I was dreadfully late in reviewing this story (several months after I read it) for two reasons. The first, I bought it and the sequel together and I r...moreI was dreadfully late in reviewing this story (several months after I read it) for two reasons. The first, I bought it and the sequel together and I rushed to read both of them in about 31ish hours. The second, I wasn't sure I could put what I thought about it into words. I'm going to try now.
I think it has to be said, there are characters in this book that remind me of specific Harry Potter characters. As the story (and series) progresses, that similarity lessens as I get to know these characters in their own right. That development can be said about no one more than Timothy Frost. I find him to be the most complex and fascinating character - he varies from ascerbic to intriguing and mysterious in the first book and further in the following two. I guess that's strange given that he is not the main character, but the most well-written secondary characters sometimes take on a life of their own.
I'm drawn to all of the major players in different ways: Master Brandish and Dean Bell, about whom a colorful and slowly revealed mystery is woven, Alex Kimble, whose relationship with Kyle takes on so many dimensions, it would be both apropos and an understatement to merely refer to it as a "friendship" and main character Kyle Wadworth himself, who embodies the sometimes sweet hero complex and innocence I liked in Harry Potter while employing a maturity the boy wizard had to grow into.
There are quite a number of other rich characters in this series (in fact, I would be hard-pressed to find one that didn't interest me in some way), but what I find most refreshing about this book and its characters is that we as readers are immediately aware of a correlation between a popular series of children's books, but it never feels as if this is merely an adult Harry Potter with sex. The story is told in a way I felt was unique - and, frankly, hard to part from when doing little necessary things like going to work and sleep - there are fantastic moments of humor, romance and drama and most of all, the main character is easily relatable. Another great comparison to the Harry Potter series: upon rereading, I find little details that make the story that much richer, things I may have glossed over as less than important during the first read. In other words, a book that only gets better with repeat reads.
I would love to describe the plot and how I became immersed in it in detail. In fact, I reworded the beginning of this review several times trying to figure out how to summarize it without giving too much away. On my second read, I decided talking in circles around the plot would be more a disservice than a selling point. Finding out what's going as it unfolds is one of the best reasons to get into this series. The best way I can describe it is this: Upon visiting Harvard for an interview, Kyle stumbles upon Veritas, the school for magic users hidden on Harvard's campus. While struggling with his newfound ability, Kyle learns of the existence of a siren and makes it his mission to help capture and control the creature before it can hurt any more students.
This story is about more than any one of Kyle's accomplishments. There's a bigger picture here, more tightly drawn and suspenseful than one book could contain. For this one, I wish it was possible to add another star. At the risk of saying what I fear is too little, I hope anyone who enjoys a great ongoing mystery imbued with fantasy, erotica, love and drama opts to read this and the rest of the books in the Magic University series.(less)