An Unkindness of Magicians
This "magical revenge thriller" begins with an epigraph from William Shakespeare's The Tempest:
And then Kat Howard's novel dives into a tale that is part Harry Potter, part Kill Bill, and part Hunger Games. But it's not just a mash-up, but a deeply original story set in New York where magicians battle for leadership of the "Unseen World" where magic has gone wrong. Howard dips in and out of various perspectives, but focuses on outsider Sydney who has agreed to compete in the Turning (the magical battle for leadership, a series of magical duels) on behalf of another upstart magician, Laurent. Sydney comes from the House of Shadows - the secretive and mysterious house that controls the magic.
If this all sounds absurd - magicians and duels and urban fantasy - maybe it's not for you. But if you grew up reading Harry Potter and are searching for that bad-ass Hermione revenge tale: go read this immediately. I thoroughly enjoyed it; there was a lot of exposition along the way, but that's how it works in fantasy. There was also a serial killer plotline dealing with the murders of young women and I don't think she gave that story enough room to breathe... But there is a *ton* going on in the story, and the plot moves at a rapid pace, so you will definitely be swept up in it.
As Barnes and Noble's blog (I can't believe I read Barnes and Noble's blog....) writes, "If you seek strong women wielding magic, dangerous odds with high costs, and deep worldbuilding with sharp edges, An Unkindness of Magicians will give you what you’re looking for: magic in a compromised world. A grownup world." Howard explores the dark side of magic, sets her story in a recognizable and realistic New York, and lets you sink your teeth into a large cast of characters.