Magic Monday: Beggar Magic by HL Burke

Magic Monday: Beggar Magic by HL Burke

Once a month I post a book review for a fantasy novel that I’ve read in the recent past. These reviews are posted on “Magic Monday”, the second Monday of every month.

Beggar Magic Cover
Cover courtesy of HL Burke @

Imagine a world where magic is music!

Today I’m reviewing Beggar Magic by HL Burke, a fantasy novella for teens and young adults and, really, anyone who loves magic and music and a good story with strong female characters (the male characters are strong, too, but the main character and her best friend are both female.)

I should give a brief disclaimer before I continue with this review… I do know HL Burke. However, she did not solicit this book review. I’m reviewing it because I enjoyed the book and thought it the perfect book to start my Magic Monday series with.

Beggar Magic takes place in and around Gelia City, where magic comes from the Strains–a constant melody that all but the Wordless can hear. Leilani, the main protagonist, is a Common teen, who can only manipulate the Strains for mundane spells (called beggar magic.) When she rescues Zebedy, a Highmost teen, they become close friends. They have their differences (Leilani wishes she could be as close to the Strains as Zeb, and Zeb is, frankly, quite the spoiled brat at times), but their love for the Strains is a common bond.

When the Strains start falling silent in patches throughout the Highmost manors, Leilani and Zeb must find the cause before it is too late. I don’t want to go into the details because this is when the intrigue and plot twists started making me wish I could read even faster and the millisecond it takes my Kindle to refresh with a new page started feeling way too slow. And then the story ended and left me wishing for more. I’m hoping for more stories set in this world in the future!

My favorite part of the book: I love the whole idea of the Strains. No one hears them quite alike–some hear whistles or birdsong, others hear choral music or even screams. They also have different moods–sometimes happy, sometimes sad, sometimes angry. It’s beautiful magic that’s alive in its own way.

My least favorite part of the book: There were times when Zeb annoyed me with her bratty nature and all I wanted was to give her a good slap. Her character did grow as the story unfolded and by the end I feel she was more mature–at any rate, I liked her better by then. But definitely several want-to-slap moments in the interim.

As someone who doesn’t like romance (that is, I don’t want any unbelievable love-at-first-sight nonsense, or the graphic details, or the mooning-over-Mr.-Handsome-Unattainable-but-not-really-because-they’ll-be-together-by-the-end, all of which I’ve seen in fantasy novels that were otherwise enjoyable reads) I tend to look for books that don’t have a heavy romantic subplot. I’m happy to say that Beggar Magic, although it does have a romantic subplot later in the book, does not focus heavily on it and I found the relationships both believable and sweet.

All in all, I enjoyed Beggar Magic. It’s definitely one I would reread when I have the time (there are just so many books I haven’t read yet!)

Intrigued? Beggar Magic is available on Amazon. You can also learn more about HL Burke and her stories through her blog.

I hope you enjoyed this first Magic Monday post! Come back on the second Monday every month for another book review.

Thoughts? Comments? Let me know below!