The Black Mage #1
Other Books: Last Stand
Published by Self-Published on January 24, 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Magic. Romance. War. Perfect for fans of Throne of Glass, Falling Kingdoms, and Tamora Pierce.
Before the age of seventeen, the young men and women of Jerar are given a choice —pursue a trade or enroll in a trial year in one of the realm’s three war schools to study as a soldier, knight, or mage…
For fifteen-year-old Ryiah, the choice has always been easy. Become a mage and train in Combat, the most prestigious faction of magic.
Yet when she arrives, Ry finds herself competing against friend and foe for one of the exalted apprenticeships. Everyone is rooting for her to fail—first and foremost among them is Prince Darren, the school prodigy who has done nothing but make life miserable since she arrived.
Will Ry survive, or will her dream go down in flames?
My expectations might have been too high.
In an attempt to clear off my owned Kindle reads, I picked on First Year as my victim and um…
I think my expectations may have been too high for the first book in The Black Mage series because I found many people enjoying them. Instead, I found myself gradually getting disappointed slowly at some point in the book.
First Year focuses a lot on training.
Much of the book focuses on the first years’ training and proving themselves so they could eventually get an apprenticeship. First Year follows Ryiah, a 15-year-old who makes it to The Academy with her brother Alex and has aspirations to become a combat mage.
I enjoyed learning about the training involved and the trials the first years have to go through, knowing the vast majority of them won’t make it in the end. Much of the world-building is only focused on The Academy’s training, which didn’t bother me much considering the context. However, there is little action and perhaps this is a personal taste, but I wanted more than just training.
Ryiah kicks butt and has much determination despite her struggles.
From the moment Ryiah makes her way to The Academy with Alex, she struggles to keep up with the rest of the first years. Struggling and getting in trouble (not always her fault) doesn’t stop Ryiah from being ambitious and going after her dreams of being a combat mage, though. She continues to push her way through, finding ways to keep up with the rest to the best of her abilities. I feel her determination to continue is one of the reasons why I continued reading First Year.
I wanted to know if Ryiah survives until the very end, and I cheered for her constantly because I wanted to see her hard work pay off. Plus she’s a low-born and that already puts her at a disadvantage with the other students vying for a chance to secure an apprenticeship. Her low status, in my opinion, is one way to set her apart as a character from other fantasy novels.
Love the friendship between Ryiah, Alex and Ella.
The friendship developed early on upon arrival at The Academy between the three were also a highlight. The three of them are constantly together throughout the book, encouraging and pushing each other to continue even when things weren’t looking too well. I also loved the dialogue between them, which gave the book a little less tension among all the competition.
First Year shows potential for the rest of the series.
Although I didn’t enjoy First Year as much as I hoped I would, I have high hopes for the rest of The Black Mage series. It’ll be interesting to see how Ryiah’s determination will help set her apart as she continues to navigate The Academy and potentially the world beyond, along with the relationships she develops with the other characters.