love Found family trope #OwnVoices queer representation Non-binary representation Heist plot Fantasy + sci-fi elements Characters Diz is the kind of heroine that takes some time to get used to. She is a flawed person who runs away from her emotions and makes a lot of poor decisions. The other I'm so thankful for the opportunity to read this early! I received an e-ARC via Edelweiss as a part of the blog tour organised by Kate @ Your Tita Kate. Buddy read with Fanna @ Fannatality.✨ Reasons to Love ✨✔ Found family trope✔ #OwnVoices queer representation✔ Non-binary representation✔ Heist plot✔ Fantasy + sci-fi elements✨ Characters ✨Diz is the kind of heroine that takes some time to get used to. She is a flawed person who runs away from her emotions and makes a lot of poor decisions. The other three main characters are well developed, my favourite being Remi. The found family trope is executed really well in this book. The representation in this book is unapologetically queer and wholesome.✨ Plot ✨The plot is my least favourite element of the book. It starts off strong but not enough happens to keep you on the edge of your seat. On the other hand, the world-building is the strongest aspect and it is apparent the author has put a lot of care into developing it. The blend of technology and magic is seamless, creating a vividly realistic world filled with fantasy and sci-fi elements.✨ Writing ✨Going by the synopsis, I expected a fun and fast-paced kind of narrative, which is exactly how the writing is. There are some lighter moments and banter sprinkled in amidst the doom and gloom, which is a relief from the high-stakes plot. The main theme the plot explores is the greed of big corporations that have a monopoly over the market. The power structure and imbalance is incorporated into the story in a way that adds layers of complexity to the plot.✨ Verdict ✨If you are excited by the idea of fantasy and sci-fi elements blended together with an anti-rich agenda, this story will appeal to you. If you aren't a fan of the narrative voice, I would suggest you DNF it.For a more thorough analysis of the book, check out my full review posted on Novels and Nebulas.
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  • Kat
    January 1, 1970
    I read an early version of this book, and let me tell you -- you're in for an absolutely wild ride! THE TWISTS! THE TURNS! The amazingly loveable characters and their fabulously real and dear friendships!The world is new and cool, the magic and tech blend is expertly executed, and you are not ready for the ending, ya'll.Preorder this book ASAP
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  • Mhairi
    January 1, 1970
    No sophomore slump for M.K England's new book. I adored all the Final Fantasy vibes in this amazing novel as well as the prickly lead Dizzy. It's a standalone I would love to read more of, just like Disasters. No sophomore slump for M.K England's new book. I adored all the Final Fantasy vibes in this amazing novel as well as the prickly lead Dizzy. It's a standalone I would love to read more of, just like Disasters. 😭
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  • Shalini
    January 1, 1970
    Quite an action packed thriller set in a land where technology and magic were amalgamated beautifully.Once magic (maz) was freely available, an earthquake brought about a spellplague and a corporation which took advantage. Now maz was sold to a select few who could afford. Diz and her friends siphoned of this maz and sold it to their clients. A job gone bad and the maz blew up on their faces, they knew they had to act fast.My first book by author M. K. England, this was a complete fun of a ride. Quite an action packed thriller set in a land where technology and magic were amalgamated beautifully.Once magic (maz) was freely available, an earthquake brought about a spellplague and a corporation which took advantage. Now maz was sold to a select few who could afford. Diz and her friends siphoned of this maz and sold it to their clients. A job gone bad and the maz blew up on their faces, they knew they had to act fast.My first book by author M. K. England, this was a complete fun of a ride. Diz and her friends had a sarcastic camaraderie happening which was humorous at times. Diz as a main character was likable, tough with moments of vulnerability. Having lost her parents in an earlier catastrophe, her friends were her entire life. She did what had to for survival.The author's writing conveyed the excitement in the words. This was one big adventure filled with action and intelligence. Magic was weaved in beautifully enhancing the technology. I loved the author's power of imagination to make the story larger than life. Worldbuilding was quite a joy to read especially on the heists that she took up.The only niggles I could feel were some dialogues and narration could be sharper. But the last few chapters totally made up for it. They were a rollercoaster where everything came to a zenith. The author caused my breath to hitch at some of the action scenes... Whew.. I was exhausted at the end of this fabulous ride.
