vrijdag 3 juni 2016

Jess Haines - Smoke and Mirrors

The first book in the Blackhollow Academy series, published April 28, 2016.
Genre: urban fantasy
Cover: I don't like it.

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A girl who uses her illusions to fool the world into thinking she's just like all the other magi.
A dragon who sees through her lies.
Together they just might survive a world that wants to control or destroy them both.

Kimberly may wield ultimate cosmic power, but even a mage has to pay the rent. No one will hire her for her magic talents until she's got the credentials, so she's stuck in a crappy rent controlled apartment with her mother, yearning for treats she can't afford at her part time job in a cafe, counting down the days until she graduates the secret Blackhollow Academy school for magi. Only then will she have the certificate she needs to land her dream job in a coven.
The problem? She needs a familiar to graduate.
As an illusionist, she doesn't have the ability to summon or create a familiar of her own. Her only option is to convince a supernatural creature to let her bind it instead. Since having a powerful Other at her beck and call would guarantee her a place in a coven after she graduates - and legendary treasure hoards are an added bonus - she thinks binding a dragon as her familiar will solve all her problems...
Because sometimes a girl needs a dragon, not a knight.


I was asked by the author to review this book, which was a very nice surprise, and after reading the blurb, I quickly said yes. And I am not sorry at all, as I absolutely loved this story. It is set in the world of her Others, as Alec Royce is mentioned once and there were other familiar bits and pieces.

I soon fell for Kimberly, who does not have an easy life. She and her mother both work hard to be able to pay the rent for their shabby apartment and buy food and other necessities. She is a sorcerer in a world where sorcerers are reviled and killed on sight, so she has to hide that fact. Sure, she could use her powers to make her own money and buy what she wants, but she has standards and honor, and she won't do that, just to make life easier. I admire that about her. She goes to school, to work long hours in a small café, and then home to study. That's it. She doesn't have friends, although one might become one, or anything resembling a social life.
Kimberly is a last year student and Blackhollow Academy for magi. But her sorcerer's magic just can't do everything magi can do, so she uses a lot of her illusion magic to make it appear like she can do it. But one thing won't be possible to fake: to summon a familiar into a circle.
One of her teachers who knows what she is, suggests that she approaches an Other to ask for his of her acceptance of being bound as her earthbound familiar. And not just an ordinary Other: a Dragon! And she gives Kimberly an address and a name of someone who can help her: Cormack Hunter.
Cormack Hunter is a Dragon himself, but he hides the fact. He is not sure why Kimberly has been sent to him, but he does not trust it. So he wants to learn more about her first, before he reveals himself. But when he puts Kimberly in danger from a dangerous Wyvern called Viper, he is very sorry and will have to work hard to earn her trust back.

I enjoyed this story a lot, the places that Cormac takes Kimberly, the things she learns and about the Others she does meet. How she helps a herd of Centaurs and protects their land from a nearby werewolf pack.
The more Kimberly learns about familiars, and how the bond work, the less she wants to do it. But she needs to be able to bind a familiar to be able to graduate. And her dreamjob in a Coven doesn't seem so good anymore either. She will have to re-evaluate what she wants and how to live her own life. Kimberly is not a weak heroine, she is strong, and so is her magic. She can fight her own battles. And Cormac, he is a dragon, he is handsome, arrogant and rich, he is good in battle, what more can you want? But being around Kimberly changes him as well, makes him rethink what he has taken for granted. He can't buy her and she won't take charity.
There are no sex-scenes, but there are a few hot kisses.

I want more, and can't wait for the next book in this series. There are a lot of series out there, but this one feels fresh and original to me.

9 stars.



Love this book

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© 2016 Reviews by Aurian

3 opmerkingen:

  1. Sounds very nice indeed but the cover art is completely meh.

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  2. Oh this sounds good and I think you just added this book to my wishlist.

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