ARC REVIEW: WE ALL FALL DOWN BY ROSE SZABO

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Thank you to Netgalley and Macmillan publishing for providing an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

SYNOPSIS

In River City, where magic used to thrive and is now fading, the witches who once ruled the city along with their powerful King have become all but obsolete. The city’s crumbling government is now controlled primarily by the new university and teaching hospital, which has grown to take over half of the city.

Moving between the decaying Old City and the ruthless New, four young queer people struggle with the daily hazards of life―work, school, dodging ruthless cops and unscrupulous scientists―not realizing that they have been selected to play in an age-old drama that revives the flow of magic through their world. When a mysterious death rocks their fragile peace, the four are brought into each other’s orbits as they uncover a deeper magical conspiracy.

Devastating, gorgeous, and utterly unique, We All Fall Down examines the complex network of pain created by power differentials, even between people who love each other―and how it is possible to be queer and turn out just fine. 

I devoured this book. It one of the most unique books I’ve read in a long, long time. It’s so well done. We All Fall Down is about four characters who live on an island called River City. The island is basically a sovereign nation — US laws do not apply. And yes, the book takes place in current day. However, most technology does not work very well on the island. There’s no connection to outside internet, cellphones don’t work well, etc. It’s all explained by saying the island’s bedrock messes with newer and more complicated technology.

At the beginning of a novel, there is a flashback scene that sets up the entire story. The previous King dies, and his wife, the Maiden, dies giving birth to their children. This is our start.

Lemme pause here and say that if you don’t like stories where fate is a thing, you probably won’t like this one. The whole book is about fate, and how the ‘wheel’ will continue to turn regardless of what people try to do to influence it. Fate says there must be four players: The King, The Hero, The Maiden, and the Monster. We meet everyone by the end of the novel.

David, is a huge black man who works at the University as a physicist. He’s studying magic without really realizing that’s what he’s doing. Jesse has a unique power — they can physically turn from a male to female body and back again at will. They are a bright little sunshiney cinnamon roll, and I love them. Jack is a buff, tough woman who works for the local crime lord. She’s got a hard exterior, but is a little squishy underneath. Turing is…I don’t want to spoil it, but she’s different. She’s had a very rough life, and is sheltered because of it. Each of the characters has their own definite story line, and they’re all very well rounded. I do wish we got a little more information on Jack, but perhaps that’s coming in the next book.

There is not a single straight person in this book. It’s fantastic. The writing is mysterious and shadowing feeling without being frustratingly vague. I cannot wait to read the next one, whenever it comes out. I am dying to get some more answers regarding fate in this world!

WE ALL FALL DOWN WILL BE RELEASED JUNE 7, 2022.

Preorder at your local indie bookstore, or at the following links:

AMAZON | BARNES AND NOBLE

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