Fresh Take on Fantasy

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River City was once home to beautiful magic and powerful witches that wielded it for their king. Now, River City is divided in two: the Old City, a decaying home to those who remember time time of Heroes and Maidens, and then New City, lorded over by the towering university and its strange and inhumane experiments. We All Fall Down follows the stories of four young people as they’re thrown together by the turning wheel of fate and the people around them desperate to break that cycle.

This book is magnetic; it sucks you in and keeps you entranced. The world building is meticulous and excellent. It’s a wonderful blend of real life and fantasy. The characters are endearing and real and vulnerable. There’s not a cis straight one in the bunch and I adore that. It’s refreshing and real and heartwarming. Their gender identities shift throughout the book and it’s never questioned and it’s such an invigorating experience to read.

My deep love for the characters aside, I really love the story itself. The Hero/Maiden trope through a new lens is so entertaining. And the fact that this city relies on this trope, this prophecy of sorts, is such a unique and entertaining idea.

Szabo is a fresh new voice in the world of fantasy. They bring a wonderfully unique perspective to the genre, taking what is familiar and adding extra twists and turns. I truly cannot wait to see what else they dream up.

If you’re looking for a fantasy novel that feels glitzy and dirty and features unashamed queer characters, this is for you. It’s the first of a duology so it’s got the epic feeling of a series without the commitment to having to read a million books. I am on the edge of my seat waiting for the final part.