~ 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 Biance 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 Mabel’s sinister plan be to powerful?
It’s always a good sign when you wind up reading a book in one sitting, which is what I did with Miss Mabel’s School For Girls. This first book introduces young Bianca who has been secretly training with her father to defeat Miss Mabel. The curse has affected her beloved grandmother, and mother, and now, unless Bianca is successful in her quest, she will lose her life when she turns seventeen. So, while her fellow students are there to learn the magic that will help them find their proper place in society, Bianca is there solely to get close to Miss Mabel. Once she’s at the school, what unfolds is reminiscent of The Hunger Games and Harry Potter, but Katie Cross gives these elements a neat twist, so the similarities didn’t bother me.
Bianca is a kick-ass heroine who had me rooting for her from the very first page. While she’s focused on her mission, she also is cognizant of her friends struggles, and tries to be as supportive as she can. She also has a snarky sense of humor and some of her observations had me laughing out loud. Camille and Leda are the two steadfastly loyal best friends, and while they’re not terribly original, there’s some tidbits thrown in regarding their backstories which left me intrigued, particularly Leda’s. Hopefully their characters will be more fully developed as the series develops. Also interesting is Bianca’s father, who really doesn’t make an appearance until the end of the book, yet still is a strong presence throughout the book.
And then there’s Miss Mabel. All I can say is she is a truly nasty piece of work! If you combined Dolores Umbridge, with Voldemort, and President Snow than you might come up with this evil witch. Some of my favorite scenes were the ones with her and Bianca having a battle of wits. What I really liked though, is that just when you think you know her endgame, you discover she has more surprises in store.
Needless to say this is a fast-paced story culminating in a thrilling conclusion. The worldbuilding is phenomenal and never takes away from the action which can sometimes happen. I’m excitedly anticipating reading the other books in this series.