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Thursday, July 5, 2018

Review: Miss Mabel's School for Girls by Katie Cross

Miss Mabel's School for Girls
Pages: 316
Publisher: Antebellum Publishing
Genre: YA Fantasy
#1 in Series
Source: Purchased
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.

“Your first job in every confrontation is to establish your opponent’s weakness. Strategy starts with weak spots.” 
Miss Mabel's School for Girls could have been a real MVP among YA witch novels. All girls' magical school? Awesome, I'm with it. Main character who is strong and smart? Give it to me. No pesky insta-love to derail our MC from her objective? Fantastic!

I regret to report that Miss Mabel's School for Girls did not meet my expectations. It actually took me quite awhile to finish MMSFG. According to Goodreads, I started in on August 11, 2017 and finished it on June 8th, 2018. Almost a year. Yikes.

What I think put me off the most was how slow going the book was. This was the epitome of a "character driven" book, in that we spent so much time in Bianca's head because that's all she did--she thought about everything. She never just did things. Because of that, I felt the book lulled and never pulled me in enough. As you can see from my GR comments, it was around two-thirds of the book that I felt the plot finally started to be compelling enough to warrant me to finish it in one sitting.
"Pressure and responsibility are driving forces, but only knowledge creates power."
Honestly, I don't have much to say about MMSFG other than I wanted more from it. It's Katie Cross's first book and lately I've been making a point to not rag on debut novels so harshly because I understand that novels are tough to write and putting them out there is like putting a piece of your soul on display. So, my best constructive criticism would be to level out the world-building with the character-building. A lot of people seem to be comparing this to Harry Potter, which I didn't see at all, but one point I want to make about HP is that it was so successfully because JK Rowling struck that sweet spot between making a wonderful magical world so believable, as well as a well rounded cast of characters that we got to know very intimately. When writing fantasy and magic stories, there's so much opportunity to really go ham with the surroundings and invent things to delight us readers. I wanted to see more of that, is all.

Bianca has a tough road ahead of her, having bound herself to Miss Mabel in order to break the curse on her. I think I would be interested to see where the story goes, but I'll be honest that it's not a priority.

Miss Mabel's School for Girls is available for purchase on Kindle, as a paperback, or as an audiobook

About the Author
My world revolves around my husband (who is a major hottie), my Vizsla’s, and the mountains.

I wear hiking boots instead of heels when I need to feel powerful, and on a bad day, I love a weightlifting workout. Actually, I love it on a good day.

I don’t eat bread because my thyroid doesn’t like it, although there are days I miss it. Especially ciabatta. Sweet potatoes are kind of my thing. Cookies too.

I write because I never stopped.

Miss Mabel's School for Girls is my first novel. More to follow.
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