Author: Katie Cross
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Quote: “I spent years preparing for this. It won’t frighten me now. I was a terrible liar. Attending Miss Mabel’s School for Girls did frighten me, but so did staying at home, forfeiting my only chance at freedom,”
Setting: Fantasy World–Medieval
Premise: Bianca has one chance to survive, and it’s a pitifully slim one at that. In a world where magic flows freely around the kingdoms, Bianca would be just another witch… if it wasn’t for her secrets. Cursed at birth to die on her 17th birthday, Bianca must enrol in Miss Mabel’s School for Girls, learn everything she can, and defeat the witch who cursed her.
There is something utterly spellbinding about this series, pun intended. It’s both an easy but intriguing read, and pure sugar for the brain, but that description doesn’t quite do it justice. Despite the seemingly tropey story line (cursed chosen one–must defeat bad person or will die), Cross’s characters are immediately engaging, and you can’t help but find yourself rooting for Bianca as she navigates the perils of her world.
Bianca gathers a core group of friends with personalities which contrast nicely with our sometimes over serious protagonist (I mean she is trying not to die for most of the book). The book is filled with little mysteries for the reader to solve, giving that nice snap of satisfaction when you piece the puzzles together, and the story progresses at a quick pace that keeps you turning pages well past your bedtime.
The themes of this book resonate around relationships with family and friends, and self-discovery when pushed beyond limits. Somewhat refreshingly for a YA book, Bianca has a very good, and healthy, relationship with her Mother and Father despite having to embark on her quest herself.
This book, and the subsequent series, was recommended to me by my housemate and fellow book nerd as I was bemoaning the fact that I had nothing to read. It’s the kind of book that I’d have never given a thought too, thinking that I’d outgrown this kind of story, but I was so very wrong! If you need an escape to a magical world, this book is for you!
You’ve heard enough about how much I like this book, but is this book you’re hunting for?
1. Do you love a good journey of self-discovery?
2. Do you enjoy a story set in a boarding school?
3. Do you want some good, easy escapism?
If you answered yes, yES, YES! Then this might well be your next favourite read!