"Beneath the Citadel" review


Title: Beneath the Citadel

Author: Destiny Soria

Subgenre: Young adult

2021 Bingo squares: Found family, Revenge, Latinx author

Recommend: Maybe, it’s a cool magic system, but it’s very YA

Stars: 3.5/5


Beneath the Citadel has a lot going on. From the very beginning, there’s a heist that goes south, then a backup heist, then more hijinks take place. It deals with several interesting themes: Prophecy and free will; memory, memory loss, and identity; power and corruption. There’s strong LGBT representation: a gay couple, a bi character, and an asexual character. There’s a bunch of different types of magic, most of them pretty well defined and worldbuilt. And due to characters' abilities to share, read, and erase memories, the plot is almost akin to that of a time travel novel in complexity (there’s no actual time travel) (although philosophically we could ask if having memories erased and restored is equivalent to time travel…). Unfortunately all of this is significantly crippled by characters who do irrational young-adult-novel things, and the novel is weakened a lot as a result.

If you don’t mind “irrational young-adult decision-making” plot points, Beneath the Citadel is really a 5/5 novel and you’ll have a great time with it. It’s truly a creative setting with interesting themes and an intricate plot. But I felt that plot hinged too much on YA tropes, and overall it brought my enjoyment down significantly.

Cover of Beneath the Citadel

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River is a MediaWiki developer and admins Leaguepedia. This blog contains her fantasy novel reviews.