As I've mentioned in previous reviews, I love the whole school setting which probably comes from my love/obsession with the Harry Potter series. I found the magic system to be really interesting and thought it was a perfect fit for the story line. We get introduced to a handful of teachers and their classes which was interesting. Usually I would like the author go into more detail about the classes and what they entail but in this case it was a perfect balance considering the main subject was the unsolved murder. We also get a few visits to the bar and a few late night meet ups but I won't go too much into that because it will spoil the romance side of the story.
The characters I found to be really likeable. The MC, Ivy Gamble, expresses a lot of self-pity early on which can put readers off but the more you delve into the story the more you understand it, I mean this woman has been through some shit. We also meet Ivy's sister, Tabitha, who teachers at the local mage academy. I found her to be quite boring at first and bit of a dick but as the story goes on we really get to see who she is and she's not all that bad. We only get to know the teachers briefly but each character's personality shines through so you're not sat there thinking I don't care about these characters. As for the students, the two main students in the story are Alexandria and her half-brother Declan. Both are from a powerful family with a lot of influence. One of these students will be the most powerful mage of their time according to the family prophecy. Straight from the get go, these two students sparked my interest. Declan is obsessed with the prophecy and thinks solving this murder is all part of it. Alexandria on the other hand is your typical school bully who knows everything about everyone, so its no surprise when she plays a big part in the story.
The murder mystery kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the whole book, especially the second half of the book. I mean, I fucking devoured the last 40%. I will say, just when you think you know who it is, it takes a sharp turn and completely throws you off. I loved that classic mystery feel to the book. I won't give away any details but the ending was absolutely brilliant and something I did not see coming. I liked the idea behind the prophecy but I would have liked to have read more about it. It plays such a big part throughout the book and I felt as though I was left with unanswered questions. Like, where did the prophecy come from? What does the mean for the magic world? What happens after we find out who it is? I think this would have added that little bit more the overall story.
Overall, this is a very emotional and intense book and I really enjoyed it. Some people might be put off early on by the abundance of self-pity, but if you look past that and see the bigger picture it delivers a strong message regarding mental health and how people deal with it (or fail to in this case). I thought it was clever and creative writing by Sarah Gailey.
I would like to thank Netgalley, Tor Books and Sarah Gailey for allowing me to read and review this brilliant book