Author: Rachel E. Carter
Series: The Black Mage #3
Genre: YA, high fantasy, magic, romance
Source: Amazon, ebook
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 person she has yet to beat. The Candidacy finally arrives and a winner is robed, but something dark is lurking in her kingdom’s midst. Rival nations are closing in, and it’s time to make an alliance. Unfortunately for Ryiah, that’s only the beginning. The worst enemy resides in the palace.
There's a saying: "It's easy to go on top, but it's much harder to stay there." Many series starts off with an amazing first book, that hooked up so many readers and created so many fans. But unfortunately, no matter how perfect the first book is, it is extremely hard for the second book to not suffer from the second-book syndrome.
Although the first book is undeniably crucial to a series success, the second book is the supporters of the structure. They are crucial in the development of the story. If Apprentice suffered from the syndrome, the series itself would've never made into my top list.
But it didn't, and it's rare and happily pleasant.
How this, a second book, the hardest book to write, was written flawlessly I still amazed me. The relationship between Darren and Ryiah was still intense, with them hating each other but at the same time unable to fight the growing attraction. We see more romance drama, fighting, and some blood. New characters are such as Ian are introduced which create this amazing love triangle.
This did not disappoint me in the least. I had been very pleased and really enjoyed it. So I gave it a perfect five stars.