Welcome to the June 22nd stop on the blog tour for The Virus of Beauty by C. B. Lyall with Goddess Fish Promotions. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for spotlights, reviews, author guest posts & interviews, and a giveaway! More on that at the end of this post.
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About the Book
The Virus of Beauty
Virus of Beauty Book One
by C.B. Lyall
Published 16 November 2020
Hazel Publishing Company, LLC
Genre: YA Fantasy
Page Count: 243
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
Ugliness is power, and the Virus of Beauty is spreading causing panic throughout the witch population.
Wilf Gilvary is a teenage wizard who is terrified of using magic. When his father dies under mysterious circumstances, Wilf is plunged into the middle of a political struggle between the witches and wizards in the Magical Realm. He’d rather play soccer than practice magic, but he’s forced to make a choice between the life of a normal Hong Kong teen and one of wizardry after a powerful virus begins to decimate the witch community. The cure is spellbound in a journal Wilf inherited from his father and when his friend Katryna contracts the virus, Wilf understands that he must overcome his fear of magic to unlock the journal’s secrets – but will it be too late to save her?
A woman stomped down the central aisle towards him. He observed the purple silk slippers she wore. Shoes that delicate shouldn’t sound like soccer cleats marching across a metal basement hatch. She stopped at the counter.
His gaze lifted from the woman’s feet to her face. Her leaden complexion and doughy face were enough to make him recoil. But the enormous wart at the end of her long, beaked nose was his undoing. He gasped.
She pursed her lips and her eyes flared. Wilf took in the rest of her appearance, from the severity of her hair bun to the red carpetbag, the size of a professional tennis player’s racket bag, slung over her shoulder. He furrowed his brow. She reminded him of someone, but he couldn’t quite remember who.
“Beautiful, isn’t it? Not many are blessed with a wart of such magnitude,” she said.
The hairs on his arms all stood up at the sound of her scratchy voice. Blackened nails poked out of the ends of her fingerless gloves, but thankfully, she wasn’t offering to shake hands.
“Have we met?”
“Not that I recall,” she said.
“You’re probably right. I think I would remember seeing you before.” He tried to avoid meeting her hypnotic, brown eyes. They seemed like mud pools wanting to suck him into their fathomless depths.
“Is that so?”
His stool rocked of its own volition and forced him to stand.
“Ermentrude Wakefield is the name.” She glanced around the small store. “You may call me Witch Wakefield.”
Wilf stepped back, braced against the wall, and shoved his ringed hand into his pocket. His heart raced. The Wizard Council had dispatched this witch to collect him. Well, it didn’t make any difference who they sent. He wasn’t leaving Hong Kong.
“Now, I don’t usually deal with wizards” — her face wrinkled the way Myra’s did when she took his soccer kit out of its bag for washing — “but this time I have to.”
My Rating: 3.5 Stars
Consider liking my review on Goodreads
I was granted complimentary access to The Virus of Beauty as part of my participation in a blog tour for this title with Goddess Fish Promotions. Thank you to all involved in affording me this opportunity! My thoughts are my own and my review is honest.
Political intrigue, a suspicious death, and a reluctant wizard. What a great concept! This book definitely drew me in, and I love the idea of a magical protagonist who doesn’t want to be a magical protagonist. The world-building is wonderful and the concepts driving this plot are fascinating. If you’re looking for something different in YA fantasy, this just might be the book that’s calling your name!
With that said, the one thing that’s been running through my head every time I think about composing my review: “You’re a wizard, Harry!” But instead of informing a (pre)teen boy who doesn’t know he’s a wizard that he is indeed a wizard, and only needing to do it once, people are constantly telling this boy that he’s a wizard because he wishes he could forget. We got it. He doesn’t want to use magic. The exact phrase “you’re a wizard” came up distractingly frequently.
Now, this is both a debut novel and first novel in a series. It has a lot of set-up to do and it’s the author’s first run through the editorial gauntlet. The plot is more of a many little fires the whole ride situation than a rising action, climax, falling action type deal. While that’s a perfectly acceptable writing choice, it has the potential to either overwhelm or bore the reader over time, and this book is targeted at teen readers. Dedicated teen readers and older readers who love YA are going to push through. Distractable readers are going to put it down at some point and may not hear the book calling them back.
I will say I absolutely love the idea of a virus that gives witches unwanted good looks. Not only is that something I’ve never seen done before, it’s hilarious that it’s unwanted, and it’s an interesting complement to Wilf’s rejection of his own magic.
If you’re looking for something unique in your YA fantasy, consider The Virus of Beauty!
About the Author
Carolyn Lyall was born in Stockton-On-Tees, United Kingdom. As a child Carolyn growing up in Northern England in the sixties Carolyn loved sports, reading and amateur dramatics. She joined a renaissance group, practiced the broadsword and dreamed of visiting other worlds. Her passion for what could be drove her forward when faced with everyday struggles. Her first memorable skirmish with gender inequality came at nine-years old when she was told that only boys were allowed to play soccer. In response, she simply refused to do any classwork until they changed their old-fashioned policies. She won that battle.
At the age of 18, she took a role as typist for a nursing school in Middlesbrough. She then moved to London and enrolled in night school. She was quickly recognized for her ability to fit in anywhere and for not being afraid to push back on the predominantly male leadership. She eventually became a project manager in software development and micro-computers, bridging the gap between computer programmers and management.
Her dream to travel was finally realized in 1990 when she moved to New York City, USA with her husband and the first of three sons. This was the steppingstone to a lifelong adventure that has taken her and her family to India, Belgium and Hong Kong.
Raising her family in multiple countries around the world, she saw that each move, while a shock, was an opportunity for her sons to redefine themselves against new challenges and different cultural norms. Now, that her sons have left home, Carolyn has used her passion for the fantastic to create a world where every day gender inequalities are at the forefront of a world ending conflict. She shares this story through the eyes of a young man who is suddenly thrust into this new world along with all of his own woes and prejudices. The introduction to this world is in Carolyn’s debut YA fantasy novel, “The Virus of Beauty,” due to be released July 31, 2019 under C B Lyall.
Carolyn has published two short stories in an annual anthology by 25 Servings of Soop. She wrote a number of articles for the American Women’s Associates Magazine. Fueled by her love of the works of Terry Pratchett, Sarah J Maas, Cassandra Clare, Brandon Sanderson and others, Carolyn has completed a number of writing courses, which included a Master Fantasy/Science Fiction writers course with Gotham Writers’ Workshop, a YA Voice class and Advance Novel Writing course at Sarah Lawrence College’s Writing Institute.
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