An Intriguing Story
Definitely an intriguing story that will keep you anxious to begin the next one.
Ryiah is no longer a first year. After gaining one of the coveted apprenticeships as a combat mage, she still has four more years of schooling to do. Each of the four years takes place in this single book. Navigating school is hard enough, particularly when she has an instructor who'd like nothing more than for her to quit, but throw in a prince giving mixed signals, plenty of frienemies, and her first tastes of real combat and these four years will prove who she is, or they will kill her.
What I loved:
Ryiah is such an amazingly strong character once again. She's determined but isn't written as if she's the best at everything. She's smart in non-obvious ways. She cares about the people in her life. As a reader, we want nothing more than for her to get everything she dreams of. Alex and Ella are great as well and even Priscilla serves her purpose well. By the end, we even have a bit of sympathy for her. I love that the writing never gets bogged down in unnecessary explanation.
What was just okay:
Darren. He is incredibly wishy-washy and I had a very hard time liking him, even in the end. His reasons didn't explain why he acted the way he did in a way that made it okay. He was horrible to Ryiah for years. She was miserable.
There's a bit of a pacing issue for me. Four years take place in a single book and the chapters jump ahead weeks or sometimes months at a time, leaving us feeling like we don't quite get all of the story. We miss some of the immediate reactions to things that happen other than a few pages. The lack of payoff throughout the story is somewhat made up for at the end, however.
Not a story you want to miss if you like well-developed characters, plenty of action, and fantastic endings. That basically means it's not a book you want to miss if you read.