She survived a trial year at the Academy, but that was just the easy part…

Now sixteen-year-old Ryiah is an apprentice of Combat, her school’s most notorious faction of magic. When she finishes she will be a mage, but in order to do so she has to survive four years with a training master she hates and her old nemesis, Priscilla. To make matters worse the unwanted attraction Ry feels for her sometimes-friend-sometimes-rival Prince Darren is at an all time high – even though he is betrothed to the very girl she can’t stand.

Really, the only bright spot to Ryiah’s new life is the time she spends with her friends, including an older apprentice named Ian, who she finds herself thinking about quite often.

Just when things start to get comfortable they take a turn for the worse. An apprentice is killed in a rebel attack and several mages end up dead. Unwittingly, the apprentices find themselves in the midst of a budding unrest between Jerar and its northern neighbor, Caltoth. For Ryiah the impending conflict means many things, but as her apprenticeship draws to a close she finds her biggest problem at home.

Unfortunately for her, Darren’s not going anywhere.

I loved the first book in this series, unfortunately this one wasn’t quite as good. Don’t get me wrong it was still a good book and I enjoyed it, but it lacked the oomph of the first one.

The Good

The characters were much the same, there were a few new ones which is good. I liked the growth in the characters. Ella and Alex’s relationship took a new level and it was great to see Ry and Ella continue their strong friendship. Getting to know Ian, Eve and Priscilla more. Especially Priscilla, it was interesting to see another side of her, okay her motivations were not always great but she felt a lot more human, rather than someone who sneered at Ry every time she saw her.

We also saw the great and horrible sides of Darren (we already saw the good and bad, but these were extremes). The extremes brought out good reactions in the other characters, especially Ry and Alex.

The mock battles were interesting, although at certain points I wanted a little explanation.

The ending was great. I am very much looking forward to reading the next book.

The Bad

Ry and Darren’s relationship jumped from good to bad so many times it gave me whiplash, why couldn’t they just make up or break up, I am sure some people will like the drama of it, but it was a little too much for me. I also did not like the way Ry treated Ian, he may not be my favourite character but I did not want him to be treated like that, it made Ry a lot less likeable.

I also really didn’t like how the time jumps were not explained well. This book lasted four years, a long time for one book, but the different years of study were not explained very well. Most of the time I had to work out myself that it was another year of study. Ian was often described by which year of study was in, this was often how I worked out it had jumped some time since he was a year above Ry, but it did get annoying, why not just call him Ian instead of the third year, fourth year or fifth year or even the curly haired ….. year. In conversations people often referred to Ry as the red haired girl or beauty. I am not sure about you but I don’t comment on peoples appearance during conversation with them.

I thought there was going to be a little more battles, proper battles, the action was lacking a little.


I enjoyed it but not as much as the first book but I am very much looking forward to the next book.

If you enjoyed the first one I do recommend this one if you keep an open mind.

3 out of 5 stars

Similar to, (In my opinion)

Akarnaethe last if the firedrakes

miss mabel's school for girlsthief of lies

So if you like one of these I recommend First year which is the first in the Black Mager series and these other books which have all gotten at least 4 stars from me.