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(The Black Mage #3)

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  10,119 ratings  ·  623 reviews
Welcome to the Candidacy. Where dreams go to die.

Twenty-year-old Ryiah is a black mage of Combat, but she’s not the Black Mage. Yet. She’s had her eyes on the legendary robe for as long as she can remember, and in just one year, she will have a chance at her country’s prestigious—and only—tourney for war mages... Too bad she is going up against a certain prince—the one per
Paperback, 380 pages
Published January 26th 2017 by Rachel E. Carter (first published October 27th 2015)
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Rachel E. Carter Just saw this question, sorry! Nope, there is one more book after "Candidate." "Last Stand" (The Black Mage #4) will be final book. Trust me, you will…moreJust saw this question, sorry! Nope, there is one more book after "Candidate." "Last Stand" (The Black Mage #4) will be final book. Trust me, you will understand when you get to Candidate's ending <3(less)
Rachel E. Carter It's up on Amazon now:, as well as KOBO and Smashwords. I'm still waiting for B&N and iTunes (those two should be up hopefully …moreIt's up on Amazon now:, as well as KOBO and Smashwords. I'm still waiting for B&N and iTunes (those two should be up hopefully by tonight)! I'm so sorry for the inconvenience:((((less)
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Average rating 4.09  · 
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Rachel E. Carter
Jan 29, 2015 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,
Mar 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, favorites
Did you hear an ear-piercing noise? That was me screaming. Did you hear something shattering? That was my heart. Did you hear that somebody stole all the ice-cream from your neighbourhood's convenience store? That was me trying to eat my feelings.

“Two longstanding rivals.”
“And only one robe to bear.”
“Who will win? The handsome prince?”
“Or his valiant betrothed?”

Ryiah is finally a black mage, but she is not the black mage. Yet. With the Candidacy approaching, she pushes herself to he
Aj the Ravenous Reader
Mar 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Aj the Ravenous Reader by: myself ;)

I am truly honored to have received an ARC of the third book of the epic fantasy series called The Black Mage and to be one of the first lucky people to have read this. Rachel E. Carter , I will be forever grateful for this series and for the friendship you so humbly and willingly offered despite your grand awesomeness.^^

Non-spoilery glimpse at the first two books.

Book One:First Year(The Black Mage #1) introduced us to Ryiah, a young heroin
Melissa (Ever So Mela)
First Year Book 1 review
Apprentice Book 2 review
Last Stand Book 4 review

Oh dear Lord was I scared. I mean First Year was awesome and then Apprentice came rolling along blowing second book syndrome out of the water with its freaking awesomeness, so you can imagine me, the pessimist that I am, waiting for the shoe to drop. It's not that I don't trust Rachel, it's that no matter how much I love series there is always that one book to bring down the parade. But Candidate?
Candidate blew my freaki
Mar 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-e-reader
first read: October 30-31, 2015
first reread: February 3-?, 2017

...........So............I just finished this book..............................and I think I will just sit here for a while, because.....I am just so......oh my god, this book fucking broke me.

I am seriously at a loss for words. I have NO IDEA WHAT TO SAY. I am both elated and traumatized, and in total disbelief about a few different things that came to light during this third book in the series. Just look at my status updates, haha
Dannii Elle
First Read: June 2017, Rating: 4/5 stars
Second Read: February 2020, Rating 3.5/5 stars

I had wrongly assumed my adoration for this series would nose-dive once it was removed from its magical academy setting, but boy was I wrong! Ryiah's character arc throughout this series has been momentous, and it is heartening to still share her journey even after her school days are over. She continues to learn and continues to grow, just as this series continued to evolve from strength to strength. Her ambit
I may be a little late with writing this review, but never any less enthusiastic. First of all, I have received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review. And while I’m good friends with the author and would gladly have her babies, this in no way affects my opinion of the book. You’ll find that in Apprentice, I wanted to chuck frozen egg rolls at Ryiah, and would have gladly done so if it was required in Candidate.

Fortunately, that’s not the case. Candidate is everything you’ve eve
Natalie (Never trust a duck)
I won an ARC of this book from the author! (THANK YOU!)

The first book made me want to tear my hair out in frustration and punch certain characters in the face. (All punching would've been done lovingly)

The second book did indeed rip my heart to shreds and scream a bit more. (THE ENDING THOUGH)

The third book made me shout HALLELUJAH!


