The YA Fantasy Academy genre is currently one of the most popular genres in publishing, with the most famous being Harry Potter, Vampire Academy and Twilight. The expected tropes surrounding a vampire, a werewolf and a witch, with a coming of age story and self-discovery, are all required reading material. To stand out in this space requires something special, but if successful, finds a voracious readership. Magic Within is a brilliant example of this genre and with excellent writing and an exciting plot, this is urban teenage fantasy entertainment that DOES stand out.
At a request to review the ARC for book 3 of Ahava Trivedi’s Bloodline Academy series, I decided to read the first two books, the first being Magic Within. The main protagonist, Katerina Snow Quartz is a teenage Crystal Witch and has grown up in a coven/academy of witches since she was adopted by the two High Priestesses, Lorna and Babette. Katrina is not a normal witch –
“I’m a Crystal Witch, who’s supposed to possess a magic that brings light to the world. At least I thought I was until about two minutes ago when I found out that lo and behold, I’m also a vampire.”
She is devastated along with her best friend Safi to find out that she will be leaving her coven and attending St Erzsebet’s Academy aka Bloodline Academy, for vampires and werewolves. The class system at St Erzsebet’s sees pureblood (Sanguine) vampires at the top of the pecking order, new blood (Novus) vampires follow and werewolves are treated lowest.
Katrina is a sanguine vampire and quickly makes friends with Natalie, a Novus, and Ulrich a werewolf. Just as quickly she makes enemies with Lilith and her group of friends and so confrontation is set. The fascination is how each faction will challenge the other and what devious machinations will be put into play. The close band of friends facing life and death struggles are what makes Young Adult fantasy the style it is. The complexity of relationships is thinly explored and traded for action, mystery and suspense. What is striking is the relentless pace maintained without losing detail or context. A real test of this story is that I just couldn’t put it down. The plot was clever and well-structured with moments of action and suspense that were engrossing. There is a little flirtation but no romance which was ideal for me.
Ahava is an excellent purposeful writer in this genre and she pitches it perfectly for her audience. I would highly recommend this book to YA fantasy fans and readers, and I would rate it 4.5 stars.