Featured Review: First Year (The Black Mage Book 1) by Rachel E. Carter
About This Book:
Magic. Romance. War. Perfect for fans of Throne of Glass, Falling Kingdoms, and Tamora Pierce. Before the age of seventeen, the young men and women of Jerar are given a choice --pursue a trade or enroll in a trial year in one of the realm's three war schools to study as a soldier, knight, or mage... For fifteen-year-old Ryiah, the choice has always been easy. Become a mage and train in Combat, the most prestigious faction of magic. Yet when she arrives, Ry finds herself competing against friend and foe for one of the exalted apprenticeships. Everyone is rooting for her to fail--first and foremost among them is Prince Darren, the school prodigy who has done nothing but make life miserable since she arrived. Will Ry survive, or will her dream go down in flames? *** The first book in the The Black Mage series by USA Today bestselling author Rachel E. Carter.
*Review Contributed By Michelle Lynn, Staff Reviewer*
A promising beginning.
A fantastic opener to what promises to be a fun series.
Ryiah and her twin brother are teens who leave their home to pursue a spot at the prestigious school for mages. Anyone with the talent can be taken on as a first year, but to get beyond that requires smarts and skill unmatched by many others. Ryiah can barely access her magic. She isn't a particularly good fight. But she wants to be a combat mage. She wants one of the coveted five spots. With the aid of her brother, some friends, and an unlikely ally, she tries to survive the challenges they throw at her, knowing that if she does, it only gets harder from there.
What I loved:
Ryiah is an incredibly fun character. She's a mix of fierce determination and self-doubt. It makes her very real in the reader's mind. The relationships she has with friends and her brother are a treat to watch unfold. Her development is slow and steady as she tries to overcome the deficiencies afforded to her because of her low birth. I can't wait to see what she becomes.
The editing in this book is absolutely perfect. By that, I mean not a single mistake. I can't remember the last time I had the pleasure of reading such an error-free book. The writing style flows easily from one scene to the next. It stays true to it's YA grouping in not letting itself get bogged down in complexities and flowery language. Simple sometimes has a bad connotation, but here I mean it in the best possible way. The writing steps back and lets the characters be the stars, rather than the words.
What was just okay for me:
At times, the plot moved rather slow and I just wasn't feeling Ryiah's connection with the prince. He was rude and cruel. Even if at times it was only pretend, I didn't understand her obsession. I am looking forward to my mind being changed as he's developed more in the next book.
I would have liked more backstory. We're not told why anything is the way that it is or what each faction's true purpose was. Was the kingdom at war? Did they have a desperate need for their magic? Luckily, it's only the first in the series so I'm assuming I'll find all that out.
An intriguing story with enthralling characters that shine brightly in their determination and fierce pride.