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Miss Mabel's School for Girls (The Network…
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Miss Mabel's School for Girls (The Network Series) (Volume 1)

by Katie Cross

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4/5 stars
You can find all my reviews here
*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author for an honest review.*
 
Nothing is ever what it seems.
 
I quite enjoyed Miss Mabel’s School for Girls. After reading the synopsis I was torn, on one hand I thought it sounded very similar to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, but on the other I didn’t care because I loved Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. This book was far from what I expected in the best way. Filled with wonderful characters that were strong, smart, witty, and sometimes sarcastic; I found them mostly lovable. An interesting concept throughout the books with the witches’ strongest talents being displayed on their wrist for the world to see. Katie Cross has used the first story to lay the groundwork for an interesting series. And though many stories that are introducing a new world can be tedious and boring she found a way to make it fun, and dare I say, magical. ( )
  MarandaNicole | Jul 15, 2015 |
Give me a moment to compose myself here because this book was totally not what I was expecting. And it's not that I wasn't expecting it to be good...I just didn't really know what to expect.

First off, I never read fantasy. The only fantasy I've ever really read is Chronicles of Narnia, and even then it was just a couple of the books, not the whole series. I've never read Harry Potter, I've never read Lord of the Rings (*dodges flying tomatoes*). But I decided to pick this book up for a couple of reasons: I wanted to support a fellow indie author, and it had a lot of really great reviews, many of which began with something along the lines of "I never read fantasy, but..." So I thought, Hey, why not?

To start with, the worldbuilding is very well-done. We're introduced to this land all the characters live in very gradually, and many of the details are introduced via dialogue so there's not a lot of droning exposition. I applaud Ms. Cross for coming up with such interesting names for all the locations, characters, herbs, books, types of magic, etc. - I never put much thought into names until I started writing seriously myself, so now I recognize hard work when I see it! All the environments, both inside and outside the school, were so well-described that I felt like I was right there with the characters.

I loved Bianca's character. When the book first started, I let out a sigh and was planning on being disappointed because it seemed like she was going to be just another one of those typical tomboy-ish characters who ends up having to go to an all girls' school and doesn't fit in at all. Sure, some of those elements were still there, but she ended up being a lot more than that too. She's a little bit of an anti-hero and sort of has her own agenda for everything, and I've always adored characters like that. And so sassy! I chuckled audibly several times while reading.

I'm still not sure if fantasy, witches, and magic are really my cup of tea, but I know good writing when I see it. It became a classic story of good vs. evil, and many of the exchanges between Bianca and Miss Mabel reminded me of Luke Skywalker and Emperor Palpatine in Star Wars. And really, there were a lot of almost thriller-type elements (spies, murder plots, etc.) that reminded me of the books I usually like to read; they just happened to be set in a fantasy world. And of course we're left with a little bit of a cliffhanger at the end - I'm excited to find out how everything plays out.

So that's my two cents. Not sure when I'll have a chance to read Book 2 but I'm looking forward to it. ( )
  EJFisch | Feb 28, 2015 |
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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.

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