Let’s Talk About…The Black Mage: First Year by Rachel E. Carter

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?

Add The Black Mage: First Year by Rachel E. Carter to your Goodreads!

Purchase The Black Mage: First Year here! (because you really should just do it!)

Initial reaction upon finishing:

This is a book that my dear friend Arika kept nagging on me to read, and I realized that not only does this book sound awesome (why else would I have purchased it in February?) but that I probably owed her one right? Ha yea I know, whatever makes me feel better for sadly putting this book off right?

This book was a lot of fun. Honestly, it was. It had its darkness but it was one of those worlds that I could get lost in and enjoy. It was a great start to a series that I am definitely looking forward to diving into more. It was also a simple fantasy, which I loved. I read SO MUCH fantasy as of late and though I adore it, I do find that sometimes I feel like there are so many rules and so much going on that I have to take a lot of reading breaks and such. Not the case with this one. It all made sense, and it kind of made things simple and easy to get in to without making me feel like I am an idiot when it comes to fantasy. I loved it. Here are three reasons I think could get you to give this bad boy a try:

  1. HARRY POTTER MEETS X-MEN: Ok, before I go on explaining I should say that it is not EXACTLY HP meets X-Men, but it gave me so many vibes of both stories that I just kept feeling it. It had the school atmosphere and the sneaking around when you weren’t supposed to (though reasons vary). I guess putting people in a school atmosphere with magic AUTOMATICALLY makes me think of HP, but it was thinking back on it in fondness and not in comparison. The magic in this book felt more like super powers to me, which is why I kept going back to X-Men. No mutants here, but people who can do crazy things and are constantly learning about the powers that they have. I loved that this book had me thinking back to Harry Potter and X-Men, some of my favorite things! 
  2. RYIAH: I think I have finally found a character that I can really relate to. Ryiah is a hard working and determined main character. I think she is one that doesn’t just say she worked hard to get where she is, but you actually see it. She is not wealthy and yet is trying to do things that those who are more well off are trying to do. She experiences the same emotions that I would in her situation and deals with situations pretty similarly (like her calling the Prince the non-heir in her mind, especially when ticked off at him. That is SO something I would do. Never verbally, but in my head). You also don’t see her constantly succeeding. You see her in her ups and downs, and I feel like that made her someone that felt so incredibly real. I loved that. 
  3. STRONG FRIENDSHIPS: This may be another thing that had me looking back to Harry Potter. There were some incredibly friendships that developed in this book. You saw friends that were there for all the ups and downs and that were generally concerned when different issues arose. Again, this made it and the characters feel real to me. Like I almost feel like I should be able to just go out and find these people in real life and to see the friendships that they have. It was awesome. Ryiah + Ella = BFFs! 

BONUS: A non-gushy but slow burn romance, a love of family (and a family that is supportive and awesome), real feeling characters (that mean girl that every story has was in there, and I did not like her and felt she were all too real).

I really enjoyed this book. Even with the reality of life getting in the way I feel like it flew by. It was one that I got invested in right away and ended not exactly how I was anticipating. I am very interested how the ending of this book will play into book two, which I will be purchasing very soon! I am very excited to see what is up next for Ryiah, Darren, and everyone else!

Have any of you read this book? I would LOVE to know your thoughts if you have. If you have not read it, is this something that you would add to your TBR?

13 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About…The Black Mage: First Year by Rachel E. Carter

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