Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Black Mage Series

I just finished the last book in this series and now that I have I'm not sure how I feel about it. I mostly had good feelings about it even though the love interest could be a jerk at times, but the last book just raked my emotions over the coals. Here are my reviews for the series:


First Year (The Black Mage, #1)First Year by Rachel E. Carter

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Category: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy



Magic. Romance. Rivals. 

 
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… 


First Year is a light YA fantasy that's set in a mage school. There isn't much world building, but I loved the mage school setting. It's very reminiscent of The Black Magician by Trudy Canavan in quite a few ways, but despite its lack of world building, I think I enjoyed this book more.

The protagonist, Ryiah is very likable, but she has her flaws that include jealousy and a hot temper at times, which made her more relatable as a character. I developed a love-hate relationship for Darren, the antagonist right along with Ryiah. On the surface he seems like the typical stuck up, rich kid, bad boy, but I liked the glimpses of what could be seen under the surface of his character.

This book was great fun. There is just something about it that makes it so readable and I enjoyed every minute of it. I'm starting the sequel immediately.



Apprentice (The Black Mage, #2)Apprentice by Rachel E. Carter

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Category: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy



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

This is the second book in The Black Mage series. I enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed reading the first book. It was really hard to put down and I found myself staying up into the wee hours of the night to finish it.

While First Year spanned only the first year of Ryiah's mage training, Apprentice covers 4 years. This resulted in some parts feeling rushed, and a lot of time jumps. It felt inconsistent with the pace of the first book. There was more time spent on characters and interactions in First Year. This time around we got less of that and more world building. I would have liked to have seen both. I thought the first half of the book was better paced than the second.

While I mostly liked Ryiah in this book, I will say that I hated the way she treated Ian. The back and forth roller coaster romance stuff got annoying at times, and I feel like it took over the second half of the book too much. The love-hate relationship with Darren continued and I loved that I was kept guessing about him, although I did have him figured out eventually.

Overall I'm enjoying this series a lot and am looking forward to the next two books.



Candidate (The Black Mage, #3)Candidate by Rachel E. Carter

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Category: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy



Welcome to the Candidacy. Where dreams go to die.

The Candidate is the third book in the Black Mage series and the plot definitely got thicker with this one. There were some good twists and turns and I could sympathize with the predicament Ryiah is in at the end of it. I still think she should trust Darren and his love for her enough to tell him what is going on though! And his jealousy over Ian in the first part of the book was ridiculous.

This book was a step up from the last book. Not many time jumps in this one which was good. I enjoyed it just as much as the first book and looking forward to reading book four.




Non-Heir (The Black Mage, #0.5)Non-Heir by Rachel E. Carter

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Category: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy



Prince. Prodigy. Mage. 

For a free novella Non-Heir sure had a lot packed into it. And I mean that in a good way! This is a prequel to The Black Mage series and it focuses on Darren. We see what it was like to grow up as the second son of the king, or the non-heir. We also see how the rift between Darren and his brother begins, and also how they become emotionally dependent on each other. The story starts out when Darren is 6 years old and ends not long after he has met Ryiah at the academy. It was nice getting into Darren's head, especially when he meets Ryiah and then when his opinion of her starts to change. The back story on Darren and his brother was heart wrenching. Even though I knew what their father was like, it was still heartbreaking to read, but it enabled me to see what shaped both boys into the type of men they eventually become.



Last Stand (The Black Mage, #4)Last Stand by Rachel E. Carter

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Category: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy



He’s the Black Mage and she’s the traitor to the Crown.

Ryiah’s world was shattered the night she discovered King Blayne’s nefarious plans. Now, she has to betray the one she loves most in order to save the realm from war.


Last Stand is the final book in The Black Mage series and to be honest it was incredibly hard to read at times even though I was glued to it. This book broke my heart into a million pieces and then attempted to put them back together, but they didn't all fit back together the way they were supposed to. Darren was not a likeable character in the beginning of this series but I grew to like him as I grew to understand him and I believed that he truly loved Ryiah. But the things that Darren did in this book crossed a line for me that even the self-sacrificing acts that they both commit near the end, and that sweet ending could not completely fix for me. I'm just really sad about it.

**Spoiler here so if you don't want spoilers skip down to the next paragraph**
 I did not find it very plausible that Darren would have been so set against believing Ryiah, whom he was supposed to love so much. And the fact that he let her be tortured like that and then participated in some of it himself was more than disappointing, it crossed a line for me. There is no way that a person could do that to someone they truly love. Darren is just not a believable character to me any more. I was convinced that it was over between them. How could it not be after all that? And realistically it would have been.

Ryiah as much as I like her and was rooting for her, did some things here that I thought were very foolish. If you love someone you should trust them. She should have trusted Darren in the beginning and just told him what she had learned. Don't get me wrong, there were things I really loved about this book, but it put me through an emotional roller coaster. For the most part I enjoyed this series. But this is a great example of why I hesitate to finish a series sometimes. I've got a pretty big list of unfinished ones, and I'm always afraid that I'm going to be disappointed with how they end. While I wouldn't say this ending was a complete disappointment, it did put a bit of a damper on how I feel about the series. It's a real bitter-sweet feeling. Even though I was a little disappointed in some things about this book I still will most certainly be looking forward to seeing what this author writes next.


View all my reviews

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