Tolan, an orphaned boy with no magical future suddenly finds himself selected by accident attend the prestigious academy of magic. He leaves his home, his apprenticeship, and his one friend who will have no memory of the selection process. Alone and without the magical gifts his fellow students have, Tolan is forced to improvise and make do with what little ability he does have. Together with his new friends, Tolan discovers a connection to the elemental creatures held within the elemental bonds. None of the masters will tell him what he wants to know and he goes looking for answers himself. In his search he discovers who’s responsible for the elemental attacks taking place at the school. Will his connection to the elementals be enough to stop the Draasin Lord and keep the academy safe?
This is the second series I’ve read from D.K Holmberg and I have thoroughly enjoyed the magic systems he creates. As I’m working to improve my own writing, I’ve been looking at the books I’ve been reading with a more analytical eye. I think I’ve noticed things that before I would just rush past and not notice. In particular with this book, I felt that the author was very redundant and beat some ideas to death. The same phrases and reasons would be brought up paragraph after paragraph and throughout the chapters. In one scene when Tolan is up late at night, the author repeats the fact that no other students would be awake, and that he probably shouldn’t be up this late. It made the writing feel a little less professional. I’m going to keep an eye out in future books and other series to see if it’s consistent.
The premise of the story was great. I loved the way Tolan connected with the elementals and how that affected his abilities, it felt unique, and I was able to discover the magic along with Tolan. There were three ideas around the magic, elementals, elements, and elemental bonds. I will admit it was a little bit hard for me to really grasp the overall idea of the magic system, the basics were pretty straight forward, but how they all played into the larger scheme of the story was lost on me. I felt like things were shared that were supposed to be foreshadowing, or insight given to assist with reveals in the future, but I didn’t grasp them fully. Which is not normal for me. Usually I’m able to pick up on the intricacies of magic systems fairly quickly.
Another aspect of the story that I have mixed feelings about was the cast of characters and some of the descriptions used. The term men was applied to most of the male figures, but with them being students I envisioned them as late teenage years, so the term men threw me off. I couldn’t tell you how old they actually were. The main trio gave off a very Harry, Ron, and Hermione feel. Jonas and Ferrah, were always giving each other a hard time, but then apparently had feelings for one another. Ferrah was smarter and more advanced, but Jonas also had some good abilities thanks to his history. Tolan was the ignorant student who came with unique abilities and a knack for finding things out that he should have.
I wouldn’t say the story is a rip off of Harry Potter, but I would say it felt like there were some strong influences in this story.
Overall I would give this book a 3-4 stars. I enjoyed reading it, and I’ve already started on the second book in the trilogy. I blew through it in just a few days. If you’re looking for a quick fantasy read with a fun school based plot line I think you would enjoy this book. But I would probably not put in on my favorites list. Perhaps if the second and third books step it up a notch, but I will let you know how those go.