*I received a copy of this book from the publisher. This has not influenced my review.*
This was so fun, and the romance was so cute!
The characters were so lovable and easy to root for. Friendly, sunshine-y, extroverted Rook. Prickly, slightly grumpy, introverted Sun. Both struggling with feeling like outsiders for different reasons, but both goodhearted. Both the kind of character you just want to hug, although Sun doesn’t like being touched by most people, so I’ll let Rook hug them for me.
There was a cute frenemies-to-lovers romance. They were never truly enemies, just apprentices of rival sorcerers (who weren’t truly enemies either). And Sun was closed-off with everyone, despite wanting to be helpful, that was just their default setting. But that wasn’t going to stop Rook! There was friendly, playful teasing. There was genuine empathy and understanding. There were sweet, helpful gestures. All with the occasional (increasingly more affectionate) grumbling from Sun. It was a lovely progression of feelings that felt very sweet, made all the sweeter by how lonely they’d both been before.
The magic was a lot of fun! Hexes, curses, and other spells, more on the silly side, rather than heavy. Very mild spoiler, *SPOILER* one character is turned into a cat! Cat Sun was delightful, chasing down lizards and whatnot. Imagine how great it would be if the person you were crushing on temporarily became an adorable fluffy cat. *END SPOILER*
There was casual queer rep. Sun is nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns. Their mentor does as well.
The story wasn’t action-packed, but it wasn’t slow either. It was focused on the characters learning about magic, growing as people, getting to know each other, and figuring things out, with a bit of tension and action sometimes popping up here and there. All of it kept my attention.
Last but not least, there was a lovely message about found family and finding people who love you for who you are.
Now for the aesthetics. Not only is the cover gorgeous, the dust jacket on the hardcover is SO SHINY! It reflects the light in such a cool way. It has a really cute back cover too. The hardcover itself is dark blue with pink font on the spine. (Pictures below. I had to use my phone, which isn’t the best, but hopefully you can still see how pretty the book is!)
Overall, this was a great story with lovable characters, fun magic, cute romance, and a lovely message about finding your place in the world!
Anyone who likes magic, YA, casual queer rep, cute romance, frenemies to lovers, extroverts and introverts working together, and found family.