Review: “The Black Mage: First Year”

 The Black Mage: First Year  Author: Rachel E. Carter  Release Date: August 12, 2014  Publisher: Astraea Press  Format: eBook (PDF)


Before the age of seventeen the young men and women of Jerar are given a choice –follow tradition, or pursue a trial year in one of the realm’s three war schools to study as a soldier, knight or mage… For 15-year-old Ryiah the choice has always been easy. Become a warrior and leave the boring confines of her lowborn life behind. Set to enroll in the School of Knighthood on the eve of her next birthday, plans suddenly shift when her twin brother discovers powers. Hoping that hers will soon follow, she enrolls with Alex at the Academy instead –the realm’s most notorious war school for those with magic. Yet when she arrives Ry finds herself competing against friend and foe for one of the exalted apprenticeships. Every “first-year” is given a trial year to prove their worth –and no amount of hard work and drive will guarantee them a spot. It seems like everyone is rooting for her to fail –and first and foremost among them Prince Darren, the school prodigy who has done nothing but make life miserable since she arrived. When an accidental encounter leads Ryiah and Darren to an unlikely friendship she is convinced nothing good will come of it. But the lines become blurred when she begins to improve –and soon she is a key competitor for the faction of Combat… Still, nothing is ever as it seems –and when the world comes crashing down around her, Ry is forced to place faith in the one thing she can believe in –herself. Will it be enough? (Goodreads)

First Lines: “Don’t look now,” I said softly. Did I sound calm? I hoped so. It was hard to tell with the frantic beating in my chest. “But I think we are being followed.”

Review:  I received an email from Rachel asking if I was interested in reviewing her first book and upon reading the description on Goodreads and some of the reviews I was sold. It sounded like a mix of Harry Potter and The Hunger Games with it’s own little pieces mixed in. I’m very glad I was able to read this book! I loved every second of it and was hooked right from the beginning. I love Ryiah and her determination and feisty nature. In the face of anything and everything she just puts her head down and works. Does what she has to. She’s the kind of female protagonist I love. Ryiah is also incredibly well balanced. She’s strong, but she proves that females (women) can be strong while also giving in to her emotions. I think it is so important for books to teach readers that a girl can have a crush on a boy and still be strong, successful, intelligent, etc. Now, to be totally honest, I saw the general idea of the ending coming from a mile away. What did get me is how it all happened. There were lots of twists and turns, things common to a typical school, and action. I got caught up in the story and sometimes wished I was training right along with the students! I really love the way the characters were built and how their stories are told. I cannot wait for the rest of the series to hopefully find out more about Jerar and Ryiah’s world!

FINAL VERDICT: Love. Love. Love. I will definitely read this more than once and look forward to the rest of the series


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