At sixteen when your magic is evaluated you are either given an invitation into an elite school for training or scheduled for a procedure that will take away your magic. One other option is for you to declare yourself for the Exam a mysterious last chance to be declared Champion winning yourself eligibility into that elite school. Finn comes from a high ranking magical family and is a shoe-in to the Academy, yet he lacks the magical talent to win entrance on his own. Rocio comes from a lower class family whose parents had their magic nulled. Her magical gifts are extraordinary yet she is denied entrance into the Academy when a spot should have been hers. When they each declare for the Exam they meet for the first time finding a friendship that will surpass all class levels.
Ruthless Magic is part Lord of the Flies or Hunger Games with magical realism elements a la Harry Potter. When these teens show up at the Exam they realize that it’s more survival of the fittest that tests their talents. Finn who declared for the exam to give the finger to the Confederation of Mages for being biased against lower level families, pretty quickly realizes that he may have made a big mistake. His talent lies in evaluating circumstances, sweet talking, and charm more than actual magical skill. His character is so easy to like, always finding humor in a difficult situation. He is put into the same group as Rocio and is immediately taken with her talent and personality right from the start. Rocio is a little less willing to trust but Finn is the person she starts to lean on as their situation becomes more dire.
There are very few rules in these exams and some of the kids are more willing to eliminate each other than trust their magic will win them a place in the school at the end of the four days. Ruthless Magic’s theme about bigotry and social classes is told very effectively even though they are classed by their level of magic ability. Even though set in the human world, mages came out to the Nulls or humans (think muggles from HP) in order to help them through extreme times of terrorism or war. The novel has a great message about the balance of good vs evil and tells it in a magical way that was original and interesting.
The cliques in this group of “contestants” for lack of a better word were pretty typical of a high school age group. You have the athletic bully, the pretty boy charmer, the quiet shy girl, and the do-gooder, but the way in which Megan Crewe uses these stereotypes to shine a light on difficult subjects was poignant and engaging. I really liked this book, the characters, and it’s message! It was my first novel by Megan Crewe but it won’t be my last! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️
I was given a copy of this novel through NetGalley for my honest review and it was honest!
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Copyright Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved
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