This is the book where we get into the nitty-gritty political details and learn what Ryaih's and Darren's world looks like. And
Jun 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
OK, this book snuck up on me , i didn't anticipate those series of unexpected events: treachery and betrayals and so on , it was too much to take in , really, it serves me right i suppose : going in underestimating the author and the book , i wasn't prepared, and this novel sucker punched me, it is a feeling that i treasure very much, i wish the author the best of luck in her next book : it's gonna end bad i feel it in my bones ... D: ...more
Avy  (Book Looney) ❄️
I haven't cried that hard since the Clockwork Princess Epilogue... I sobbed. Ugly sobbed. With snot dripping and snorting and loud keening.

It was bad.

That ending...THAT ENDING. Holy crap. I couldn't even look at another book for a week after I finished Candidate. Rachel played with my emotions. But it's ok, she's just such a great writer that I'm ok with it.

Candidate was compelling and so much more. I'm scared to see what happens in Last Stand, but we all know I'll pre-ordering it the first o
Muse-ic ♬


I'm sorry, that was unclear. Allow me to rephrase that.....


You see that read blob over there on the floor? The one that has been torn to pieces?

Yeah, that's my heart!

Throughout reading Candidate I was thoroughly enjoying myself. I wasn't unbearably in love, but I was hooked and wanted to know what the hell was going to happen.

And then the Candidacy took place and everything beyond that point....

You know how people say "be careful what you wish for"?

Yeah, I found out the hard way!
Anna (Enchanted by YA)
***I received the eBook free as a review copy from the author in exchange for an honest review***

Wow. Rachel as done it again! Just thinking about this book makes me grin, and also want to throttle something – an unusual combination but you’ll understand once you’ve read it (which you totally should. And soon, because I need to fangirl with someone okay? Okay)

There’s so much to say about this book and so much I can’t say for fear of spoiling, so I’ll start with the fact that everything has stepp
reread thoughts: 5/28/2016. Just as good as the last read. I had totally forgotten Ryiah's terrible epiphany at the end so I got to experience that agin and it broke my heart. RACHEL PLEASE WRITE THE NEXT BOOK. I NEED IT.

I really wanted to write this review the moment after I finished it, but I was so overwhelmed I had to let myself think about it for a couple days, or my review would have seemed like 10 year old fan-girl gushing.

This is by far the best book in the series thus far. Ryiah is now


I've had heard that the third book was the best of the series but i certainly did NOT expect what happened.
Dear Rachel E. Carter, you blew my mind.

*4,5 stars*

This book begun with Ryiah and Darren wanting to go to the competition to be the new Black Mage. The first half of the book, was ok. I mean, there were a lot of angst and drama, but i really liked that in this book we finally discover Darren's past. Let me tell you, his father, King Lucius is a fucking MONSTER. i HATE HIM SO MUCH.
Emmeline (The Book Herald)
I got/won this ARC from the author, in return for an honest- unbiased review.

Rating- 4.5 Stars!!

"Flames erupted in a tempest of red. Against the bright summer sun it seared. Red like blood. Red like rage. red like revenge."


Let's do a little hop and delve into the plot! (I'll write it almost like Ryiah is narrating, it's not a quote).

Life should have finally been a dream,
everything worked out right?
I had everything i ever wanted.
And then it was not.
And then everythin
4.5 stars

Hell yes, that’s what I’m talking about! The writing improved and the story was so damn gripping I’ve read for hours on end until I felt like my eyes were bleeding. Finally, we also got to see more of the bigger picture. I’m not saying that the world building is the best I’ve ever seen but it has improved since book one and I didn’t figure out how everything played together, not exactly at least, until Rhyia realized the truth.

The Rhyia I’ve come to admire in book one was back in this o
Feb 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-stars
I had thought I had written a review already on this but apparently I didn't.
Anyway, this series has been on that I am so glad i've been apart of. Riyah is even more bad ass and Darren is even more swoon-worthy. I'm generally not surprised at the twists in books anymore, but Candidate kept me guessing and I need the 4th book right now.
*I won an ARC of this through a Goodreads contest, but all opinions are my own*
oh my god. i'm going to need the night to process all of this. but let it be
Anja H.
May 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

"That’s the thing about enemies. You never know who they could end up being.”

What the hell was that ending??!!?? How can Rachel E. Carter do this to us?? That's just pure evil! Thank God the next book is already released or I would've died from anticipation!

Review coming soon!
HOLY SHIT. That's all I've got at the moment. ...more
Jul 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Slow Clap for Rachel E. Carter, because I believe your book just broke me. I don’t know what to do other than grasp for words like amazing, brilliant and incredible, because wow this book blew my mind and splattered it over a 10 mile radius.

