Book Review Highlights:

Genre: YA/Fantasy

Age: 15+

Type: Series, this is book one of four in the Black Mage Series.

Recommendation: Yes, it was a good start to a series and all are already published which is nice.

Pages: 322

Price: Good, this book is available for .99 cents for the e-book.

Summary: + interesting plot +detailed world building +well built characters +non-vomit inducing cliffhanger +/- developed characters – left me feeling underwhelmed.


Magic. Romance. Rivals. 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?

Full Review:

I stumbled on First Year while trying to find something easy and quick to read while enjoying some hard-earned me time.  I wanted something fun and not too serious, that if I so desired, could be binge read and wouldn’t require any waiting to get to the end of the series. I naturally was pretty stoked to find First Year because the reviews are pretty stellar and it fit right into my desired criteria.

Complex enough to keep my attention but simple enough not to induce any anxiety, I really enjoyed reading this book. The world building is decent and allows you to understand the social hierarchy and the higher-ups. Who and what mages represent is also clearly described so you are able to understand what an undertaking the main characters are really facing. Helps to quantify their emotions as they face certain trials in the book. I like Ryiah and Darren and their dynamic. I like that it isn’t love at first sight and they challenge each other. I also dig that the female lead doesn’t immediately become the glory child. She is controversial and barely accepted. She has to work for every inch she is given. The ending is good but obviously contains a cliffhanger. It isn’t one that makes you want to punch something though, so that is always a good thing.  I plan on reading the other three books eventually but for now I am going to move on to something else. I felt mildly underwhelmed for some reason. Not really sure why because this book contains most of the things I love to find in a good series. Just one of those days I guess. Either way, if you are looking for something easy, fun and complete to read this may be the choice for you!

On Amazon: First Year

Disclaimer: I obtained a copy of this book on my own and volunteered to write an honest review.