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  • Sara (A Gingerly Review)
    January 1, 1970
    Full review to come----1/23/20: Listening to the audio this time and I regret nothing.
  • Sophia (Bookwyrming Thoughts)
    January 1, 1970
    Review going live on the blog at midnight EST because UBB doesn't want to get along with block editor. The author/publisher provided a free copy of the book for review purposes - thank you! Receiving a review copy does not guarantee a positive review and therefore do not affect the opinion or content of the review. I love heists in books. We've got a group of people (each who are talented AF), something goes wrong (oop--) and then they're scrambling to fix things. Sometimes there's a character Review going live on the blog at midnight EST because UBB doesn't want to get along with block editor. The author/publisher provided a free copy of the book for review purposes - thank you! Receiving a review copy does not guarantee a positive review and therefore do not affect the opinion or content of the review. I love heists in books. We've got a group of people (each who are talented AF), something goes wrong (oop--) and then they're scrambling to fix things. Sometimes there's a character or two (or more) pining for another character and we just want to smush/protect them.And it's definitely the case with Spellhacker by M.K. England, which follows Diz and her friends (Ania, Jaesin and Remi) as they take on one last job that ends up backfiring horribly in their faces. It's never happened in the two years they've been running their side business. There's magic (known as maz) and seriously cool technology involved, and that's usually a good recipe for me to enjoy the book. Provided that something explodes, of course, but don't tell anyone.Which I did... for the most part. Spellhacker is a bit difficult for me to rate since a couple of issues throughout ruined some of my enjoyment. Two Things in Spellhacker I have issues with: (There were more, but they're minor.) The magic system I probably wouldn't have noticed it if Kal from Reader Voracious never mentioned it, but the moment she asked, I kept noticing... and not just the name. I keep thinking formaz is pronounced like "form ass." (Maybe that's just my sense of humor trying to get through the parts of the book I struggled with.)But what I got really confused about were the differences between techwitch and spellweaver (kind of got an idea, still confused) and just how it worked... which I kept thinking of how dust works in RWBY. It's most likely a very inaccurate depiction, though. The miscommunication I noticed this faintly at the beginning few chapters and didn't let it bother me too much. In fact, it pretty much slipped my mind until Kal brought it up. At times, it did get pretty damn irritating and I just wanted to shove Diz in front of a certain character like the many chances she had throughout the book. And there are a lot of chances. Two Things I definitely didn't have an issue in Spellhacker: Or maybe just minor issues and they turned out to be good things in the end (after I thought about it). Diz's narration Diz is one of those characters I found absolutely annoying at first but slowly grew on me over the book. She's bitter and salty and full of sass; she's pretty much 95% angst teenager who wants things to go her way. She also sucks at communication big time; every time she wants to say something, she chooses not to. Even if she's called out by her friends, it takes a while before she actually comes out with it.I hardcore relate. 💯 Mood. The friendships Honestly, if it were just Diz, I likely would've DNFed Spellhacker early on. I definitely thought about doing it a few times, but I also enjoyed Ania, Jaesin and Remi's friendship with Diz enough that I figured it was worth suffering through. That, and their humor plus dramatic flair to their last job that somehow became more complicated than they wanted. Overall Thoughts Spellhacker definitely isn't my favorite novel of 2020. I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it either. There were a few things that I enjoyed, but there were others that made reading this less enjoyable than I hoped. I wouldn't pick up Spellhacker if you're looking for a novel that is high-stakes, nonstop heist action. But I would definitely give M.K. England's latest novel a chance if you enjoy an angsty, quirky main character with friendships and found family.This review was originally posted on Bookwyrming Thoughts
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  • Kristi Housman Confessions of a YA Reader
    January 1, 1970
    RTC for blog tour. Thank you to Harper Teen/Epic Reads for my review copy. (physical arc read)
  • Dany
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 starsAnother enjoyable sci fi from M. K. England. I loved disasters and this book was no less amazing.Spellhacker pretty much reminded me of disasters in the story telling , twists and majority of the plot device.Spellhacker follows Dizzy and her friends while commiting their last heist before college & real life starts. Since the entire book follows Dizzy's PoV , we couldn't get a clear picture on what she looked like except she has half shaved head and lots of hair in the other half. I 3.5 starsAnother enjoyable sci fi from M. K. England. I loved disasters and this book was no less amazing.Spellhacker pretty much reminded me of disasters in the story telling , twists and majority of the plot device.Spellhacker follows Dizzy and her friends while commiting their last heist before college & real life starts. Since the entire book follows Dizzy's PoV , we couldn't get a clear picture on what she looked like except she has half shaved head and lots of hair in the other half. I would've loved to get a lot of description on Dizzy like we got for the others.The one time heist they plan goes terribly wrong . They're wanted by the entire country and the corporation that's running Kyrkarta. The heist part is honestly small and loads of the book is adventurous roadtrips and lying low.As much I loved the relationships between the four of them and the conversations , it felt like the book does lack something major. It feels like a sequel to Disasters. Full review will be posted in the blog closer to the publishing date.I received the e-ARC from HarperTeen and Edelweiss for my honest opinions.
