First Year (The Black Mage book 1)

First Year (The Black Mage book 1)

4.9 9
by Rachel E. Carter

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Before the age of seventeen the young men and women of Jerar are given a choice –follow tradition, or pursue a trial year in one of the realm's three war schools to study as a soldier, knight or mage...

For 15-year-old Ryiah the choice has always been easy. Become a warrior and leave the boring confines of her lowborn life behind. Set to enroll in the School…  See more details below


Before the age of seventeen the young men and women of Jerar are given a choice –follow tradition, or pursue a trial year in one of the realm's three war schools to study as a soldier, knight or mage...

For 15-year-old Ryiah the choice has always been easy. Become a warrior and leave the boring confines of her lowborn life behind. Set to enroll in the School of Knighthood on the eve of her next birthday, plans suddenly shift when her twin brother discovers powers. Hoping that hers will soon follow, she enrolls with Alex at the Academy instead –the realm's most notorious war school for those with magic.

Yet when she arrives Ry finds herself competing against friend and foe for one of the exalted apprenticeships. Every "first-year" is given a trial year to prove their worth –and no amount of hard work and drive will guarantee them a spot. It seems like everyone is rooting for her to fail –and first and foremost among them Prince Darren, the school prodigy who has done nothing but make life miserable since she arrived.

When an accidental encounter leads Ryiah and Darren to an unlikely friendship she is convinced nothing good will come of it. But the lines become blurred when she begins to improve –and soon she is a key competitor for the faction of Combat... Still, nothing is ever as it seems –and when the world comes crashing down around her, Ry is forced to place faith in the one thing she can believe in –herself. Will it be enough?

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Product Details

Astraea Press Publishing, LLC
Publication date:
The Black Mage , #1
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Barnes & Noble
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File size:
383 KB

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Meet the Author

Rachel Carter lives in Placerville, California with her fiancé and their two spoiled pets: a feisty feline named Charlie, and Zoey, an Australian Shepherd who gets jealous of her own shadow. She loves to organize -and when she is not color-coding her closet she is always looking for the next good book. She grew up reading about magic, hot bad boys, and lady knights. The Black Mage, her debut series, is a tribute to all the things she never stopped loving.

The Black Mage: First Year is the first book in Rachel's four-book YA fantasy series with Astraea Press. Rachel invites you to visit her author page at She loves to hear from other aspiring authors or readers via email at . Follow her on twitter @blackmageauthor and read her blog at

