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The Magpie Society: One for Sorrow by Zoe Sugg and Amy McCulloch,#78 review

Publication date : 28 October 2020

The brand new series from Zoe Sugg and Amy McCulloch

Illumen Hall is an elite boarding school. Tragedy strikes when the body of a student is discovered at their exclusive summer party – on her back is an elaborate tattoo of a magpie.

When new girl Audrey arrives the following term, running from her own secrets back home in America, she is thrown into solving the case. Despite her best efforts to avoid any drama, her new roommate Ivy was close to the murdered girl, and the two of them can’t help but get pulled in.

The two can’t stand each other, but as they are drawn deeper into the mystery of this strange and terrible murder, they will discover that something dangerous is at the heart of their superficially perfect school.

Welcome to The Magpie Society.

One for Sorrow will be told via the alternating first person perspectives of the lead characters Audrey – written by Amy – and Ivy – written by Zoe – with the narrative being jointly plotted by both authors.

The Magpie Society: One for Sorrow follows the current trend of dark academia, mystery and unravelling a murder. It is written by Zoe Sugg and Amy McCulloch, each author tackled a main character’s POV that blends effortlessly as though it was written by one author.



Audrey Wagner (written by Amy McCulloch) the American hailed from a rich family in America. Newly migrated to the UK after a party turned into a crime, she was sent to the historically reputable private school – Illumen Hall. Used to her privileges and luxuries, she now has to learn how to live with a roomie that is the opposite of her background and socialise with Brits who obviously communicate very different from what she’s accustomed to.

Ivy Moore-Zhang (written by Zoe Sugg), the straight-A full scholarship Illumen Hall prefect star that could possibly be a Type C due to her habit of being detail-oriented and penchant to be involved in things that are controlled and stable received the unexpected twist of the change of plans for having a dorm room all to herself. #PrefectPerks! Her new roomie Audrey (clutterer) Wagner is literally in her space. Needlessly to say, they automatically do not get along.

However, since a mysterious podcast featuring the murder case of Top Student and Friend – Lola Radcliffe interrupted the fresh start of a new school year after the terror of Summer, the two girls at odds fortuitously teamed up to solve the enigma of the person behind the podcast and uncover the truth about Lola.

“If people think I’ve lit a fire now, things are really going to go up in flames next week.”

The Magpie Society: One for Sorrow by Zoe Sugg and Amy McCulloch



What I don’t like:
The build-up of the plot is very slow and malcontent. The first 60% is setting the world-building and the hype of this huge unsolved murder case with a secret society called “The Magpie Society” dating way back to the 1800s that protects the school from corruption. The ending left me perplexed because it was obviously meant to be a cliff hanger but I was more confused at the intense build-up then the sudden end on the first book. I do think they planned to have it this way to intrigue readers into reading the sequel. It worked for me. I have to know more about the secret “The Magpie Society”! In my opinion, there were some hanging bits in the plot hole that made the book have a slightly unfinished feel.

What I like:
The archenemy to friends troupe in the book. I really hated it when the authors place the two protagonists against one another, it is such a typical thing to expect when you put two big personalities together. The “girl hating girl” needs to stop, the female species are capable of so much more when we all work together. We are the masterminds behind all the maleness of society. They only want us to hate one another because they fear our power in unity. I’m super pleased that Audrey and Ivy became closer friends despite unsavoury circumstances. Next, the mental health portrayal in it. It was clear from the beginning that PTSD, anxiety and depression is going to be in colour throughout the book. I am glad for the direction the authors have taken with this initiative.

Thank you so much @times.reads for sending me a review copy. It could be a fast read for you if you have the time to properly read the book without much interruptions of non-fictional life. The writing sucks you right into this dark academic mystery world filled with school drama and friendship cliques. Old feuds and new ones. You can find this book is all bookstores. Thank you for reading my review.

By elysianbooksish

The Bookish Faerie who loves to read and write, and bake too

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