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  • Silvia
    January 1, 1970
    Fun fun fun
  • Diana Kim
    January 1, 1970
    This is so good?? I thoroughly enjoyed the book and Diz is most definitely a cactus on the outside and a marshmallow on the inside. I would also like to wrap the characters into a blanket, give them hot chocolate, schedule a meeting with a therapist, and shower them with all the love. The ending satisfies the reader and a specific character pulls through in the end which makes you shout "Yes!" and throw your hands in the air. It's relatable and great- probably because Megan is also relatable and This is so good?? I thoroughly enjoyed the book and Diz is most definitely a cactus on the outside and a marshmallow on the inside. I would also like to wrap the characters into a blanket, give them hot chocolate, schedule a meeting with a therapist, and shower them with all the love. The ending satisfies the reader and a specific character pulls through in the end which makes you shout "Yes!" and throw your hands in the air. It's relatable and great- probably because Megan is also relatable and great. So...Read! This! Book! You'll love the characters and the plot, and even if you don't love the characters in the beginning, I promise that they will grow on you and you won't realize that you love them until you finish the book wanting more. Not to mention the diversity and the usage of them/their pronouns?? Megan did such an amazing job normalizing it in the book that it isn't overplayed or too much for the reader at all. Writing is hard. But, she pulled it off. Bravo! The plot is truly amazing and (I don't know if this is just me), but I saw some parallels from this world to ours, so definitely lookout for those details when reading this book. It'll give you that lightbulb "eureka" moment like it did for me. Conclusion? Read the book, love the book, then love Megan because she's wonderful and amazing.
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  • Kait Goodwin ★Kait Plus Books★
    January 1, 1970
    Review will be posted on January 16th at http://kaitplusbooks.com as part of the FFBC blog tour! (But in case you're wondering now: I LOVED IT!!!)
  • rachel ☾
    January 1, 1970
    the actual blessing that i got accepted for an eARC one of my most anticipated 2020 releases Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Blog • Goodreads • Twitter • Instagram the actual blessing that i got accepted for an eARC one of my most anticipated 2020 releases◯ Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Blog • Goodreads • Twitter • Instagram
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  • Alana
    January 1, 1970
    Fast read with a little bit of something for everyone.
  • Melinda Beatty
    January 1, 1970
    Great heist adventure in the vein of Six of Crows with great queer rep, a well-thought out magic system and thoughtful representation of trauma.
