Review: First Year


First Year
By Rachel E. Carter

Source: E-book
Page count: 278
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Paranormal

Goodreads Synopsis:

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?

My review:

As soon as I read the synopsis on this book, I knew I was going to love it. A magical boarding school, a badass heroine with caring friends, and a swoon-worthy prince - yes please! I loved every minute of this book. It was easy to get into, and generally a light read, yet it was a powerful story with a compelling style.

My favourite element was the action. It was fast paced, so although we weren’t constantly bombarded by fight scenes (which would get a bit tiring), we were never bored. Even though the school was essentially a school for magic, lots of the training scenes were physical, which I liked because it made the book different from other magic-school books.

I also really liked Ryiah. When she came to the school at the beginning of the book, she was one of the worst in the class, but she was determined and worked her way to the top. I liked this especially because of all her hard work - it made her feel more real, and she was someone to aspire to be like. She was flawed, but it just made her more likeable.

I was surprised to enjoy the romance so much. Arrogant love interests aren’t usually my thing, but I liked reading about Darren and his slow-burning relationship with Ryiah. The reason I liked it so much was because the romance didn’t take the attention away from the main storyline. There were romantic scenes, but in the other scenes, Ryiah was still herself.

I really enjoyed this book. The elitism and dynamics of the school were really interesting to read about, and I’m really looking forward to reading the rest of the series. I liked how it focused on the physical side of training, so wasn’t too similar to Harry Potter. Though this book is so much better than Harry Potter (I see the mob of angry fans trying to kill me for hating Harry Potter, and throwing the rest of the series at me, in attempt to get me to read them (never!)). I would really recommend!


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  1. Great review, Denise! Makes me really want to pick up this book now ;)

    By the way, I just tagged you to do the Book Cover Guessing Challenge! :)

    1. You should! It's amazing, and I enjoyed it so much :)

      Thank-you! I've seen this one around, at it looks super fun, so I'll be sure to check out your post :)


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