*Tries to compose myself*

So, in Candidate you see Ryiah struggle on two fronts as she deals with the politics of court and her ambition to become the black mage by winning the Candidacy. Looking back, this book really opens up what the pressures and expectat
ARC won via author's giveaway

When given the option of an ARC or a free ebook upon release, which did I choose? The ARC of course! I couldn't wait to get my hands on this title. And boy did it not disappoint!

Riyah is only one year away of fulfilling her dream of becoming the Black Mage. Will Ry be able to beat the one person she has never been able to defeat: her rival, future husband, the non-heir?
Perhaps the gods will surprise us and it will be neither.”
“A true tragedy,” he agreed.
“Of epic p
Cee (The Mistress Case)
MARCH 20, 2016:

I discovered I had money left in several of my gift cards.

I ordered this book! Obviously, I can't wait to read and review it. I'm positive I will be gushing and raining gifs again for this series ;)

APRIL 24, 2015:

I am famously known for my patience.


I think.

I mean I'm serious if you are.

Let the waiting game (as Ashley tells me) begin.

Spectators, please move aside. Make room for the participants as we collapse with grief and excitement.
Feb 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must read!

So how do I put this? I LOVE THIS SERIES! Did that come across clearly? If you have not read this series by Rachel Carter than you need to get on it. This a series that stays in your head long after you have finished it. So pick this one up start reading it unless you haven't read the first or second book...then you might want to start there ;)
Welcome to the Candidacy. Where dreams go to die.

The Candidate is the third book in the Black Mage series and the plot definitely got thicker with this one. There were some good twists and turns and I could sympathize with the predicament Ryiah is in at the end of it. I still think she should trust Darren and his love for her enough to tell him what is going on though! And his jealousy over Ian in the first part of the book was ridiculous.

This book was a step up from the last book. Not many
Umaiya ❄️Ramblings of a Scattered Mind❄️
Let it be known. Rachel E. Carter is hereby claimed as a Master of Sorcery.
For I am shocked!
And devastated.
And shocked.
And dying
And shocked.

Did I mention shocked?



*heavy breathing*


*Sorry about the abrupt end to the rant, the reviewer went up in flames *
Jul 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So the downside to binge-reading Apprentice and Candidate means I now have to wait until Last Stand comes out to find out what happens to our plucky heroine and her tortured boy toy. Boo.

Seriously though, more action, more twisty twists, more humor, more kissing, better editing...there's lots to love here, even if Ry did annoy the heck out of me a few times.
Apr 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow, amazing book! I did not see the ending coming and poor Ry! And, as always, making us suffer and agonize over the ending for another year until the next book comes out.

“And they told me to keep watch over a ‘lady.’”
I couldn’t help but smirk. A lady.
I lunged and defeated her guard.
I was a war mage.


You can always count on Rachel E. Carter to deliver on an entertaining, romantic, high-tension book! Candidate sees the return of Ryiah as she prepares for not only her wedding to the non-heir, Darren, but the Candidacy: a dangerous match to determine the nation's reigning Council of Magic. Readers should expect a slightl
Jesse Burk
Mar 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mrs. Carter:
Shame on you for writing such an AMAZING story that I felt the NEED to read before the series was completed. Why do I always do this to myself!? Now I have to wait for an eternity to find out what happens next! (By the way, after you commented on my review for the first book, I totally called out that Blayne would be the bad guy. Granted, I did not expect it to play out the way it did. I was also skeptical of Ian's character, and even though he ended up actually being a good guy, I s
Kirsty (Amethyst Bookwyrm)
Thanks to Rachel Carter for giving me this book to review.

20 year old Ryiah is a black mage of combat but she wants to be The Black Mage, the role she has dreamed of becoming and in a year she will have a chance at the Candidacy. However, she will be going up against the only person she has been unable to beat, Darren, the non-heir and her fiancé. In the meantime she has to prove herself but Jerar is on the brink of war and needs all the allies it can to save lives. Is Ryiah able to prepare for
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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)
  • First Year (The Black Mage, #1)
  • Apprentice  (The Black Mage, #2)
  • Last Stand (The Black Mage, #4)

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“You, you are a cockroach. No matter how many times we tried to get rid of you, you kept finding a way to scuttle your way back. And as much as I don’t like you, well, you are persistent. And even I can admire you that.” 26 likes
“Perhaps the gods will surprise us and it will be neither.”
“A true tragedy.”
“Of epic proportions.”
“Two longstanding rivals.”
“And only one robe to bear.”
“Who will win?” Darren’s tone was wry. “The handsome prince?”
I grinned. “Or his valiant betrothed?”
More quotes…