  • Brooke Banks
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book for free from Fantastic Flying Book Club in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Happy Friday ya'll! Today I'm ecstatic to bring you Spellhacker by M.K. England. It's a fantasy, but in a futuristic society where a ragtag group of teens steal from the monopoly company controlling the magic of the land, maz. It follows Diz, Supreme Overlord of Naming, as she crushes on her nonbinary friend in said gang who is I received this book for free from Fantastic Flying Book Club in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Happy Friday ya'll! Today I'm ecstatic to bring you Spellhacker by  M.K. England. It's a fantasy, but in a futuristic society where a ragtag group of teens steal from the monopoly company controlling the magic of the land, maz. It follows Diz, Supreme Overlord of Naming, as she crushes on her nonbinary friend in said gang who is spellsick and a prodigy spellweaver. Talk about action and ~drama~. About Spellhacker: IMHO: spellhacker OH MY GOD YA'LL!! So much queer orphan found family adventure. There's hacking and stealing from a mega company that controls the world's supply of magic maz. There's betrayal,  lust and love, clubbing, train rides and sewers. Okay, so it's not all glamourous. But when they find out they can save the world? THEY DO IT.Diz is a techie genius with PTSD, and insomnia.  The wit, the sarcasm that pushes everyone's buttons. Defensive mechanism much?Remi, who uses they/them pronouns, living with spellsickness and a magical prodigy. Weaves magic into amazing spells like golden puppies  to make a certain someone smile.Ania, the rich girl who's a tech witch - someone who can only use maz through technology. The Mom Friend who will call  you on your shit.Jaesin, The Dad Friend. Experiments in the kitchen, does the heavy lifting and all the mundane things that keep this group running.Also, Ania & Jaesin? Exes. Diz & Remin? Not so much. Friends to lovers romance. Enby character romance Other queer couples mentioned where it's totally normal & not a big deal - which is HUGE! <3 Found family Clubbing Thrift Stores HeistS Earthquakes Explosions Train rides Hurricanes Blackmail Conspiracy Magical rapid rabbits and unicorns ...need I say more? I can see an argument that the ending is rushed since our MC was, uh, not there per se. But really? Don't care. I think it works and it leaves open a possibility of a sequel. Maybe. Just tossing that out there.It's quick, it's fun, it's queer, it's teens saving the world and each other. I fucking love it. I want more of it. NEED more of it. It's truth in fiction for those who need to feel it.  Favorite Quotes: Ania: Yeah, but we don't inspire murdery feelings in everyone we meet. "Whatever you say, Awesome Strongman McDad Friend," I say around his finger. Much of it glows with neon, with maz, with money and desperate forward-looking optimism. The parts that don't aren't parts you want to visit anyway. Sleep and I aren't on speaking terms. I've always known, of course, but there's a difference between knowing and seeing. Two swears from Ania in less than a week. This is a day just full of unicorns. I've never been more aware of my feet in my life, and I jump off buildings on the regular. Ania holds up her hands. "Hey, I know my limits. I'm the math, you're the poetry." "As sure as I ever am about anything," I say. "Which is, you know. Moderately?" Internally, this morning felt like cresting the peak of the mountain, and I can finally see the gorgeous terrain sweeping before me, glorious valleys of rich greens and blue sky and the infinite possibility of horizons.  When in doubt, make your own door.  About the Author: Giveaway: PRIZE: Win a signed hardcover of SPELLHACKER (US only), and one swag pack including a sticker, postcard, signed bookplate, and bookmark (INT)STARTS: 15th January 2020ENDS: 19th January 2020a Rafflecopter giveaway Tour Schedule: This review was originally posted on The Layaway Dragon
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  • Pavitra (For The Love of Fictional Worlds)
    January 1, 1970
    Also Posted on For The Love of Fictional Worlds Disclaimer: An eARC was provided via The Fantastic Flying Book Club and the Author as part of the Blog Tour. The Thoughts, opinions & feelings expressed in the review are therefore, my own. To be very fair, before I even start the review, I signed up for the book, ‘cause SoC Duology pretty much pretty much set the bar for heist plots (so yes, I have very high expectations with heist books!)– and all I saw in the blurb was the heist and Also Posted on For The Love of Fictional Worlds Disclaimer: An eARC was provided via The Fantastic Flying Book Club and the Author as part of the Blog Tour. The Thoughts, opinions & feelings expressed in the review are therefore, my own. To be very fair, before I even start the review, I signed up for the book, ‘cause SoC Duology pretty much pretty much set the bar for heist plots (so yes, I have very high expectations with heist books!)