Book Review :- Chronicles of a Spell Caster: Book One – Orientation by J.J. Singleton

I was provided with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
About the Book:
The book focuses on the main character, Jet, who is entering his freshman year of college. In this world, every human has abilities that are better known as powers. Jet is different; he is the last pure Caster, someone who can use magic. Schools and colleges use the most advanced technology of this world, the AITS, to train the students, have sparring matches, and assign missions. Missions are a massive part of the curriculum, and the completion of these missions gives each student points that go toward their term grade.
Colleges and universities use this technology and have the students enter the AITS virtual reality during their second semester. With time working differently in the virtual reality, the students do a full year during the second semester. With the AITS the students refer to the time in the virtual reality as the game, and when they enter the virtual reality, they are in there to fend for themselves.

On the campus of Welwerth University, sports teams and clubs are highly regarded and some clubs shine brighter within the virtual reality. For the students that are not part of a club or sports team, it is hard to get missions done within the virtual reality in order to secure a good grade at the end of the year. To level the playing field, Jet and friends decide to establish a new club, one that would welcome all and give the rest of the student body a place to come together. This new club is called the Sanctuary. But even as everything seems to fall into place, it will all unravel with secrets, underhand deals, backstabbing, and a threat that no one saw coming. To survive, everyone will have to rally together to defeat the adversity.

My Thoughts:

In this first book of Chronicles of a Spell Caster, the author chronicles the journey of the main character Jet as he navigates his way through Welwerth University, a place where humans with powers come to learn. Jet is unique in that he is the last pure Caster, someone who can use magic directly. This sets him apart from the rest and of course defines his friends and foes.

The concept of the university is interesting in that the students are divided into sports teams and or clubs. Virtual reality is used to help train them and this concept was something that I enjoyed reading about. The author gives us a lot of interesting detail and some history as the story progresses. Even though the story is told in first person, with Jet as the narrator, we come to know many things about the AITS and the University.

As the students go through the daily classes and experiences, we are introduced to various characters each with their own agenda, strengths and weaknesses. Some become reader favourites and some, well they exist in the story for a reason. It took me some time to get into the book as the writing was not easy to get into. I was not able to relate to Jet easily as he seemed to know everything and he seemed to always win. This was until a point where we are shown fractures in the perfect facades of the characters and then their struggles become more relatable.

Overall, I found the idea of the plot to be interesting and the use of virtual reality as a training tool was unique and well incorporated. The story is worth a read for those who are fans of magic and adventure.

Book Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

About the Book:

Fangirl

Cath and Wren are identical twins, and until recently they did absolutely everything together. Now they’re off to university and Wren’s decided she doesn’t want to be one half of a pair anymore – she wants to dance, meet boys, go to parties and let loose. It’s not so easy for Cath. She’s horribly shy and has always buried herself in the fan fiction she writes, where she always knows exactly what to say and can write a romance far more intense than anything she’s experienced in real life.

Without Wren Cath is completely on her own and totally outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

Now Cath has to decide whether she’s ready to open her heart to new people and new experiences, and she’s learning that there’s more to learn about love than she ever thought possible.

My Thoughts:

A well-written coming of age novel, Fangirl follows Cath’s journey as she navigates the world of university and discovers her identity separate from that of her twin. Lost completely in a fictional fantasy world, Cath spends most of her time writing fan-fiction revolving around the fictional characters of Simon Snow and his arch enemy Baz. Having grown up as a twin, Cath is more dependent on Wren, seemingly always in her shadow. The abandonment she feels when her mother leaves them, pushes her towards becoming more of an introvert.

This story not only brings out the contrast between the two girls, but it shows us that the world has a lot to offer if we only let it. Cath learns to find her way, forming a weird bond with her roommate, finding love and facing betrayal from a classmate. Dealing with all this makes her stronger and she learns to open up more. We are shown how the girls are quite similar yet different and the reader will come to love all the characters.

The characters are relatable and quite real, making it easy for the reader to understand them. The emotions are real and the events in the story are such that they could easily happen to any of us. On the whole this story is about getting out of one’s comfort zone and learning to live. Even though the focus is on Cath, we get a glimpse into who her twin is, how their father is coping with life and how they deal with college and growing up.

A wonderful book in the YA genre, Fangirl is worth picking up and giving in to.