When seventeen-year-old Addie Auctor’s mother is murdered by her father, she must confront many secrets that her family has hidden from her. The worst of these secrets is that Addie’s father, Donovan Hawthorne, is still hunting Addie because of an ancient blood feud between her mother’s family, the Auctors, and her father’s family, the House of Hawthorne. In order to be protected from the House of Hawthorne, Addie and her brother, Augustus, are sent to Initiation at an exclusive University, the Wicked Cabal.
Initiation is nothing like Addie expects. She is immediately separated from Augustus and thrown in with four complete strangers – Fallon, Maddox, Liam, and Tempe. Addie must try to forge friendships with her fellow Initiates while they solve clues, battle mystical creatures, and explore increasingly dangerous places.
Readers of all ages will love this adventure filled with suspense, treachery, and romance.
Initial thoughts: A enjoyable fantasy book with a promise of an intricate magical world, although some aspects fell flat in the first book of this trilogy. I am intrigued enough to continue reading the series!
I first wanted to say thank you to the author for sending me a review copy in exchange for an honest review. I happily accepted, intrigued by the synopsis.
The story opens with Addie, her brother Augustus and their mother all living a seemingly normal life. After a tragedy that tears Addie’s family apart, it is revealed that she is a sorceress and that she is in danger from the father she has never met, Donovan Hawthorne. Addie and Augustus are quickly thrown into an initiation for the magical school they will soon attend- the Wicked Cabal. The rest of the book focuses on the initiation, on both the challenges and the relationship the characters form for the rest of the story.
The opening of the book is actually a chapter from the past, and both set the tone and piqued my curiosity about Addie’s role in this upcoming war. It’s clear that Addie will be forced to play an important part. I really liked this opening chapter, as it gave me a bigger picture idea of what the series will be about. It also kept me asking questions throughout the book: what will Addie have to do? What powers will she have?
I enjoyed Addie as a character. She was smart, likable and very real. She is forced to deal with a lot of grief from events earlier in the book, but she has to block it out in order to complete her challenge ahead. She was very dependent on her brother in the beginning, but slowly gained confidence throughout the story.
The initiation itself was exciting to read about. It was full of different challenges and riddles that the initiates had to figure out as a team. Although Addie was separated from her brother early on, I quickly grew attached to the team- Maddox, Tempe, Fallon and Liam. It was reminiscent of a Hunger Games/Red Rising style challenge. It was full of mystical creatures, magical challenges and riddles. As we work through the story we learn more about Addie’s past and the politics of the magical world she is being thrust into.
While I did thoroughly enjoy this story, I have a few critiques. I unfortunately think the synopsis was a bit misleading. It insinuates magic and this school, the Wicked Cabal, but we don’t really see any part of this school in the book and there is almost no magic. I hope this changes in the next book! I also think too much time was focused on the initiation, it could have been wrapped up in about half the book and then the author would have had time to dive into the more interesting aspects of this world, which I am still very excited to learn about!
Overall, this book was a fun read and I do recommend it for fantasy fans. While I wish there was more in the first book, I am interested enough to continue with the series. I really appreciate the author reaching out to me for a review!