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First Year

(The Black Mage #1)

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  19,346 ratings  ·  1,591 reviews
Magic. Romance. War. Perfect for fans of Throne of Glass, Falling Kingdoms, and Tamora Pierce.

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
Paperback, 320 pages
Published January 26th 2017 by Rachel E. Carter (first published August 11th 2014)
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Rachel E. Carter Think of how you pronounce "rye" bread -that strong "I" sound:) So "rye-uh" or "rye." My best friend still calls her "Ree-ah" so it's all good either …moreThink of how you pronounce "rye" bread -that strong "I" sound:) So "rye-uh" or "rye." My best friend still calls her "Ree-ah" so it's all good either way;P(less)
Rachel E. Carter Yup. "The Black Mage: First Year" is my first book. Ever:)…moreYup. "The Black Mage: First Year" is my first book. Ever:)(less)

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David - proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party
Speedy trial review -

- Wonderfully likeable lead heroine who truly grows as a character as the novel progresses.
- The relationship between Ryiah and Darren is absolutely mesmerizing.
- Very original take on the concept of magic.
- Duels between the students are particularly exciting.
- Much sharp dialogue throughout.

- Narrow focus on the events at the Academy prevents this story from reaching a truly epic scale.
- World needed more building.

Rachel E. Carter
Sep 29, 2014 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: written-by-me



*** PLEASE NOTE: The ebook editions of this series are only available through Amazon, however you can still purchase the paperback/hardcover/audiobook versions at all retailers. If you would like to continue reading the series as ebook, y
Nov 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
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What a wonderful debut. And this has nothing to do with the fact that I got a copy in exchange for a review, or that the author and I have bonded over our mutual love for Nickelback (I said don’t judge), or that I have a weakness for magical boarding schools. It was just really good.

It takes place in the Academy, where over one hundred students with different levels of magical potential go to compete over fifteen revered robes. Five for Alchemy, five for Restoration (or Healing), and five fo
Cece ❀Rants, Raves &Reviews❀
“Fifteen of us would become mages. The rest would be a courtier's joke till the shame was finally forgotten.”
No pressure hahah

Meet Ryiah: Lowborn, everyday commoner who will stop at nothing for her place at the Academy
I am 110% sure I pronounce this wrong in my head

Darren: entitled prince...and our adversary/love interest.

Together they make an epic story full of conflict, battles, betrayals, and general comedy.
Jul 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This was so unexpected, but God did I love this book !! This book right here was such a pleasant surprise that managed to prevent me from getting into a reading slump after several failed attempts at reading other books ^_^

The story :
This is the first installment in a YA fantasy series.
This first book takes place entirely at the Academy , a school where teenagers who have magic enroll to become mages who are divided into 3 factions : Alchemy (
Aj the Ravenous Reader

My promised honest review of this book First Year The Black Mage 1 (not that I recall making a dishonest review, lol).

One of the key elements of any brilliantly successful literary piece is a catchy and interesting beginning and this book has something beyond that. The start was breathtaking and it cured me of my illness (as I wasn’t feeling well when I started reading this). The effect was as good as that of a steaming bowl of savory chicken soup^^

For the healing power of the story’s introdu
Ben Alderson
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this!
DEVOURED it in one sitting!
Melissa (Ever So Mela)
Apprentice Book 2 review
Candidate Book 3 review
Last Stand Book 4 review

The greatest magic tends to hide behind the most unexpected places.

Set in a realm where magic overflows. Found in every corner, in every household, in every child.
What will make you different from those who have come before you?

Ryiah: A lowborn commoner

"If I weren't struggling, if I weren't keeled over in agony, if my muscles weren't screaming at the end of a long day...then I wasn't trying hard
Aly (In Wonderland)
“The people that tell you what you want to hear are the most dangerous enemies you'll ever meet.”

First Year is easily compared to a piñata filled to the brim with awesomeness, badassery, glitter and a whole lot of snark. This isn't just a book about competing and fighting for what you want most in the world, or about true love, or about any of the themes that are recycled over and over again in YA fantasy. It's so much more than that, and it's 100% certifiably unique. First Year foll
Bentley ★
I think my own expectations might have been a bit high here. This was one of those books where I saw a lot of my friends giving it glowing reviews, knew next to nothing about the it besides that people seemed to be enjoying it, and picked it up on a whim when I needed something to read on my Kindle. Had I known that it was going to center itself around the YA Competition-trope, I probably would have passed on this book all together.

