«First Year», by Rachel E. Carter

Welcome back, my little owls! This is the first review in English that I’m going to post on the blog, and this is because the author of the book that I bring you today is English-speaker and I think she deserves to read my opinion in her mother tongue. If you want to read it in Spanish, click here. This wonderful book is First Year, the first volume of The Black Mage Series, written by Rachel E. Carter. In fact, I knew about this book by Instagram, and I wanted from the very first moment to read it and review it for you. If you want to know my personal opinion about this book… Keep on reading!


TITLE: First Year (The Black Mage series #1)

AUTHOR: Rachel E. Carter


PRICE: 0,99€ (Price based on Amazon webpage)


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…

For fifteen-year-old Ryiah, the choice has always been easy. Become a mage and train in Combat, the most prestigious faction of magic.

Yet when she arrives, Ry finds herself competing against friend and foe for one of the exalted apprenticeships. Everyone is rooting for her to fail–first and foremost among them is Prince Darren, the school prodigy who has done nothing but make life miserable since she arrived.

Will Ry survive, or will her dream go down in flames?


As I have told you, the first time I saw the cover of this book I was amazed and I couldn’t want to start reading it. So, I addressed Rachel and I asked her to review her novel. She was so kind and sent me the book, so I was completely amazed and reading as much as I could because of the lack of time I had with the Master’s assignments.

I have to say that this book settles a new vision of the traditional image we have of mages. Magic is understood as something innate but also rare. Not many people have magic in their veins and those who have it could (or should) go to the Academy to learn how to control it, even if they get an apprenticeship or not in the process.

The context in which the reader first meet Ryiah is in a forest, with her twin brother, Alex, trying to escape from a group of bandits. They take different ways to distract them, but she is caught. Then, we have the first contact of the new magic that Rachel proposes in her series: the pain magic. I’m not going to enter in further details because it will be a spoiler and I want you to discover it with all the innocence and excitement I have discovered it with.rachel-carter

When they arrive to the Academy, they find different characters that are going to make you fall in love with them, even with the ‘evil ones’. I absolutely love Prince Darren, but not because he is a prince or because he is powerful. I like characters full of mystery, and Darren is one of this kind. He has a disturbing appearance, a dark halo around him that I want to dissipate to find what’s beyond. In fact, from the very first time I knew about him, I knew he was going to be my favorite character.

Don’t misunderstand me. I also adore Ryiah, because she is quite different to the main feminine characters we usually find in this stories. In fact, it has passed so much time since I have read a good story with a strong and independent girl having the leading role…and I have loved it. I cannot wait to see what is going to happen in the second book.

I also wanted to mention two feminine characters that I have liked a lot: Ella and Priscilla. They are the opposite sides of nobility and I have enjoyed the different encounters they have during the story and I think they could be very interesting in the next books if they evolve in the way I think they will.

The ambience of this book is amazing. The process of worldbuilding carried by Rachel for First Year is a work of art. The Academy has nothing to envy, from my point of view, to other Magic Schools, as the University created by Patrick Rothfuss. While I was reading, I was drawing all the scenarios in my mind as if I was there, because her narrative is so clear and powerful at the same time that you are caught in the pages from the very beginning. In fact, I have enjoyed this book even more because I have read it in its original language and I could taste Rachel’s prose in all its glory.

Then, I can conclude claiming that I have found a new beloved author and I’m going to follow her books with happiness and expectation. I hope I could bring you the second review very soon, because I cannot wait to read the next part of the story!

Let’s pass to the valuation with witch hats:


5/5 hats (Book that enters in my list of Favorite Ones)«

I hope you have enjoyed this review. This is the first time I review in English, as I have told you. Thanks for reading if it is the first time you enter in my site. If you have any comment about this wonderful book, please, feel free to write your thoughts in the boxes below.

Greetings from my shelves!

May López


Un comentario en “«First Year», by Rachel E. Carter

  1. Pingback: «First Year», de Rachel E. Carter | Notas a lápiz de May López


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