– and all I saw in the blurb was the heist and magic; and I was all in :DSpellhacker follows our protagonist – Diz/Dizzy a bisexual teen, orphaned at a young age due to a widespread earthquake that destroyed a majority of the city. Dizzy, with her makeshift family of friends who banded together – Remi, Ania and Jaesin – who for fun; and extra cash to set themselves up for the future; until one last job screws up everthing (like always, of course!).Beyond this I am not gonna say anything about the plot. Trust me, you wouldn’t want to know either.What I can tell you is that the characters are a wonderful bunch of teenagers- and the author has given us a brilliant and accurate rep for the queer community – and I don’t really need to tell you why that is important. Not only are the right pronouns used for the characters; but it is an open and honest way; and that is one of the best ways to soothe your rep starved soul.Coming to the plot; yes, it starts off a bit slow; and it took me a while to acclimate myself to the world – because the information came to the reader in a little choppy way, mostly cause the background information came a bit late into the plotline; so I tried, but I couldn’t find myself invested in the characters; but not so much in the plot itself.Also, the plot is predictable when it comes to the twists and turns – I am not gonna lie; I saw those shocks coming a mile away – yet it was the way the plot was written and the whole maz (magic) system and the way it was used in fighting scenes was amazingly imaginative. All in all, Spellhacker was an interesting ride from start till the end; however it is the brilliant and on point rep for queer community that should be the reason enough to pick up this new YA novel. For more reviews visit For The Love of Fictional Worlds :)Do come join us at For The Fictional Worlds Facebook Page | Twitter | Instagram  | Goodreads  | Amazon |
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  • Sheila Goicea
    January 1, 1970
    I received a copy of this book from the publisher, HarperTeen, in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! In no way does this affect my rating or review.DNFing at 40%I really hate it when I come across a book that I don't have much to say about. Unfortunately, Spellhacker was one of these books for me. The synopsis promises a really interesting plot-line. However, from what I read, nothing about the story hooked me. It was also after being granted for an ARC of this book that I found out that I received a copy of this book from the publisher, HarperTeen, in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! In no way does this affect my rating or review.DNFing at 40%I really hate it when I come across a book that I don't have much to say about. Unfortunately, Spellhacker was one of these books for me. The synopsis promises a really interesting plot-line. However, from what I read, nothing about the story hooked me. It was also after being granted for an ARC of this book that I found out that it falls into a genre that I don't typically read due to personal preference. I really wish, as I've said many times before, that books would be labeled appropriately from the get-go. I feel guilty for receiving an ARC of a book that would be more suitable for other readers.Spellhacker tries to be relevant to it's readers by having a fresh premise and including popular tropes. Yet, it falls completely flat. I've said it before and I'll say it again, the "squad" trope is my least favorite of all the tropes. I have yet to come across one of these groups in YA fiction that feel natural and well-developed. The problem with this trope is that the people in the squad don't have to work at their friendships. It is assumed that they will stay that way, no matter what. In my experience, that doesn't reflect real life at all. When people are involved, there will always be up's and down's, friendships, and losses. Spellhacker clearly just wasn't the right read for me. I hope others find it enjoyable and up their alley. Unfortunately, too many concepts that aren't in my preferences congealed in this one book.Since this is a DNF read, I will not be assigning a star-review.My Blog ¦ Bookstagram ¦ Twitter ¦ Pinterest ¦ Facebook
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  • Vee_Bookish
    January 1, 1970
    This is such a fun book. Magic meets technology and perfect pacing as Diz and friends find themselves on the run after what was supposed to be one last, easy heist. When the story starts there's clearly the start of a rift happening between the friends as everyone but Diz plans to leave the city Kyrkarta in search of a better life, and Diz feels completely abandoned.Diz was such a flawed and complex character, clearly torn between extreme anxiety of wanting anyone to be close to her, but wanting This is such a fun book. Magic meets technology and perfect pacing as Diz and friends find themselves on the run after what was supposed to be one last, easy heist. When the story starts there's clearly the start of a rift happening between the friends as everyone but Diz plans to leave the city Kyrkarta in search of a better life, and Diz feels completely abandoned.Diz was such a flawed and complex character, clearly torn between extreme anxiety of wanting anyone to be close to her, but wanting human connection too. I shipped Diz and Remi heavily, their relationship was more realistic than I would normally see in a YA book. It's a hard task to pin down the genre of this book, but I would choose Dystopia, due to the realistic/futuristic setting and controlling Government. The plot, admittedly, gets fairly basic and is predictable. The way magic (Maz) is used felt completely new to me and I loved the idea of teenage hackers, syphoning Maz and selling it on so they can afford their future plans. There was big reveals that were completely unsurprising unfortunately. The diverse characters, their relationships and their problems made this story well worth reading. There's even a non binary character, the first time I've seen myself represented in a book.I did feel that the ending was left wide open for a sequel, so hopefully that will be announced by the end of the 2020. I felt connected to this family and I want to see what they get up to next, hopefully changing the entire world and taking down the evil MMC Corporation. I should rate this a 4 because of plot predictability but I have such a soft spot for this book it's getting a full 5 and going on my Best Of 2020 list.
