Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho (Sorcerer Royal, #1)

Sorcerer to the Crown is understated and witty, precise in its language, a commentary on colonialism, imperialism, sexism, racism, and power through the lens of an England rife with sorcery but slowly losing its magic. It was a joy to read.

I love how carefully and precisely this book portrays social injustices while ensuring that the dialogue among the point-of-view characters resolves on the side of understanding that they are injustices. In this case, the main two are racial prejudices and discrimination couched as concerns over someone is "English" enough, and gender discrimination portrayed as a blanket ban on women practicing magic due to a concern that such power would "overwhelm" their frail frames. They are not only handled well, but showing at least one of them to be injustices in need of a correction is central to the plot.

The fairies in general and the familiars in particular are shown well, with enough similarity to human thoughts that their motives are understandable, but with a distinctly separate moral sense (not that humans are a monolith in this book) that marks them as wholly different creatures at crucial junctures within the story.

I'll try to keep up with this series, and I definitely recommend it to anyone who likes fantasy.

CW for sexism, racism.

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