ALKA CHELRAZI IS ON A MISSION:
1. Infiltrate Blackwater Academy
2. Win the Great Game
3. Burn Wizard society to the ground
As a child, Alka witnessed her parents’ brutal murder at the hands of Wizards before she was taken in by an underground rebel group.
Now, Alka is deep undercover at the most prestigious school of magic in the Republic: Blackwater Academy, a place where status is everything, where decadent galas end in blood-splattered duels, where every student has their own agenda. To survive, Alka will have to lie, cheat, kill, and use every trick in her spy’s toolkit. And for the first time in her life, the fiercely independent Alka will have to make friends in order to recruit the misfits and the outcasts into her motley rebellion.
But even as she draws closer to victory — to vengeance — she sinks deeper into danger as suspicious professors and murderous rivals seek the traitor in their midst, and dark revelations unravel her resolve. Can Alka destroy the twisted game…without becoming a part of it?
I was very confidant that I was going to love this book before I even picked it up. A school for magic?? Immediately hooked. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and the direction that Shvarts decided to take it. The setting at Blackwater Academy was well written and for sure gave me slight dark academia vibes. It was very interesting to see the student’s go through their lessons and interact with our MC, Alka. The magic system was very well done and I felt that I had a handle on how the magic system worked within the first 100 pages, which is crucial for me when reading a fantasy novel.
Alka is also a very real and authentic character for me. Her emotions and decisions she makes throughout her journey are very realistic and she reminds me a lot of myself in terms of her determination and headstrongness. I definitely would love to see more of her, but as this is a standalone I will have to say goodbye ;( .
There was also a great transition to the story-telling. The flip flop between past and present allowed for a nice flow of information without overwhelming me with details about the world and the magic system. The plot had a very nice pace to it as well and you could easily read this book in one sitting. I really didn’t want this story to end. I for sure recommend this book to anyone who likes magic with a little academia sprinkled in.
Meet the Author
Andrew Shvarts is the author of the Royal Bastards trilogy. He has a BA in English Literature and Russian from Vassar College. He works for Pixelberry Studios, making mobile games like High School Story, Choices, and more. Andrew lives in San Jose, California, with his wife, son, and two cats.
Synopsis From William C. Morris Finalist Nafiza Azad comes a thrilling, feminist fantasy about a group of teenage girls endowed with special powers who must band together to save the life of the boy whose magic saved them all. Meet the Wild Ones: girls who have been hurt, abandoned, and betrayed all their lives. It […]Read More
Synopsis Get Out meets Danielle Vega in this YA horror where survival is not a guarantee. Jake Livingston is one of the only Black kids at St. Clair Prep, one of the others being his infinitely more popular older brother. It’s hard enough fitting in but to make matters worse and definitely more complicated, Jake can […]Read More
Synopsis Shiori, the only princess of Kiata, has a secret. Forbidden magic runs through her veins. Normally she conceals it well, but on the morning of her betrothal ceremony, Shiori loses control. At first, her mistake seems like a stroke of luck, forestalling the wedding she never wanted, but it also catches the attention of […]Read More
Synopsis Content Warnings: Whipping scene within the context of slavery, gun/police violence, discussion of and character with an eating disorder, blood/gore/violence, death, substance abuse/addiction, mentions of child neglect A rich, dark urban fantasy debut following a teen witch who is given a horrifying task: sacrificing her first love to save her family’s magic. The problem […]Read More
Synopsis From the New York Times bestselling author of We Were Liars and Genuine Fraud comes a complex novel about acceptance, forgiveness, self-discovery, and possibility, as a teenage girl attempts to regain some sense of normalcy in her life after a family crisis and a broken heart. If you could live your life again, what would you do differently? […]Read More
Synopsis Content Warnings: Main characters’s mother has died four years earlier and her father is critically injured and hospitalized for most of the book. Twelve-year-old Abby Beckett is proud to come from a long line of elite Viking warriors known as the Aesir. She’s spent her entire life training to hunt the horrific creatures known […]Read More