Audiobook review: Radical by Colleen Cowley
Radical picks up about two months after the conclusion of the first title, Subversive. The beginning of the book continues to see Peter working on a defense against the weapon he created, while Beatrix and Ella work on their Plan B – teaching women how to use magic in hopes of storming Washington D.C. if Lydia and the League cannot force changes to the magiocracy. The stakes get higher and higher as each progresses in their task. The Clandestine Magic series should be read in order as each book is only one part of the larger picture.
The first half of the book moves a bit slowly as the author details Peter and Beatrix’s individual efforts to move forward with their plans. Beatrix is full of anxiety, worried that Peter will discover her plans. Meanwhile, the pair continue to see their magical bond grow stronger, causing a more fevered desire between their dream-side selves, spilling over into their dayside selves. I enjoyed the book, especially learning more about Peter’s friend Martinelli. There is also a silly side plot involving the town’s young women trying to win Peter’s favor. Although it moves a bit slowly, the author uses the space to ratchet up the stakes while developing the conflicting feelings between Beatrix and Peter.
I continue to love the evolution of Peter and Beatrix’s relationship. What begins with questionable intent develops, changes, and grows. The author allows her characters to ponder some difficult questions and evaluate their morals as Beatrix and Peter analyze their feelings. Their romance is unconventional and heart-wrenching, yet fantastic.
The second half of the book moves with speed and left my heart racing at times. Truths come to light, and some of the facts are quite ugly once uncovered. More than one character finds themselves in potentially mortal danger. The author begins to pull all of the various threads together and surprised me with a couple “AH HA!” moments. And once again, Ms. Cowley leaves listeners at a pause in the story, with many questions unanswered.
Narration: The story is shared from the third person alternating POV‘s of the two main characters Beatrix and Peter. The narrator is a neutral feminine narrator who alters dialogue slightly, adjusting for age, gender, etc. Her voice is gentle and easy to listen to; very suiting for the narrator and characters. Her males are generally lower pitched. Her younger characters tend to be suitably bubbly and more vivacious. She does a good job creating unique character voices, and the voices work great together when performing dialogue between Peter and Beatrix, even with few to no dialogue tags.
After a slow start, Radical ended up being extraordinarily good. Filled with excitement, romance, twists, and turns, I was on the edge of my seat for the last third or so of the book, and I cannot wait for the final chapter of the Clandestine Magic series.
About the Book:
In this second book of the Clandestine Magic trilogy, Beatrix Harper wants to expose that lie to protect her sister’s life. Her desperate plan: Train tens of thousands of women in secret, then shock the nation with a display of their magic. She thinks it will work—if only she can keep the details from her town’s wizard, Peter Blackwell.
But that’s nearly impossible thanks to their unwanted magical connection. Peter, meanwhile, fears that his own desperate goal—to counter the terrible weapon he should never have invented—is doomed to fail.
Their plans are about to collide. Disastrously.
Author: Colleen Cowley
Narrator: Leanne Woodward
Series: Clandestine Magic #2
Genre: Fantasy, Alternate History, romantic elements
Audiobook Release Date: July 26, 2021
Publisher: Slender Sky Books
Length: 10 hrs and 48 mins
Audio Speed: 1.3x
Audible/Amazon (affilate link)