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  • lapetitepritt
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 Before we begin, a little disclaimer: I am part of the Spellhacker Launch Crew and I was provided with an e-ARC of the book via Edelweiss+, but I want to make sure that you know that neither of these two circumstances have affected my rating nor will influence my review in any way.Usually, when I start writing a book review I know what I am going to say, more or less, and I already know what rating I gave to the book on Goodreads. This time is different, because ever since I have finished 3.5 🌟Before we begin, a little disclaimer: I am part of the Spellhacker Launch Crew and I was provided with an e-ARC of the book via Edelweiss+, but I want to make sure that you know that neither of these two circumstances have affected my rating nor will influence my review in any way.Usually, when I start writing a book review I know what I am going to say, more or less, and I already know what rating I gave to the book on Goodreads. This time is different, because ever since I have finished the book I have been thinking about it, without really knowing my feelings about it. It was a quite pleasant but somewhat weird journey. I have settled on a 3.5 out of 5 stars by now, but it took me forever to decide. Let’s start by saying that I don’t think I have ever read anything similar to Spellhacker, genre wise. It is a blend of sci-fi and fantasy and I knew that before diving into the book, but I didn’t know what to expect.The first thing I can say about the book is that in the beginning, the main character Diz is unsufferable. She is exactly what an angsty teenager is like in my mind. Not that I am that much older than her, but sometimes her reasoning was so childish I felt like I could be her grandmother. She is a very needy and angry person, who snaps at everyone if things don’t go as she wants them to go. The problem is: she gets angry when people do things she doesn’t want them to do, even though she does not tell them not to do said things. For example, the main thing she is pissed about is the fact that her friends are moving to another city without her. Diz could go with them, but doesn’t want to and she wants her friends to stay, but she never tells them. One of the characters actually asks Diz to tell them to stay and Diz doesn’t say a single word. I mean, I get that. I really do, I am the first one who does not tell other people what bothers me, but you can’t stay angry at them if they don’t read your mind.In the first part, this trait of Diz’s personality was overdone, in my opinion. If it had been a little less stressed, I would have enjoyed this book a lot more, because it is actually one of the few complaints I have about it.I think it is also because I had loved Nax (the main character from M.K. England’s other novel The Disasters) so so so so so much. He was one of my favourite characters from the book and I was expecting to love Diz just as much. It is probably my fault, because you should not compare characters from two different books, but sadly that is what happened.During the course of the book, anyway, Diz has grown up and softened a little bit and that I very much appreciate.On the other hand, I have loved all Diz’s friends. My favourite was definitely Remi, the love interest in the story. They are non binary and, obviously, since the author themself is non binary, it was perfectly written. It is very well woven into the story, without making a big deal out of it, and I always appreciate that in a YA novel or in a novel in general.There were also many other LGBT+ characters and it was never shown as something strange or out of the ordinary, as so many times happens in literature. It should always be this easy and I want to give the biggest shout out to M.K. England for always knowing how to amazingly insert LGBT+ characters, without making their queerness the focus of the plot. Thank you so much, it is so beautiful to witness.I also love how the main cast was so diverse in every sense of the word and how they were all different in attitude and personality and yet they were a perfect portrait of friendship. The only thing that bothered me was how many times it was underlined that one of them was rich and the other three were not. Diz spends an enormous amount of time at being bitter because Ania is a rich girl, even though Ania never does anything to make her friends feel like they are not worth her time or whatever Diz thinks. Diz should just calm down a little bit and aknowledge that everyone is different and that not all the world is against her.Just the biggest corporation in her futuristic world, that is.The world builing was a little bit difficult for me to get into, but when I got used to it I could recognise it was really well thought out and I loved the science and magic blend, even though at the beginning I was really confused on how magic worked. After a while I got really invested in it and I have also created a tag on the different kinds of magic.The plot was very interesting, but I have predicted almost all the plot twists. That is not uncommon for me, I tend to guess from the beginning how some things are going to end up happening, but probably in this case some of them were really predictable for everyone. If you read the book and you don’t guess, let me know so that I can update my review.All in all, I would still recommend this book to people who are looking for an entertaining read, but The Disasters will forever be in my heart. I would also recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a genre-crossing novel and to people who love reading diverse books. If you love heists, very YA plots and creative world buildings, I am sure you will enjoy this book more than I did.
