I was an advanced reader for this book, and to be honest, it is pretty hard to rate. I dived in knowing nothing about the book (I didn’t read a description or anything). All I knew was that “fans of Harry Potter” would love this book and that it is a fantasy book.
To begin with, yes, it is very reminiscent of Harry Potter, but it deviates from that pretty quickly.
The prologue is mysterious and interesting and is actually forgotten for the most part as the story goes on. The premise is that wizards are 1% of the global population and dropping due to their being hunted by the envious Cados humans who are jealous of wizarding powers.
Crewe Chase is orphaned at birth, but his uncle kindly takes him in. When the Cados find out about their wizardry, Crewe is then orphaned at the age of 8 once again. A time skip brings us to 18-year-old Crewe and his hopes of getting accepted into Barbota University, a secluded school where wizards can practice magic and re-cultivate the magical culture. All Crewe wants is vengeance against the Cados.
Most of the characters are kind of plain and dry, but when Rockcave was introduced, I was in love! He’s my favorite and the animal linking is definitely one of the most interesting elements of the book. The plot was slow at first, but once Crewe arrives at the university, the pace picks up and the mystery of the Jet Reapers, as well as whoever is behind Crewe’s demise, keeps the plot fresh and moving forward. Overall I enjoyed the plot and would like to read the second one, but the thing that brings the book down is the writing.
The writing is very simple and there are many rewritten redundancies that I have learned to avoid in my own writing by numerous professors and writers when I edit my work (yes, we know the girl has green eyes and she is hot, and wasn’t it stated that Liam grew up on a farm when Crewe says later, “I didn’t know that,” wait what?) so that was a bit throwing. There are also a number of typos that were a bit irksome. Normally as an advanced reader, I send in to the editor the typo’s or redundancies that i notice, but with my digital copy I have location numbers, rather than page numbers, making it a bit hard to cite, and there were too many, just too many.
Despite all this, the question lies here: should you read it? Overall it was an enjoyable read and the simplistic writing made the story move fast, which I like. After the beginning and the very Harry Potter-esque qualities, the story picks up. The characters are a bit meh, but the plot is interesting enough to have me curious as to what comes next. The writing does not reflect the age of the character very well, and at the same time, it does. When I was 18, I was excited about college and had some end-goal in mind, and I even had a bunch of the same people in my classes once I was in my major. The ideals of the character match his age, but the language Crewe uses is very simplistic, but this leaves potential room for character development, which is good.
All in all, I would say that if you were or are one of those Harry Potter fans, give this books a chance. If you have never read Harry Potter, even better, because this story will be more fresh! I was interesting growing up with Harry, who was school age, and not being older having Crewe to continue the tale of magic for an older version of me and an older audience in general. Also, if you are a contemporary fantasy fan, I would say give this book a chance. It is for a somewhat selective audience, but I will be recommending it to those I know would appreciate and love this sort of tale.