“The year is 1850 and Great Britain is flourishing, thanks to the Royal Society of the Esoteric Arts. When a new mage is discovered, Royal Society elites descend like buzzards to snatch up a new apprentice. Talented mages are bought from their families at a tremendous price, while weak mages are snapped up for a pittance. For a lower middle class family like the Gunns, the loss of a son can be disastrous, so when seemingly magical incidents begin cropping up at home, they fear for their Ben’s life and their own livelihoods.
But Benjamin Gunn isn’t a talented mage. His sister Charlotte is, and to prevent her brother from being imprisoned for false reporting she combines her powers with his to make him seem a better prospect.
When she discovers a nefarious plot by the sinister Doctor Ledbetter, Charlotte must use all her cunning and guile to protect her family, her secret and her city.”
A short gaslight fantasy set in Victorian London, Brother’s Ruin is a story of open magic, where everyone knows Latent’s exist, and when one of their own is known to have magic ability it is the family’s duty to report the child to the Royal Society so they can be tested. Once tested they are offered a spot in one of the prestigious magical colleges and the family is paid well for it.
The Royal Society is shady however. Even grabbing boys and girls from their homes if the family doesn’t do their duty and report them. Once accepted into the RS you give up all freedom; cannot work for anyone other than the Empire and cannot marry or have children. In the Dunn family there is only one truly gifted latent, Charlotte. But when her father has gone into debt he reports to the RS that his son Ben has the ability, not suspecting it’s actually Charlotte, potential trouble arises.
Charlotte (Charlie) has zero desire to give up her freedom and report her latency. She helps her brother during his tests. Three Magus’s report to the Dunn home to do the testing, one being handsome Magus Hopkins who engaged Charlotte is taken by. He see’s and knows more than Charlotte could even dream of.
The story is so much more than my description- filled with unique magic, neferious characters and plenty of great foreshadowing! I cannot say anymore without spoiling this fabulous book! I already ordered book two, Weaver’s Lament, and cannot wait to continue this series! Highly recommend! FYI book one is still available on bookoutlet.com