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First Year 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I foung this book to be a pleasant surprise compared to other High Fantasy YA books. The book is beautifully written with enough romance (not overwhelming), action, and magic, along with real lessons in strength and how to pick yourself up after failure. One of the main things I loved the most about this book was the main character, Ryiah. She is so easy to relate too because she is written so realistically. She is not perfect and she struggles through this book, with her training, studying and her heart. She works so hard to achieve her goals and even when things don't turn out the way she planned, she doesn't give up. So many times YA authors make the characters good at everything or over dramatize a character's failure. However in Ryiah's case, she has a step-by-step path to success that made her a character anyone can connect to. She is a strong, stubborn character, but I loved that about her because it was that personality that led her to stand up to Darren. Thank God she didn't fall for him because he treated her like trash (as many YA characters do). Instead a chemistry forms between her and Darren because he helps her and gives her confidence when she wanes it. She sees some good in him and begins to hope for more. Their relationship grew well through the book, easily weaving into the story line without overwhelming the plot with romance. The story still centers around Ryiah and her goal to be an apprentice. I also loved the other characters, such as, of course, Darren. He was a very complex character that leaves you guessing, questioning (and swooning) over his intentions. There is no insta-love between him and Ryiah, though by the end of the book, there is most certainly something there that I cannot wait to see develop more in the next book. There were so many other great characters, such as ALEX (the flirt) and Ella (the loyal friend). Overall this book sucks you into Ryiah's grueling first year (never again will I complain about my gym class) and takes you on a ride with Ryiah as she weaves her way through some pretty hard obstacles (some initiated by the Academy, some by her bastard classmates). I LOVED LOVED LOVED this book and cannot wait to see how the story continues.
BLizCole More than 1 year ago
As a teen I am SURROUNDED by insta-love so  book was awesome. Ryiah was fiery and never let Darren walk all over her. Also Darren wasn't a wimpy little rich have no idea how happy this made me! Over all this book was an amazing read with a back bone of magic and a surprisingly good relationship. I'm so excited to read book two! 
KatieC87 More than 1 year ago
First thing you should know about me is that I hate insta-love. Books with sappy romances are the bane of my existence (you know which ones I’m talking about). Second thing: I am ALWAYS drawn to the darker characters, think the Darkling in Shadow & Bone, Ignifex in Cruel Beauty, and Warner in Shatter Me.  So when I saw the two main characters in this book were rivals, and that the guy was a jerk, I thought maybe, just maybe this book would be worth reading. Because you know, the whole love-hate thing. But I was still leery because the guy was a prince, and I don’t know about you, but I’ve had enough knight-in-shining-armor books from the medieval or w/e times. Anyway, long story short, I am happy I gave it a shot. Darren was everything I hoped he would be, no sappy princes here. I loved his & Ryiah’s constant sparring. And Ryiah is feisty –she speaks her mind and doesn’t let Darren walk all over her (or whine about how much she loves him). I would recommend this to anyone who appreciates a good love-hate relationship!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Let me start by saying that I absolutely loved this debut novel by Miss Carter! Now comes the hard part, trying to tell you how much I loved it without spoiling it. Hmmm... Ok I got it! Two words, Ryiah and Darren. Really! lol Ok, on a serious note, there's absolutely nothing not to like about this book. Ryiah is awesome! She is what a heroine should be, Badass! A girl from a humble background, with a big dream, and most importantly, the determination to make it happen. (Ah the beauty of "Never give up!") I'm a sucker for girl power! Love all the other characters as well, Alex, Ella and even the girl we all love to hate, (and we happen to share a name, lol Rachel) Priscilla. Last, but certainly not least, Prince Darren! What can I say about him, I have a soft spot for bad boys, and boy, is he a bad boy! ( come on! that was funny and you know it!) lol I also loved the fantasy aspect of it! I can't wait to learn more about Ryiah's world and embark in the next leg of their journey! February 2015 can't get here fast enough! If you haven't read First Year yet, I don't know what you are waiting for!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thought it was a great book and should be a great read. If your like me and hate the bullies you might struggle controlling your fictional hate ha ha ;)
Psychospam More than 1 year ago
I have a friend who knows the author of this book. I was skeptical because as a guy I didn't want to be stuck reading a girly book and I was worried this would be like a medieval Twilight with knights. Thankfully it wasn't anything like that. I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading the sequels.
Rowlinvale More than 1 year ago
Loved this book!
Anonymous 5 months ago
I had come across this book as a recommendation on Facebook. I wasnt to sure if I was going to like but I was really surprised. The story was well thought it and its a different take on a story about mage's. I do have my pros and cons. The main character Ry had her challenges and you felt her everything she was going through. you got to see what it was like to fail and keep trying so she could become an apprentice but man she could sometimes be a bore. I caught myself spreading through pages at times cause she annoyed me but im glad i stuck it out cause the ending was amazing and i want to know about her true potential with her powers. And don't get me started on Darren. Dark and oh so devilishly "GRR" you know something is going to happen with him and Ry but to see their story start out and how they adapt and change with another. I want more. i can't wait to see what happens in the next book. And Precilla I hate her! she needs to get her ass handed to her. Im really hoping that happens to her in the next book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. Great start to what should be an excellent series. I loved Ry. She was a character I felt I could relate to. She didn't just get what she wanted at the drop of a hat, but she worked hard and even failed a few times. She was real to me. I got a lot of HP vibes, but more in the sense that there was some inspiration from it. There was adventure and intrigue and I loved it. Great debut and I cannot wait to start book 2!