First Year (The Black Mage, #1)First Year by Rachel E. Carter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(I received this book free from the Author through goodreads group [All About YA } in exchange for an honest review)

4.5 stars

I will start with saying that, I have been waiting for a book like this for a long time.

There was no instance love (bonus points right there)

The world that Rachel E. Carter created is rich and very will developed.

The physical/emotions pain these kids had to go through, real. I believe Miss Carter must have, probably, consulted a dill sergeant or spied on military training. (It literally brought me back to Basic Training. I felt their pain, even when I didn't want to.. the horror.. hahah )

All her (main) charters are rememberable. Though I did (still do) wanted to dropkick Darren on more the one occasion, he did grow on me, (like a fungus). And Priscilla, first off, her name is Priscilla, I can see why the girl is slightly bitter. I have deep distain for her, everything about her. There is no love. I really hope she gets canned in the next book (very painfully). Karma always gets nasty little urchins like her.

I do see some potential in our not so favourite prince Darren, and when I say, some, I mean very very little.

Alex is a fav, a flirt, fun, but he's that nice boy next door that no matter how much he can't keep it in has pants, you just can't hate the bastard. He isn't mean, and loves his sister very much. Though, he isn't so nice when you hurt/bully/injure said sister Ryiah.

Spoiler -
When he sucker punched Darren for hazing Ryiah, I smirked and thought good, karma has succeeded again!

Ryiah, now she's my girl. As I was reading, one phase kept running through my head ♪I get knock down but I get up again, you're never going to keep me down♪ and repeat.

I felt for her, and felt just as frustrate as her when she couldn't get it right. I connected because of knowing what's it like to be pushed passed your limits and simply wish you where dead. I knew the feeling of wanting to give up, of wanting go back to the easy life. I'm to damn stubborn for that, when I start something I finish it no matter what. Ryiah, wasn't going to cave, even if the odds where set agents her. Beaten, broken, and drained, she didn't give in to that stupid voice (we all have it) that tells us to give up, it's not worth it, that you're not good enough. It's hard blocking that annoying voice out, but she did.

This novel as good as it is, did have a few things that caught my eye.

At times it felt like the training was dragged out, then at times is felt rushed. As for drama, there wasn't a much of it. The hazings did give the story a little umph, but that soon died. I guess what I wanted, was more trouble and witty banter between the students. I know this is a set up novel for the next, giving us the background for the action to come. But I wanted one of them to a least get caught as they broke a rules, or have after hour scuffle that left one of the highborn's pride in a puddle of blood, or at least broken nose. It would have been great if Ryiah punch Darren, like totally blind sided him, that would have been epic.

Like right after her kissed her, wham!, right in the kisser, ahaha.

So due to said points above, is why this wonder is getting the 4.5 instead of the full 5.

What really made this novel was the originality and the lack of the norm YA cliché. Sure the typical hot, brewing, bad, stupid, idiot hot guy was there, (AKA Darren) Ryiah did not lose her head, she didn't instantly fall madly in love, that clouded her judgment and poison the plot. She has both her parents, loving siblings and no sign of the dreaded dark past. There is no need to have such cliché, anywhere. It's an easy fix, plot filler, and it 's poison. Writers like Miss Carter are the antidote.

Thank you Rachel for giving me the opportunity read your work,

I'm am fully excited for the next book, and the action that I know is going to be in it. Makes me a little giddy.

I highly recommend this novel, the world is rich, fun, with all the hints of darkness to come.

Happy reading.


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