first year

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 really enjoyed this book, it was fun and quirky, it did have some points that all YA fantasy has but that doesn’t bother me, it makes it familiar.

Ry was a great first character, she was determined and never let anything get in her way. I like the relationship between Ry and her brother, it was fun and realistic. The trials were great to read about, very exciting and made me smile.

Darren is a very complex and vain character, he often had mood swings, it was easy to tell he really cared what people thought of him and he put on a front with the people he thought he should be spending time with rather than the ones he actually seemed to like.

The story was mainly focused on combat rather than the other types of magic, but it never got boring. I raced through the book and still wanted more. I am looking forward to reading the next one.

4 out of 5 stars