Published by Rachel E. Carter on January 24th 17
Genres: Fantasy, Fantasy & Magic, Young Adult Fiction
Welcome to the Candidacy. Where dreams go to die.
Twenty-year-old Ryiah is a black mage of Combat, but she’s not the Black Mage. Yet. She’s had her eyes on the legendary robe for as long as she can remember, and in just one year, she will have a chance at her country’s prestigious—and only—tourney for war mages... Too bad she is going up against a certain prince—the one person she has yet to beat.
The Candidacy finally arrives and a winner is robed, but something dark is lurking in her kingdom’s midst. Rival nations are closing in, and it’s time to make an alliance.
Unfortunately for Ryiah, that’s only the beginning. The worst enemy resides in the palace.
This is truly one of the best YA fantasy series ever. There is nothing vapid about these books. I’m not sure I can explain it, but many fantasy series tend to fail particularly with painting a realistic morally gray world with heavy, believable stakes (or at least the ones I pick up) or end up falling into the traps of love triangle diversions. There are layers upon layers of suspense, tiny hints building up towards the bigger plot. It’s just so fun reading. I want to study Rachel’s writing style and imagination. I feel inspired by her work.
Candidate summed up in one word: Devastating. But deliciously so. I’m so hurt, disappointed, and almost physically pained by several events in this book. Death, despair, betrayal. Romantic tension done so well that I actually enjoy it (once again it’s usually a thing I hate). It truly was a whirlwind of a book because now you don’t know who the good and the bad guys are. You are just as ignorant or maybe naive as Ryiah to believe that certain characters are turning over a new leaf, so to say.
I still don’t know what to think of Prince Darren. One moment he seems like a good guy, the next he comes across sketchy, and creepy the next. And, boy, can he hold a grudge for a long time. That was a little off-putting.
The ending was killer in more than one sense. I’m anxious to see how everything will happen with Ryiah’s decision. More so curious to see how everything will be resolved in the next book because that’s a lot of ground to cover considering all the major events in Candidate.