Title: Miss Mabel’s School for Girls
Author: Katie Cross
Publisher: Antebellum Publishing
Goodreads Synopsis: Never underestimate the power of a determined witch.
Letum Wood is a forest of fog and deadfall, home to the quietly famous Miss Mabel’s School for Girls, a place where young witches learn the art of magic.
Sixteen-year-old Bianca Monroe has inherited a deadly curse. Determined to break free before it kills her, she enrolls in the respected school to confront the cunning witch who cast the curse: Miss Mabel.
Bianca finds herself faced with dark magic she didn’t expect, with lessons more dangerous than she could have ever imagined. Will Bianca have the courage to save herself from the curse, or will Miss Mabel’s sinister plan be too powerful?
Miss Mabel’s School for Girls is the first novel in The Network Series, an exciting new fantasy collection. A gripping tale about the struggle to survive, it will take you to a new place and time, one you’ll never want to leave.
I think I would have really liked this book, had I been 10 years younger and had never read or even heard of Harry Potter. It has all the elements of an intriguing fantasy book: witches, magical boarding school, a confident and determined protagonist, a purely evil villain, strong female characters, and an exciting plot. The best part? No love interest! How could I be disappointed? Fasten your seat belts, ladies and gents. We just boarded the critical train.
Bianca Monroe is a fifteen-year-old witch who has just recently enrolled into Miss Mabel’s School for Girls in order to win the competition and become the Assistant to Miss Mabel, so that she can reverse the curse put upon her family and save her own life. Sound vaguely familiar? Bianca has been trained since birth in her magical abilities in order to defeat Miss Mabel, casting spells and hexes beyond the reach of her age. Yet, she’s still completely likable and human. While it was refreshing to have a protagonist that knew what she was doing, it felt too convenient. She already knew everything she needed to know to accomplish her end goal, but simply refused to do it.
The Competition reminded me heavily of the Triwizard Tournament. However, the challenges lacked tension and seemed too easy. There isn’t any suspense because we already know who is going to win. I think the story would have been better if Bianca had lost, and had to try to figure out another way to reach her end goal.
The word progression and overall story line is very well done, and I loved that there weren’t any information dumps. Not everything about Bianca’s motivations, character, or even the witchy world in which our characters reside are given away all at once. Everything is unraveled naturally as the dialogue and action progresses, rather than giving it away in the first few chapters.
This book has the ability to transcend the masses, being clean enough for middle grade readers, but dark and angsty enough for tweens and teens. Being 24, I felt it was a bit too young for me, but I still enjoyed reading it. If I had read this when I was 14, I would have given it at least 4 stars.
P.S. This book was free on Amazon Kindle!