It's nothing against that particular premise. I understand that
Dannii Elle
First Read: March 2017, Rating: 4/5 stars
Second Read: February 2020, Rating: 4/5 stars

This is the first full instalment in the Black Mage series.

I knew I was going to love this book as I am absolute trash for magical boarding school settings. One thing I find with this setting, however, is that I often find the books move away from this initial focus on the magical studies, and on to another form of intrigue. I always find myself wanting to pause the books in their early stages and and for them
Jan 31, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: high-fantasy
This book was kinda meh, and unfortunately I couldn't appreciate it the way I thought I would.
I'm sorry, I really wanted to like it.
The story is at least a bit entertaining, thank you god, because I don't think I would have finished reading it if it were boring too.
Flaws. Flaws everywhere. I had to have a list of negative points on my phone while reading because I feared I was going to forget a big part of them.
Now, I understand this is a debut and that it's not popular, but it was worth reread
Nov 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
first read: March 18, 2015
first reread: July 1, 2015
second reread: February 1 - ?, 2017

I'd seen fire when he touched me, and he made me want to burn.

JULY 2015: rereading this already....because....I can :) and I also just bought paperbacks for this and book two....again, because I could. Also, I needed a little Darren in my life.

*sigh* Its over.....and sadly, book two won't actually be in my possession until Friday.

I have to say, I loved this just as much as I did the first time around. The
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

OMG! I didn't know what to expect going into this book. I try not to read some of the same kind of genres one after the other in case I get too biased and at first I thought I might have made a mistake starting this one right away. I WAS WRONG! I loved this book so much!

I absolutely love the characters... well...I can't stand stupid Priscilla.. she can suck it! But Ryiah, her brother Alex, her new friend Ella and even old grumpy Darren. I love some of the sec
Ashley S.
Jun 22, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Imagine an Urban Fantasy Divergent that ends right before the Abnegation war.

That's exactly what First Year is. It's the story of Ryiah's day-to-day training and her relationships with her friends, potential love interest, and stereotypical nemesis. But without a climax at the end.

This installment follows Ryiah as she competes with over 100 students to become one of the 15 apprentices who will graduate onto the second year of The Academy. Unlike the high-born, Ryiah is a commoner whose parents c
Norah Una Sumner
Such an interesting book!

I really liked Ry and the fact that she worked so hard to improve her magic abilities/fighting technique and never gave up-she’s not automatically good at everything.I also liked her brother Alex – he’s a very charming and sometimes a bit goofy character.I definitely want him to end up with Ella,Ry’s best friend.And there’s Darren…a mystery I want to solve.He’s a very complex character and also very two-faced – he says one thing and then does the other.However,his intent
Christine Wallflower & Dark Romance Junkie
DNF @ 90%
Hours of my life I will never get back again. The heroine sucked at EVERYTHING she did. It was painful.
Feb 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone

☺ Since I was a child I've always loved fantastic stories. The ones capable of making you dream and fly with your imagination. I grew up loving Marvel, anime like Dragonball (and there is a fighting scene in this book that just reminded me of Goku's Kamehameha - yeah I googled it, since in italian it's "Onda energetica", much easier to remember), and all the wicked stories, movies, cartoons, books, manga and so on. All this preamble to say that I could not not enjoy this book since it embraces
Feb 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015, 5-stars
This was a very pleasant surprise!! I really loved this book! It had a very Harry Potter/Iron Trials feel to it but honestly I liked aspects of this story so much more!!
I loved Ryiah! I love that she is tough and strong willed, but also I love that she can be weak and has her moments where she lets her guard down. She pushes herself to the limit but also breaks. I love that she is extremely human and very easy to relate to.
Her brother is hilarious to me. Always flirting and all that, I really lo
Dec 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, favorites
"Still can't make up your mind about me,can you,Ryiah?"
My sweet dear Darren,I know I couldn't!I wanted to punch your smug face and kiss you at the same time!!You are frustrating and secretive and arrogant and you desperately try to hide that deep inside you are kind!!Those are the reasons I fell for you!!

