by Rachelle Zoelle
Devastated by the loss of her twin--and consumed by the realization that magic actually exists--gifted art student Ren Crown embarks on a dangerous course and illegally enrolls in a fantastical university determined to bring her brother back to life. She enters a world of magic beyond imagination and finds herself an unwitting pawn in a treacherous political game.
Trusting the wrong person will cost Ren her freedom, magic, and life. But surrounded by compelling people--including a cold, talented roommate, a genius magical engineer, and the most powerful combat mage of their age--her hardest choice may be trusting her own heart.
Rating: 3.5 Stars
This book split me right into two- because there were many aspects I really liked about it and many I really didn't. Which makes rating it really had.
Its 3.5 Stars--- because it is better than good but not quite that great either.
My biggest issue is definitely the length… it's incredibly looooong. Usually that doesn't put me off a book, I am happy to read hundreds of well written pages, except this felt long. Halfway through I kept on thinking, that it was never ending, or more accurately when will it actually start? Is there a point to all this? I kept going, because I actually really liked Zoelles writing style and the world building is absolutely amazing.
I really like the idea of the layers, the twin connection, all those wackos creatures and the different talents of the mages. I always knew that drawing and making ones own paints is a kind magic- so I totally adored that part!
The plot basically only (more or less) started halfway through, half the book is world building. Which is a bit tedious -- because as much as I really enjoyed it, as mentioned above even I got tired of it. Every detail was described, beautifully, but with so much detail its seemed way over the top. It's a pity because I think this will not only put off many readers it also takes away from the story itself actually.
The character building was ok. One only gets to know Ren, really. Since this is written from her POV and she is not a 'people' person. Ren is obsessive and driven and has extremely low self-esteem. At the beginning I found her a bit annoying , she kinda was a bit helpless and a bit of a coward. But she does change and grow throughout the story, and while she does make huge mistakes, she also does (always) take responsibility for her action and faults. Plus with all her drivenness, she still is trying to do the right thing and in my opinion chooses the right path at the end.
I liked most of the support characters. Especially Constantine- but then who doesn't like a gorgeous bad boy with a soft heart?
But most of them were, once you stripped them of the incredible world they surrounded with a bit stereotypical… and one got hints to most of them that they have some secret or a hidden story to them, that there is more them than one gets right now. I don't mind that that much, partly because Ren is really not that good at reading people and incredibly naive and partly because I kept hoping that more will be revealed about them in the over 800pages. Though not much was given away at the end of the book about anyone or anything.
But if you take away the world building and you look at the cast what do you get?
A school for mages, a headmaster who's intentions are suspicious, old blood mages that have an issue with newer ones, a villain who opposes the council and the school, a strict dteacher that takes on the MC, new friends who are thrown together because of the main character, the sense that the main character is somehow involved in a bigger story and a 'normal' kid who discovers its own magic powers and is thrown into the world of the mages and the school…
Does it remind you of something? Yep! Happy Potter!
This was a lot like Harry Potter. Well, Harry Potter on acid. Because the world Zoelle created is really quite out there! Again I think its awesome and beautiful. But take it away and
it's a lot like HP.
As I said before not much happens for the first half of the book and after finishing it, and I think this is my biggest reason for rating it down actually, it felt like the story is finally starting. This is like Zoelle just set up things for the story to start. Not that much actually happened, well sure stuff happened, but all in all it doesn't feel that enormous and basically no questions have been answered. A world and concept has been set up- both are spectacular- but that's mostly it.
Will I read the next installment? Hell yeah! Firstly I wanna know whats going to happen, there is huge potential here that it can become a really good story. I hope that Zoelle will concentrate more on character building and story line in the next book but also shed some light to my many questions. Second HP on acid seems to have left a bigger impression on me than good ol' Harry did.
A good debut, sadly its length kinda killed the fun a bit.
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