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  • michelle (magical reads)
    January 1, 1970
    read on my blog and listen to a playlist I made for the book**I received an ARC for this blog tour. These are my honest opinions, and in no way was I compensated for this review.**When I first heard about this book, I knew I had to read it. I mean, a heist story? With LGBTQ+ characters and a f/nb romance? And I enjoyed it. Spellhackers was such a fun heist story with lovable characters.The worldbuilding was really fascinating. Magic (maz) is a tangible thing and therefore a valuable resource. read on my blog and listen to a playlist I made for the book**I received an ARC for this blog tour. These are my honest opinions, and in no way was I compensated for this review.**When I first heard about this book, I knew I had to read it. I mean, a heist story? With LGBTQ+ characters and a f/nb romance? And I enjoyed it. Spellhackers was such a fun heist story with lovable characters.The worldbuilding was really fascinating. Magic (maz) is a tangible thing and therefore a valuable resource. There’s a lot of intersection between tech and magic, as well as how magic is basically used as a fuel/energy source. With this, of course, is an analogy of climate change and its effects, even within a fantasy world.I loved the found family dynamic with Diz, Ania, Jaesin, and Remi. They all have such great character development, and their dynamic with each other is hilarious and heartwarming. They just finished what was supposed to be their last job, going their separate ways until Diz accepts another, much more dangerous job so that they can all stay together.This book has so much casual LGBTQ+ representation, and we love to see it! Diz is ownvoices queer; there are mentions of her past relationships with other girls, and she currently has a crush on Remi, who is nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns. The writing makes other small mentions of same-sex relationships, and this is all normalized.Overall, Spellhacker was a great, fast-paced read. The plot will have you on the edge of your seat, and you’ll fall in love with the characters. I definitely recommend it if you like heist stories!
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  • Hâf
    January 1, 1970
    I loved Spellhacker so much! It's been a while since I haven't been able to put a book down so Spellhacker was a wonderful surprise. I had fairly high expectations because I knew how well loved the author's debut, The Disasters, is but I still thoroughly enjoyed this sci-fi novel.The magical system within Spellhacker was unique and fascinating, I loved learning about the different strains of maz and how it was used and manipulated by the characters.Towards the end of this novel I did start to I loved Spellhacker so much! It's been a while since I haven't been able to put a book down so Spellhacker was a wonderful surprise. I had fairly high expectations because I knew how well loved the author's debut, The Disasters, is but I still thoroughly enjoyed this sci-fi novel.The magical system within Spellhacker was unique and fascinating, I loved learning about the different strains of maz and how it was used and manipulated by the characters.Towards the end of this novel I did start to wonder whether or not it was a standalone or part of a series, as there seemed to be only a few pages left to wrap everything up. I was a tiny bit disappointed in how the author ended the big heist, it felt like a bit of a cop out to be honest! But that didn't change my overall enjoyment of the book.The LGBTQ+ rep is amazing to say the least, as an already established own voices author I expected nothing less from M. K. England. Reading the rep in Spellhacker felt incredibly validating to me, I related so much with the main character Dizzy.If you're interested in LGBTQ+ and/or sci-fi novels I fully recommend Spellhacker, it was the easiest book to award five stars to in quite a while! I'm hoping to buy a copy of The Disasters asap, I desperately need to read it.
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