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Summary

Teodora di Sangro is used to hiding her magical ability to transform enemies into music boxes and mirrors. Nobody knows she’s a strega - and she aims to keep it that way.

The she meets Cielo - and everything changes.

A strega who can switch outward form as effortlessly as turning a page in a book, Cielo shows Teodora what her life could be like if she masters the power she’s been keeping secret. And not a moment too soon: The ruler of Vinalia has poisoned the patriarchs of the country’s five controlling families, including Teodora’s father, and demands that each family send a son to the palace. 

If she wants to save her family, Teodora must travel to the capital - not disguised as a boy, but transformed into one. But the road to the capital, and to bridling her powers, is full of enemies and complications, including the one she least expects: falling in love.

©2018 Amy Rose Capetta (P)2018 Listening Library

Critic reviews

"A delicious and magical intrigue too tempting not to devour." (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)

"A highly original magic system and a protagonist who is as ruthless as she is fiery make for a fast-paced adventure." (School Library Journal, starred review)

“A unique mashup of fantasy, historical fiction, and queer romance...the kind of book you won't be able to stop talking about.” (Bustle)

What listeners say about The Brilliant Death

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Beautiful & dangerous

I loved the setting and atmosphere of this book from the outset, the Italian mafia vibes and the vividness of the descriptions that made the landscape of the Ucelli seem like a character in its own right. It took me slightly longer to warm up to the characters but Teodora is an amazing protagonist, ruthless but loving, strong but unsure of her place, loyal but dreaming of more. She learns and grows so much over the course of the book! The genderfluid rep was just one more brilliant facet of the story, explored respectfully and naturally alongside the plot, and the romance was beautifully developed and perfectly balanced with the rest of the plot.

The audiobook narrator was also one of the best I've heard, perfectly suited to this book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Doug
  • 10-11-18

Amazing in so many ways!

Let's start with the narrator, because that is make or break for me. She was excellent, and the Italian accent was wonderful. She made me believe that she WAS the character she was reading at all times.
On to the story! What a captivating universe Amy builds for you!! So many moments had me stopping everything else I was doing, riveted and waiting to hear what happened next! There was a quote very close to the end that gave me absolute chills!!! I can only hope that there is more where this came from, because I absolutely loved the whole story!!!

4 people found this helpful

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  • Harley fleming
  • 22-01-22

wow wow wow

Both the story and narration were fantastic. My genderqueer heart is overflowing <3 Beautifully written, amazing story, just wow

3 people found this helpful

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  • Alex
  • 22-01-22

Fun story

I liked the magic and world building and that it used an AU Italy. Loved the main characters. Not aure how I feel about the ending, hopefully the sequel clears up some loose ends.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mint lover love rose 2001 ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤
  • 27-06-21

what an amazing book!

I absolutely loved this book! the love and adventure that happened made me want to keep going. every chapter brought me into a deep trance, as if I was the character. what made it even better what the magic, making my imagination spark. I recommend this book to anyone!

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  • Dahlia
  • 23-06-22

Amazing genderfluid love story!

The Brilliant Death is a touching piece about love, death, and finding your identity. While not all of us have strega magic to help us change, we still hold the power to be who we want to be. The role life hands you never has to be the one you accept, which Teo teaches us beautifully.

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  • Vrey
  • 14-07-20

Missed potential.

The first hour is a fast-paced ride, and the following 8 hours are a stuttering dull staccato.

A friend read this story and wanted to discuss, and I have to agree that this COULD have been a lovely story.

The 'brilliant' details first introduced fall away and you're brought on a journey that is blandly described. A beautiful ball, a chance to paint a picture isn't even partially described. The main character and their interactions with their ally were the only things that pushed me to finish. It was at least 7 hours wasted.

Dialogue is great, but the depiction of the world and settings leave me wanting (yes still wanting).