{ ARC } { Review } The Fascinators by Andrew Eliopulos

2 stars

“If you believe it, you can achieve it, that’s like the number-one rule of magic.”

~ This book was kindly provided to me by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review ~

Read in April 2020

It’s been a very long time since a book had let me down as much as The Fascinators did. To be honest Carry On and The Raven Boys were two books that I didn’t particularly enjoy, to begin with, and yet I still got very excited for The Fascinators, getting hyped by the beautiful cover and promising synopsis. It was even on my Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases of the First Half of 2020 blog post, where I gave the following reasons for being excited: “Okay, hear this. This book is about an openly gay high school boy who’s secretly in love with his best friend. It looks both amazing and a bit worrying because I’m rooting for Sam already, he seems so pure that I don’t want him heartbroken. Also, there will be some magic included in this book and I can’t wait.”

First, let me tell you that this book has NOTHING in common with Carry On or The Raven Boys (or Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda). It could have been a good thing for me if I didn’t like it even less than those two. Now about the story, this book focuses around a set of three friends, Sam our main character and who narrates most of the story, James who’s Sam secret crush, and Delia. All three of them bounded a few years ago thanks to their ability to use magic, they even created a club to train together in order to be able to enter a state competition. Delia is the most gifted of the three and therefore helps them a lot to improve their own magic. The action takes place in a southern town of Georgia in the United States, at the beginning of the Senior Year of High School, right after summer holidays when our three best friends started to drift apart because of magic and secrets. They quickly get mixed up in some shady cult group that is hitting their small town.

“Sometimes, Sam, we fight with people because we care about them too much to give up on them.”

The opening scene was striking and it really made me feel excited, however, the story became quickly bland, boring and unremarkable. This book lacked so much in term of worldbuilding (especially everything revolving around the magic was left unexplained) but what bothered me the most was the total absence of character consistency. There was no growth for them during the book, no lessons learned and the social interactions between the characters were really childish. To be honest this book felt like ‘middle grade’ for me (not that there is something wrong with MG, it’s a genre that I really enjoy, but in that case, it felt juvenile and unrealistic for high schoolers). I got tired pretty easily with the Sam/James/Denver love triangle, especially since James didn’t show any interest in Sam. Delila’s frustrations felt like they came out of nowhere and I really needed something more gradual to understand her thirst for power. In the end, I just didn’t believe in their friendship at all; we need to see the love and not just read about it to believe the falling out of love.

Basically, this book was 80% of slow and actionless plotline, and then 20% of messy and underwhelming plot twists that lead to an anticlimactic ending, making this book feel both too long and too short at the same time. The writing style was only average, it had nothing special but at least it didn’t require a lot of concentration to read. The trope used were often cliché and cringey. The only character I liked was Sam, but even he bothered me sometimes, and the love triangle felt totally unnecessary, I couldn’t root for either James or Denver. My main issue with Denver is that he was the ‘too perfect’. He served no role outside of being a third love interest to make us believe that Sam had the choice, and the way he was described is a lazy way to try to make us root for him. The most frustrating in all this is that there is no resolution of this love triangle at the end, even though the author says that this book is a standalone and that there is no sequel planned.

“The thing about practicing magic in Friedman, Georgia, was that you never knew who was going to hate you for it.”

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One thing I liked though is that this book brings visibility upon the LGBT+ community and I’ll always be thankful for that. The Fascinators didn’t shy away from heavy topics, such as bullying, the reality of homophobia and discrimination, the fact that magic was used as a new reason to marginalize those who are different, is something I found interesting and that would (unfortunately) probably really happen. To sum up, the things that bothered me the most about this book were the plots that weren’t resolved; there are different events that are mentioned several times and that don’t come to a conclusion, such as:
– The magic competition that I was so eager to read and that was just told by the characters in the end
The conflicts and the possible underlying feelings between James and Sam are never clearly addressed, as well as their “moment” that Sam must confront James with at the beginning of the book but never does
– The final confrontation that gave me a Breaking Dawn vibe.

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Have you read or will you read this book?
What did you think about it?

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French Book Blogger and avid reader 📚 - YA, Adult, NA, Fantasy, Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Romance -, LGBT & disability rep 🏳️‍🌈, Ravenclaw Potterhead △⃒⃘, English teacher 👩🏼‍🏫 living to travel 🌍, proud mom of Padfoot 🐕 and Juniper 🐈

3 thoughts on “{ ARC } { Review } The Fascinators by Andrew Eliopulos

  1. Oh gosh! I have a buddy read for this book the coming 5th. I’m sorry that you didn’t enjoy it. I hope I don’t dissapointed too. Great review by the way.😊

    Liked by 1 person

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