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.
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.
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.