Rat Evans is heir to one of the oldest magical bloodlines, but they don’t cast spells any longer. They have seen mysterious passages that don’t show up on any map their entire life—and one such passage lead them to a broken tower with a history they can’t even begin to imagine. Something has followed them back through the passage and now all Rat wants to do is hide at Bellamy Arts, a prestigious magic school, and hope no more passages show up.

But their world comes crashing down when Harker Blakely, the only person who knows what really happened with the tower, shows up at Bellamy Arts and Rat knows that they aren’t as safe as they once believed. They soon find themself in a race against time to find out the truth behind what is hiding at Bellamy Arts—and how to stop it before it destroys everything they love.

I was incredibly excited to dive into a story that prominently features trans characters. Though it was a bit tough for me to get into the story at the beginning, I found myself sucked in by the end and anxious to see what happened. I will definitely be picking up the conclusion to duology to find out how everything ends.

The highlight of this book was the portrayal of Rat’s anxiety throughout. As a highly anxious person who overthinks everything, it was easy to relate to their internal monologue, especially when it came to interactions with other characters. Even the way that they developed feelings for certain characters felt incredibly relatable and I could see a lot of myself in Rat.

While some plot points felt inflated in importance, the character work made up for it. Rat’s little found family of sorts really warmed my heart and made me stick around even when I wasn’t 100% feeling the plot. Add in a sprinkle of romance (that I hope develops further in the next book) and a new magical world to explore and there is plenty to enjoy with this book.

A HUNDRED VICIOUS TURNS, the first book in the Broken Tower duology by debut author Lee Paige O’Brien, is available now and you can pick up a copy for yourself here.

Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher for free and have voluntarily written this review. If you purchase a copy using my Bookshop affiliate link above, not only will I receive a small commission (which will fuel my coffee and tea addiction and help to keep me up all night reading more books to recommend to you), but you will be supporting indie bookstores as well! If you prefer Amazon, visit my Amazon storefront and click on the list titled "2023 Book Recommendations."