Book Review: The Obsidian Tower (Rooks and Ruin #1)

the obsidian towerTitle: The Obsidian Tower

Author: Malissa Caruso

Pub. Date: June 2, 2020

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5


 The mage-marked granddaughter of a ruler of Vaskandar, Ryx was destined for power and prestige at the top of Vaskandran society. But her magic is broken; all she can do is uncontrollably drain the life from everything she touches, and Vaskandar has no place for a mage with unusable powers.

Then, one night, two terrible accidents befall her: Ryx accidentally kills a visiting dignitary in self-defense, activating a mysterious magical artifact sealed in an ancient tower in the heart of her family’s castle.

Ryx flees, seeking a solution to her deadly magic. She falls in with a group of unlikely magical experts investigating the disturbance in Vaskandar—and Ryx realizes that her family is in danger and her domain is at stake. She and her new colleagues must return to the family stronghold to take control of the artifact that everyone wants to claim—before it destroys the world.


This will be a spoiler free review. Thank you to NetGalley for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

It’s been almost 24 hours since I’ve finished this book and I’m still impressed. I’m pretty sure I requested this book months ago because Emily A. Duncan (author of Wicked Saints) was screaming about it on Twitter. Then time passed and my urge to read it dwindled. I read it anyways, because I needed to, and it comes out in a week.

I am so glad that I read this.

It’s one of those books that the more you think about it after finishing reading it, the more you realize like, damn, that was amazing. I was a little unsure going into this book, I wasn’t sure if it was ultimately going to be something I’d enjoy. I’ll admit I went into it a little close minded, but it didn’t take long for it to hook me. I was invested.

I kind of got a Knives Out vibe from it. The mystery, the thrilling almost absurdity of trying to piece together everything that’s happening…it makes for a really fun read.

I mean, so much happens in this book from the very beginning. It starts off with a confrontation, and just keeps going. You’re not really sure who to trust, who to back, but you’re totally on Ryx’s side, but everyone else around her gets massive side eye.

I will say that I got weird, untrustworthy vibes off one character from the beginning, and it turned out that I was right. It didn’t take away the shock of the reveal or what is ultimately revealed.

I loved the Rookery and that cast of characters. Ashe is probably my favorite and I loved the list of rules the others had to implement to make sure she doesn’t just kill people. It was a small source of comedy that was so enjoyable. I loved how they were so quick and willing to accept Ryx.

I was sunk on Severin from the moment he was introduced. Like, absolutely sunk. I loved how he wasn’t this protector character, but more or less ran from confrontation. He was the opposite of what I was expecting, and I loved it. I’m really excited to see his journey in book 2 – to see how he grows and changes after the events at the end of the book.

Ardith was easily the comedic relief. I love a chaos character, and they existed for chaos. They don’t necessarily stir shit up, but if shit’s already up in the air, they’ll enjoy watching it fall. I can’t wait to see more of them in – hopefully – in the next book.

I also want Whisper and loved how he wasn’t above a good ear scratch – especially finding out more about him at the end of the book. He kind of reminded me of the Cheshire Cat…though less fever dream. He just had that kind of aloof knowing.

I thought the pacing of this book was so well done and so much was packed into this story. It never felt crowded or rushed, and the world – Gloamingard in particular is so interesting. It was kind of easy to picture Gloamingard, and I loved how with each new ruler, more was added on to the castle. That it was this hodgepodge of styles and architecture.

This book hooks you from the very beginning, with a murder mystery plot, a revenge plot, magic and mayhem, characters that defy expectations all with some dark and twisty moments that will leave you wanting more.

This was my first Malissa Caruso book, and after I finished this one, I learned that there was another trilogy set in this world, so guess who went and bought the first book. I’m so glad that I was wrong about my expectations for this book. When I finished this book two nights and rated it on Goodreads, I gave it 4 stars. Then I sat on it for a while and now it’s gone up. I’m still blown away by this book, and I really cannot wait for book 2. I want it so badly and I cannot wait to see what happens next and to see what the Rookery gets up to.

The Obsidian Tower comes out June 2 – a week from now – so make sure you preorder it, because you’re going to want to read it. Trust me.

2 thoughts on “Book Review: The Obsidian Tower (Rooks and Ruin #1)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s