This is such an amazing read I’m having trouble putting it down. There’s just so much badassery packed into the 270 pages. First Year follows Ryiah and her twin brother Alex as they start their path in the Academy and compete for a spot in the apprenticeship of their choice: Combat, Restoration or Alchemy. At this point you’re probably thinking, ‘Great another Harry Potter wannabe’. Make no mistake, it is nothing like Harry Potter. Yes, we follow the progress of our characters at a magical school but the Academy is brutal and requires you to be at your best at all times, which doesn’t help Ryiah since she’s barely unlocked her magic. The only reason she was even allowed to join the Academy is because her twin brother has his magic under control and knows how to use it.
My favorite thing about this book is that while it’s not heavy on the action we focus a lot on relationship building and I simply loved the dynamics between Ryiah and her brother, her friendship with Ella, her almost antagonistic relationship with Darren and even the tension between Alex and Ella. Their interactions were made so real that the pace of the book was ridiculously fast despite lacking that much action.
Another huge draw for me is Ryiah herself. I enjoyed the fact that her badass status was achieved through hard work and perseverance. She works harder than anyone to get her magic and combat skills to the level of the other students and studies during the night, where she forms a tentative friendship with prince Darren. It’s pretty clear from the get go he’s supposed to be the main love interest, however, he’s not what one might call likable. On the contrary, he’s arrogant and condescending and I found myself disliking him immensely. I, personally, think Ryiah’s relationship with Darren was probably the weakest point of this book but if you enjoy love/hate relationships you’d probably like this one too.
Apart from that teeny tiny blip I enjoyed reading this book so much so I had to order the other two straight away and thanks to the lovely Rachel E. Carter you could now get a free copy of her ebook here until 27th September so make sure you claim it before then. It’s such an entertaining novel I feel everyone should read it NOW but I might be a bit biased since I adore Ryiah 🙂