The world of The Brilliant Death is imaginative and detailed. The setting of a distant magical Italy meets mafia families, power struggles, and dangerous magic. While you might be intrigued by the politics, the family drama, you’ll be gripped by Teo’s struggles of the heart. Like a caged bird wanting to be free, to be seen for who she is, and loved for herself.
I’m not gonna lie, I came for the mafia politics and magic and ended up staying because I fell in love with Teo. Teo is born into a family of violence. Some of her earliest memories are of the way violence and blood, seeps into her home. And Teo becomes an important and secret asset with her transformative magic. In a world of powerful families, we have to ask ourselves about the meaning of justice. When the smallest of slights goes punished, sometimes irreparably, how do we know when to stop?
But because she grows up with this background of treachery and betrayal, Teo yearns for praise and her love. It’s a double edged sword because in her family, being praised can result in pain and punishment. But Teo just wants to be seen for who she is, even as she hides her magic from her family. Saving her family time and time again without acknowledgement.