Published by Rachel E. Carter on August 11th 2014
Magic. Romance. Rivals. 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?
This was so fantastic. Holy crap. I’m really blown away by how good this book was. It’s the best book I’ve read so far this year (seriously). I wish I had read it much sooner than I did because I’ve apparently been missing out all along, but at least the series is finished and I can binge read the entire thing.
It’s hard to be coherent about books I love, but here’s a list of the things I adored:
The Characters: Not a bland character in sight. I loved everyone even the not-so-nice characters like Priscilla and the gang of highborn snobs. Everyone had a life (no cardboards with drawn on faces), a motive, something that made them feel very human. I can’t wait to see how each character will react in book two now that the first year is over.
The Magic System: I liked how magic works in this world. I don’t like overly complicated magic systems or things that don’t make sense at first glance. It was presented very simplistically. Normally, I’m not a huge fan of magic in the first place, but I’m on board with this one.
And most importantly, the main reason I adore this book is the fact that Ryiah had to work for everything. She wasn’t gifted or somehow already a master of magic above her peers. She was a lowborn with no prior training, years behind those highborn rich kids who had training early on in their lives. She worked hard for every skill gained. Blood, sweat, and tears. I just feel like there are too many characters in other books that don’t struggle realistically enough to get from a weakling with no skill to a stronger version of their self, so this was extremely refreshing.
And even rarer, I’m hardcore shipping Ryiah and Prince Darren. I like the potential love interest. Wow. A unicorn is being born somewhere today.