Saturday, March 11, 2017

Book Review: First Year (The Black Mage, Book 1) by Rachel E. Carter

Title: First Year (The Black Mage, Book 1)
Author: Rachel E. Carter
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Release Date: January 21, 2017

From the Back Cover: 

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?

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

My Review:

I need toothpicks to hold up my eyes today... because I started reading this late last night and couldn't put it down. From the first few pages, the vivid descriptions sucked me right into the world. The book starts off with the heroine, Ryiah (Ry) and her twin brother, traveling to the Academy for training to become mages.

Unfortunately -- Ryiah *thinks* she has magic. Her brother does, and it's well know that if one twin has magic the other one does too... except she can't exactly tap into it.

Ryiah is a likable heroine with a strong and stubborn mentality. Despite all of the obstacles, her determination to become one of the esteemed Combat mages is admirable. This book takes us through the entire first year of training and we really get a chance to know Ry and all her friends. Through the author's rich descriptions, it's easy for any reader (young adult and adult) to get caught up in this fantastic world.

I'd probably rate this book a 3.5/5 (rounding up to 4). I had a few small issues with the book that prevented me from rating it higher. The plot itself isn't very original and the whole magical academy concept is very typical for Young Adult books. There was a bit of romance, but it was clunky and awkward -- almost forced, instead of a natural progression between two characters. I also had a few issues with the stereotypes in the book. There was almost a Cinderella theme -- with the rich prince and lowborn peasant -- except this prince happened to be a real two-faced snot. There was also a lack of action in the book... and any real sense of a big baddie or world-altering foe that needed to be toppled.

Overall though, if you're a fan of young adult fantasy and looking for book that focuses more on the characters, I would recommend checking out this book. As for me, I'm definitely going to check out the next book but I'm not completely sold on the series yet. Depending on where the author goes with the next book will probably be the deciding point for me...

My Rating:

About the Author:

Rachel E. Carter is the USA Today bestselling author of The Black Mage, a YA fantasy series about magic, love, and war -with future projects to come. She hoards coffee and has a weakness for villain and Mr. Darcy love interests.

Author Links:
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Scherry said...

That's a really cool book trailer! Well done.

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