Book Review: Last Stand by Rachel E. Carter (4/5)

33832888He’s the Black Mage and she’s the traitor to the Crown.

Ryiah’s world was shattered the night she discovered King Blayne’s nefarious plans. Now, she has to betray the one she loves most in order to save the realm from war. Torn between love and duty, Ry finds herself on a perilous mission to help the rebels and convince the kingdom of Pythus not to honor its pact with the corrupt king of Jerar—all the while deceiving the most powerful mage in the realm, the very man sworn to protect the Crown and hunt the rebels at all costs: her husband.

She’s one step ahead, but sooner or later the curtain will fall.

Sooner or later, she’ll have to fight.

In this final book in the Black Mage Series, Ryiah must choose between the rebels and her lover/husband, Darren. After three books of kind-of hints that the rebels aren’t just rebels playing in the sand and causing problems, we get the truth. They are trying to unseat the king who clearly isn’t a good king. We the reader have been given as much info through Ryiah’s interactions with them.

This book reads so much faster than the others, because we’re not trudging our way through school and teen drama with Ryiah anymore. We’re caught between two impossible choices. This book was the best in the series. Ryiah’s actions and decisions came with real consequences for herself and everyone around her.

I give Last Stand a 4 out of 5 because it was highly readable and enjoyable. It had the same problems as the other books: poor side character development, miscommunication as a plot device, and I ended up skipping over the long action scenes.

Overall, I give The Black Mage series a 4 out of 5. 

The world-building was lacking, the side characters were flat, and like I mentioned above, it had some long fight scenes that I skimmed through. (They weren’t poorly written, I’m just not big fight scene kind of reader.)

This series was not bad. It did a lot of the typical YA Fantasy things, like the minimal world building and flat side characters that fit neatly into stereotypes. It also twisted – Derrick’s apparent betrayal hurt. Ryiah’s reaction to it felt genuine. I could feel the heartbreak. Blyane’s development into the villainous king was great. His death was lackluster, but it is what it is.

I did not, however, enjoy the sequence of events in the final book where the slightly more fleshed out side characters were slaughtered as a means to further the drama. LIKE THE DOG. I was so mad. My one rule of books is to not kill the dog.

I enjoyed this series, but had I not bought the boxed set, I likely would not have made it to the second book. It had too much stereotypical YA Fantasy going on. This series is worth a look for anyone that loves the genre, but not anyone who is tired of the same old YA Fantasy thing.

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