League of Liars by Astrid Scholte
Publication Date: February 22, 2022
Summary from GoodReads:
In this fantasy thriller, four teens charged with murder and the illegal use of magic band together to devise the ultimate jailbreak.
Ever since his mother was killed, seventeen-year-old Cayder Broduck has had one goal–to see illegal users of magic brought to justice. People who carelessly use extra dimensional magic for their own self-interest, without a care to the damage it does to society or those around them, deserve to be punished as far as Cayder is concerned. Because magic always has a price. So when Cayder lands a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to apprentice under a premier public defender, he takes it. If he can learn all the tricks of public defense, the better he’ll be able to dismantle defense arguments when he’s a prosecutor. Then he’ll finally be able to make sure justice is served.
But when he meets the three criminals he’s supposed to defend, it no longer seems so black and white. They’re teenagers, like him, and their stories are . . . complicated, like his. Vardean, the prison where Cayder’s new clients are incarcerated, also happens to be at the very heart of the horrible tear in the veil between their world and another dimension–where all magic comes from.
Let’s take a moment to admire that gorgeous cover! I think this is my favorite so far this year! And I am happy to report that the inside is just as good as that cover and summary suggests. This was a thriller with so many twists that it made my head spin! I could not tell at any point where this story was heading, and what the truth was! I will say the ending was a little bit hard, only because it leaves you hanging. There is no indication that there is going to be a sequel yet, but I am certainly hoping there will be one!
The story is mostly told through Cayder’s point of view with some of the other characters having their own chapters here and there when it was needed. Cayder was a great character and he goes through a lot in this book. He starts off on the moral high ground, that anyone who uses edem is guilty, but as he learns the other’s stories and starts to figure out what is really going on, he begins to realize that everything is not so black and white.
Jey was probably my second favorite character. He was a total liar, but it was hard to figure out why he was lying and who he was protecting. I loved his attitude and his snarky comebacks too. The two girls, Leta and Eleanora were also good characters who really needed someone to understand what they saw and what is really happening. Both are well rounded characters that are nicely fleshed out.
The world building was very well done. I loved the magical system and don’t think there is anything quite like it that I have read before. The extra dimensional magic, called edem, is pretty cool, but I can totally understand why it is forbidden. The hard part to live in this world is that the edem lives in shadows, so this world is very well lit, even at night. Which would be pretty hard to live through.
I have not read this author’s other works, but I plan on rectifying that soon. Her other two books were stand alones, but I am really hoping we get a sequel for this one. I am not a fan of the open ending, where the readers gets to imagine what happens next. And in this case it doesn’t totally feel like that was the author’s intent. But even with that ending I still highly recommend this one, it was one hell of a ride!