Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho is exactly how I like my fantasy: eccentric, fun, with a touch of romance.
Zacharias is the newest Sorcerer Royal, wielder of the most powerful magic in England after his surrogate father's untimely passing. He's dealing with the slow ebb of English magic, accusations that he murdered his way into power, and the constant racism he faces as an outsider in a world of snobs - he is a manumitted African slave.
These issues pale in comparison with what he faces when he meets Prunella Gentleman. Prunella has ambitions, secrets, and more than her share of magic, which she as a woman is forbidden to use.
Seeing Prunella and Zacharias confront the world is entertaining. Their reactions to growing up in similar circumstances are very different. If there is a flaw in the plotting, it is Zacharias' passivity. He underreacts to everything from insults to murder attempts and political maneuverings. Prunella, on the other hand, is indomitable. But both are intelligent and principled - my favorite kind of characters.
If you are looking for diverse fantasy, this is your jam. I am looking forward to more of Cho's work, especially the continuation of Prunella and Zacharias' story.