Genre: YA Fantasy
Series: Shadow Grail (Book 1)
Publication Date: July 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover, 320 Pages
ISBN-10: 0765327074 (Tor/Macmillan)
ISBN-13: 978-0765327079 (Tor/Macmillan)
Reviewed by: Bridget
Who—or what—is stalking the students at Oakhurst Academy?
In the wake of the accident that killed her family, Spirit White is spirited away to Oakhurst Academy, a combination school and orphanage in the middle of Montana. There she learns she is a legacy—not only to the school, which her parents also attended, but to magic.
All the students at Oakhurst have magical powers, and although Spirit’s hasn’t manifested itself yet, the administrators insist she has one. Spirit isn’t sure she cares. Devastated by the loss of her family, she finds comfort with a group of friends: Burke Hallows, Lachlann Spears, Muirin Shae, and Adelaide Lake.
But something strange is going on at Oakhurst. Students start disappearing under mysterious circumstances, and the school seems to be trying to cover it up. Spirit and her friends must find out what’s happening—before one of them becomes the next victim…
Quick & Dirty: Fun magical book filled with mystery, interesting characters, and murder. The plot was a little convenient, and there were parts that dragged but overall it was a good read.
Opening Sentence: Someone was moaning.
Spirit White has just had a terrible accident, where her whole family was killed. She was left severely wounded and has been recovering for the last month. Now she is being sent to the Oakhurst Academy. She has never heard of it until the accident, but supposedly her parents said that if anything were to happen to them she would be sent there. Turns out her parents also attended the school and the students there have magical powers.
Spirit has never believed in magic, but now she has no choice. Every student there has some sort of magical ability, but Spirit can’t seem to figure out what hers is. The normal tests don’t trigger it and she is starting to wonder if she has any magic at all. Then students start to disappear, and people are getting suspicious. Spirit and her new group of friends decide to investigate, before one of them is next, and they realized that the school might not be the safe haven that they thought it was.
Spirit is the protagonist and I had mixed feelings about her. She is really depressed for a large portion of the book and I understand that she went through a horrific experience, but her attitude about it got on my nerves after a while. Once she finally gets settled into the school and finds a reason to get past her pain, she gets a little better. She is a very loyal friend and most of the time I liked being in her head. She makes fast friends with Burke, Muirin, Adelaide, and Loch.
The first one that she meets is Loch they travel to the Academy together. Loch comes from a rich family and he is very confident. Spirit is instantly attracted to him and it is easy for her to talk to him. Next she meets Muirin who is a very blunt girl that doesn’t really have many friends. She has an attitude and she likes to be different, but she doesn’t always go about it the best way. Adelaide is the sweet one in the group. She is pretty shy, but very smart. Last we have Burke; he is the strong and silent type. His magic makes him a master of any type of weapon so no one wants to mess with him. He is also an honest, fair person that wants to do the right thing. He and Spirit seem to have a slow attraction that may turn into more.
I enjoyed this book, but I felt that everything was just too convenient. There weren’t really any surprises in the plot and everything just ended up working out. I did enjoy the characters for the most part; a few had some annoying traits but nothing too bad. There were a few times when the pacing dragged a little bit, but for the most part it flowed pretty well. The ending left you satisfied, and there was a good set up for the next book in the series. Overall, this was a fun good read, and I would recommend it to anyone that is a mystery fan.
“Right,” Ms. Smith said, nodding. “Now, scientifically, there are one hundred seventeen elements, but the ancient world believed there were only four. Earth, Air, Fire, and Water, which aren’t really elements at all. But for the purposes of magic, we treat them as if they are, and your Mage Gift will probably fall into one of what we call these ’Elemental Schools.’”
“Probably?” Spirit asked.
“It’s possible that you have Gifts from two different Schools,” Ms. Smith said, “Though in that case they’re less likely to be strong Gifts. While a Mage can have an entirely elemental Gift-such as being a Fire Witch-they can also have a power that belongs to an Elemental School without controlling its underlying element. For example, I know you’ve met Burke Hallows. Hid Mage Gift is Combat Magic, which has an affinity with the School of Earth. Knowing the supporting School to which you Mage Gift belongs will be important when you go on to study magical theory. And you’re wishing I’d stop nattering on at you and get to the testing part of things aren’t you?”
Spirit glanced up, guilty and a little alarmed.
“Oh, I’m no mind reader,” Ms. Smith said gently. “But I’ve administered a great number of these tests. This is how it works: the items here on the table symbolize the Four Elements. You should feel a resonance-an affinity- with one more than another. Take your time. And remember, there aren’t wrong answers here. This isn’t a test you can fail. We already know you’re a magician, or you wouldn’t be here.”
Shadow Grail Series:
FTC Advisory: Tor/Macmillan provided me with a copy of Legacies. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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