Saturday, 31 January 2015

Review: First Year (The Black Mage #1) by Rachel E. Carter Synopsis:
Before the age of seventeen the young men and women of Jerar are given a choice -follow tradition, or pursue a trial year in one of the realm's three war schools to study as a soldier, knight or mage... 

For 15-year-old Ryiah the choice has always been easy. Become a warrior and leave the boring confines of her lowborn life behind. Set to enroll in the School of Knighthood on the eve of her next birthday, plans suddenly shift when her twin brother discovers powers. Hoping that hers will soon follow, she enrolls with Alex at the Academy instead -the realm's most notorious war school for those with magic. 

Yet when she arrives Ry finds herself competing against friend and foe for one of the exalted apprenticeships. Every "first-year" is given a trial year to prove their worth -and no amount of hard work and drive will guarantee them a spot. It seems like everyone is rooting for her to fail -and first and foremost among them Prince Darren, the school prodigy who has done nothing but make life miserable since she arrived. 

When an accidental encounter leads Ryiah and Darren to an unlikely friendship she is convinced nothing good will come of it. But the lines become blurred when she begins to improve -and soon she is a key competitor for the faction of Combat... Still, nothing is ever as it seems -and when the world comes crashing down around her, Ry is forced to place faith in the one thing she can believe in -herself. Will it be enough?

***I received the eBook free as a review copy from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review***

This is going to be one of those reviews where I can’t do the book justice (and have to restrict myself from fangirling which often leads to no longer forming coherent sentences) because First Year was just so amazing!

Right from the start, before I’d even picked the book up I could see that it included all the components to my perfect read. Including: interesting magic, a boarding school that makes me wish I could live there (even though I wouldn’t last 5 minutes), a tough but flawed female heroine, a hot surly guy, great friendships and did I mention that the hot guy was also a Prince…! *swoons* He had me from the first glare.

Well that’s not strictly true, it took a lot of time to warm up to Darren our mysterious Prince, just like it did for Ryiah and even then their interactions were hot and cold (see what I did there… since they have the power of fire… and may or may not have set the other on fire once…). Anyways, I loved how Ryiah was a complete no nonsense girl and could give back as many insults as she took, even when it came to him. Especially when it came to him.

No one in this book was “perfect” and they all made mistakes, it was seeing this that made them feel real. I simply wanted to jump right into this world with them; even though I wouldn’t last 2 seconds as I already said, with the physical competence of a panda and no magic to my name.

Also, everyone played their part. The side-characters weren’t just there for the hell of it, but influenced decisions and made plenty of their own. I’d take a novella based off these characters any day! It would be fascinating to see more on Ryiah’s best friend Ella’s past, or her brother Alex and most definitely Darren. Who wouldn’t want to know what was going on in that secretive head of his? Hell I’d even take a scene from Priscilla’s POV! (Providing she gets hit over the head at least once. With a truck). Just give me more!

There’s no doubting that I can’t wait for the next book. Looking forward to more ass-kicking and maybe a profession of love or two… Let’s see how this love-triangle works out and hope it is just as great as everything else *fingers crossed*

My reaction to this book:
Favourite Quotes:
“The people that tell you what you want to hear are the most dangerous enemies you'll ever meet.” 

“I would join Combat or die trying... A fine choice of words. What had been meant as a melodramatic proclamation was now to be my intended irony.”

“I wonder if you have ever given someone a compliment that wasn't a backhanded insult.
Darren’s grasp on the handle stilled, and he glanced back at me, eyes dancing amidst the surrounding shadows. “I prefer not to, it gives people an unsettling impression of self-importance.”

“Darren, Prince Darren, the sometimes-bane-of-my-existence, had put faith in a future that even I had never bothered to foresee.”

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