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 Four young Black sisters come of age during the American Civil War in So Many Beginnings, a warm and powerful YA remix of the classic novel Little Women by national bestselling author Bethany C. Morrow. North Carolina, 1863. As the American Civil War rages on, the Freedmen’s Colony of Roanoke Island is blossoming, a […]Read More
The Bones of Ruin by: Sarah Raughley Release Date: September 7th, 2021 Publisher: Simon Pulse Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical Pages: 496 Goodreads | Amazon | Bookshop Synopsis As an African tightrope dancer in Victorian London, Iris is used to being strange. She is certainly a strange sight for leering British audiences always eager for […]Read More
To Bleed a Crystal Bloom by: Sarah A. Parker Release Date: July 24th, 2021 Genre: Dark Fantasy, Romance, Retelling (Rapunzel) Pages: 471 Goodreads | Amazon Synopsis “What a pretty flower to keep locked in a big, rocky tower.” Nineteen years ago, I was plucked from the heart of a bloody massacre that spared nobody else. […]Read More
Bad Witch Burning by: Jessica Lewis Release Date: August 24th, 2021 Publisher: Delacorte Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy Pages: 352 Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indigo | IndieBound Synopsis Content warning: minor body horror, threat of harm to animals and animal death. Some animal death is real and some is […]Read More
How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love With the Universe by: Raquel Vasquez Gilliland Release Date: August 10th, 2021 Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Pages: 432 Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indigo | IndieBound Synopsis The Hating Game meets I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican […]Read More
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