“The Brilliant Death,” by Amy Rose Capetta, is a beautifully written fantasy complete with a charismatic gender-bending magical tutor. The world building is lush and detailed, and I loved the setting.
Teodora DiSangro, who likes to be called Teo, is a very strong and easy-to-love main character. Teo protects her family by “getting rid of” their enemies. She is a strega, a once-human that can use magic to shape shift, but her own special power is being able to change people into trinkets.
Teo’s bedroom is riddled with objects that used to be people, since Teo transforms bad people into objects. She only changes murderers, thieves, and such, and I really admired her for that. Teo keeps her family safe, until the day her father receives a mysterious letter and almost drops dead. Seeking the cure for her father’s poisoned body, Teo sets out from her home onto an adventure.
Insert Cielo, the aforementioned charismatic gender-bending tutor. Honestly, I almost liked Cielo better than Teo, since Cielo’s heart was just so pure and good. Cielo grows so much during the book. He is a strega too, but instead of being able to transform people into objects, he/she can shape shift into any living creature much easier than Teo can. Cielo is crazy powerful.
As Cielo and Teo’s romance grows, so do the dangers. Though the story was engaging, sometimes the book seemed a bit rushed, the plot making twists that I couldn’t find a purpose for. Characters would suddenly change their mind with no forethought, previous actions would wisp away like smoke, and sometimes things just made no sense. But I still liked this book, and the ending was satisfying (Sadly, I don’t think there will be another book in this series.) Fans of Sabaa Tahir and Leigh Bardugo need to read “The Brilliant Death,” as do those who enjoy a good fantasy/ adventure/ romance!