One determined witch and one powerful curse fuel the magic in Katie Cross’ Miss Mabel’s School for Girls 

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One determined witch and one powerful curse fuel the magic in Katie Cross’ Miss Mabel’s School for Girls 

Miss Mabel’s School for Girls reminded me a little of Libba Bray’s Gemma Doyle books, not because they had similar plots but because they shared similar elements: boarding school, family secrets, dark and forbidden magic, and of course, a group of girls vying for power.  It was also reminiscent of the Harry Potter books with its ever mysterious faculty,  its coming of age storyline, and its trio of supportive misfit friends.  I was a little underwhelmed, but fans of this sub genre of YA should give it a try.

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Goodreads Summary

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.

My Thoughts

Magic is dangerous in this book, and the delights are few.  Bianca is a strong female protagonist.  She is smart, kind, and careful, but she does have enough doubts about her path to make her feel like a character with dimension and depth. Her adversary is certainly worthy of the title and probably unhinged, but other secondary characters are primarily flat.  The plot moves quickly and is engaging, but initial trials and challenges come across as too easy and less deadly than all the warnings and build up lead me to expect.  Nothing really feels threatening until the very end of the book.  There is a very tense action sequence at the climax, which hints of good things to come in follow up books.  Essentially, it waffles between a middle school read and a high school read for the first half before really reaching the complexity level to satisfy most discerning readers.  I would certainly be interested in continuing the series, but I wasn’t convinced of that until nearly the end.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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About queenbook

When the final bell rings, I stash those messy piles of essays and analysis assignments in a desk drawer and I head home to a pile of good books. My kids and dog eat too many chicken nuggets and the house could be neater, but as long as I get my daily read, I guess we are doing all right. When I was twelve and fifteen and eighteen and twenty, I believed I needed to get out there and do those things I had just been reading about, which ended in disaster, tears, a tattoo that scares me every time I catch a glimpse of it in the mirror, and the realization that some of us are meant for action, and some of us are meant to critique the pace of action in a book. I read primarily YA fiction as I have a rather hulking classroom library and a hundred high school readers to engage daily. Nothing makes me happier than coming to school and finding an impatient teenager waiting by my door to turn in a book and get another one just like it. I adore a good zombie, a medieval princess, or girl assassin (I would like them all in one book if you are a writer looking for some inspiration). I add historical mystery to my wish list a year in advance, and you should get out of my way when the next Outlander book comes out. I have an embarrassing fondness for rock star books, but only if they don’t get too trashy and embarrass me. My favorite book of all time is The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery. My book boyfriends include Gilbert Blythe, Alonzo Wilder, and Jamie Fraser. They are mine and you can’t have them.

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