Wow,just wow!!I did not expect the First Year to be so so good!!I finished it within hours,I wanted so badly to find a portal that would lead me to Jerar and the Academy!!I really liked the frie
Katerina  Kondrenko
4 out of 10

Ревью в моем блоге/This review on my blog
Living A Thousand Lives
(please use Chrome/Yandex browser or Android/IOS to see the page; otherwise, spoiler-tags I use to make my post compact may not work)

Anthem Lights – Unlove You
Aidan Hawken – Walking Blind
Reamonn – Faith

Genre: high-fantasy, YA
Stuff: magic, academy, nobles vs. commoners
Fail: romance, plot, manner of telling
WOW: first 10%
POV: 1st person, female
Love-Geometry: medium

“The people that tell
Lerizza Mae (books&teacups)
A few years ago I would have loved this book. But after reading so many fantasy books, the concept of this book was a bit boring. Don't get me wrong, it did entertain me, but not in the same level that I get when reading my favorite books.

I did like the fact that the lead character is not some special snowflake who gets what she wants all the time. No! Ryiah had to work twice as hard to get what she wanted because she is a lowborn (and this is the collective term they use for someone who is not
Brittain *Needs a Nap and a Drink*

I've been a raging bitch a bit grumpy lately.

I recognize and accept that I've been on a warpath and probably been too critical of some things. Studying for standardized testing will do that to even the most well adjusted people. And I'm not claiming to be well adjusted. However, a good book should be able to get the surliest/most sleep deprived/most strung out reader and get them to relax and enjoy the story.

The Black Mage: First Year by Rachel E. Carter was able to do that.

I love the cover. The
Fatima Nauman
"If you want to succeed here, you had best master your fears early on because sight is the least of your worries. There are two much more uncontrollable detractors of focus, pain and emotion, which will require much more effort to control."
Master Cedric cleared his throat: "As I see it, there are many of you who will fail. The Academy is not meant for everyone. Today's exercise is usually a strong indicator of how the year will end. Thus, if you did not perform well today, keep in mind you will
Sylvia Mercedes
Well, that was a ton of fun!

Honestly, I zipped through this book so fast, it made my head spin. But it was just that enjoyable of a story with such a great pace, the pages flew by in a breeze!

I REALLY appreciated how Rachel E. Carter handled her magic. Magic doesn't come easily to people in this world. They have to WORK for it. There are specific RULES for how it works, and the magic itself takes a physical toll. It was all very well thought out!

As a result of this well-thought-out magic system,
Naomi 🐨
Mar 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow - this was awesome!!! I loved it - terrific characters and story that kept me turning the pages :) Onto Apprentice!!I'm addicted... ...more
Tomoe Hotaru
02 Mar. '17
goodreads | more reviews

this book was originally available on wattpad

I'm usually much more forgiving and am lenient in my standards when reviewing stories off wattpad or other similar community websites containing first drafts or otherwise unedited "amateur" work. This book has, however, been published (whether self- or traditionally published does not matter) so therefore I assume it has undergone multiple beta- and alpha readers and editing processes -- and if it hasn't, the
Mar 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-happy-place

The Black Mage has it all. It has great characters, good setting, fantastic magic, seamless writing, and entertaining premise. The only thing it lacks is outside world building since all the events are so tightly packed inside the walls of the academy we barely get to see the outside world. We do learn about their political shenanigans (some), but other than that I couldn't tell you much about what kind of world we are dwelling in. To be completely honest though I was barely bothered because the
Cee (The Mistress Case)
I know what you're thinking. "Cee, why did it take you so long to finally read this?" I have no answer.

The central characters are well-written and I was able to get a grasp on their personalities. I found myself liking everyone, even the school instructors and Ryiah’s nemeses.

I’m not about to do a characterization on everyone, but I will discuss the protagonist.

Ryiah is one hell of a tough cookie. I LOVE how bold, determined, fierce, tough, and strong headed she is. Even her recklessness and des
First Year by Rachel E. Carter is a high fantasy novel following a fifteen year-old girl named Ryiah. Ry wants to become a Combat mage and enroll in the Academy so she can train to become one. Sounds easy, right? Well first she has to get through her first year a.k.a., the trial year. She makes friends and foes along the way.

"'You will thank me one day for not filling your head with false compliment. Adversity teaches one more than flattery ever will.'"

Let me just say that this book has made it'
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Rachel E. Carter is the USA Today bestselling author of The Black Mage, a YA fantasy series about magic, love, and war -with future projects to come. She hoards coffee and has a weakness for villains and Mr. Darcy love interests.

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Other books in the series

The Black Mage (4 books)
  • Apprentice  (The Black Mage, #2)
  • Candidate (The Black Mage, #3)
  • Last Stand (The Black Mage, #4)

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