Shadowspell Academy: The Culling Trials
Breene & Mayer
Young Adult/Urban Fantasy

You Don’t Choose The Academy. The Academy Chooses You. 

I had no idea how those words would change my life. Or how they’d changed my life already… 

Until the day the most dangerous man I’ve ever met waltzed onto my farm and left us a death sentence. 

In an invitation. 

My younger brother has been chosen for the prestigious, secret magical school hidden within the folds of our mundane world. A place so dangerous, they don’t guarantee you’ll make it out alive. 

If he doesn’t go our entire family will be killed. 

It’s the same invitation my older brother received three years ago—the same place he mysteriously died. 

The academy has already killed one sibling. I’ll be damned if they take another.

I do the only thing an older sister can: chop off my hair, strap on two bras to flatten the girls, and take my brother’s place. 

Magic and monsters are real. Assassins are coming for me, and the dead are prone to rise. What’s a girl faking it as a boy supposed to do? That’s right—beat the academy at its own game. 

Or die trying.

Uncaged Review: This first book in this promising new series starts out a tad slow for me, as I’m a heavy reader into this genre. Wild is tossed into a world she never knew existed, and so we are learning about this magical world as she does – and that was part of my own issues with the story. The reader is in the dark as long as Wild is. When the Assassins come for her younger brother Billy, Wild fakes it as a boy and takes his place, because her older brother Tommy died in the academy and she won’t risk her little brother. To get into the academy, everyone must go through The Culling Trials, one for each of the five houses. This book takes you through one of them. Think of an extreme version of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire meets The Hunger Games.

I enjoyed the characters and I think this is a series that will get better and better. Wild is a strong lead, and her rag tag team that she bands with are well thought out and likeable. The action and the sequences were well done and I’m looking forward to the next book. Reviewed by Cyrene

4 Stars