Title: Magic Academy
Author: Jillian Keep
Genre: Romance, Erotica, Fantasy, New Adult
Rating: 2/4 Stars (I’ll explain the dual rating)
Out of a young woman’s ambition comes a love triangle that could destroy more than her heart.
Firia has always wanted to be a witch, but even though she’s a natural in magic, there’s a problem: She’s human.
Considered by the elven elite to be inferior, Firia needs an edge to be accepted into the Magic Academy. Out of sheer desperation, she summons the demon Varuj, a terrifyingly gorgeous spirit who helps her win the entrance competition. But at what price?
As the commanding demon does everything he can to penetrate every aspect of her innocent life, Firia still finds herself drawn to her study partner, Mae’lin. Not only is the sweet elf completely different from the powerful Varuj, but their relationship is forbidden.
How is she supposed to choose between the demon she owes her life to and the innocent elf who makes her a better person?
WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW
I almost threw this book out. I have such mixed and passionate feelings about Magic Academy, that it’s almost overwhelming for me to even figure out where to start this review. Going into the book I was wildly unimpressed. To be quite honest, the narrative was horrifically in need of a good editor. In just the first chapter alone I spotted countless incomplete sentences, grammar problems, and a total lack of knowledge of the basic use of punctuation. Exclamation marks were thrown around like glitter. It was painful.
Not only was the technical part of the writing appalling, but the main character, Firia, seemed like your typical over-dramatic, poorly written, teen heroine. She spent the first chapter doing things I believe anyone would consider greedy, power-hungry, evil, and possibly insane. She summoned a demon for the sole purpose of getting ahead and plotting revenge against elves. There was nothing redeeming about this woman… and yet she claimed to be a good-hearted girl, and it almost felt as if the author was trying to force me to believe that she was an innocent despite logic and proof to the contrary. I don’t believe it for a second. By the end of that first chapter I hated her, and subsequently the author, because I felt like I was getting duped by a used car salesman. I knew everything the narrative was telling me was an outright lie, and it felt skeazy.
The only redeeming quality at that point was Varuj, the demon, who for some reason, I felt was charming (despite being wholly evil and let’s face it.. disgustingly lewd when she first meets him). For reasons unknown, I liked him… and if that doesn’t make me question myself as a person… the rest of the book certainly did.
Despite my initial misgivings (I was certain I was going to label this a 2-star read at that point), and already formulating what I was going to see in a review about this book, I pushed on. Heaven knows why. It may have had something to do with Varuj. Anyways, as the story went on I was actually engrossed into the story. The plot was actually good, and despite the technical aspect of the writing (which I quickly forced myself to quit noticing in order to preserve my sanity), I wanted to continue on with my reading. Don’t get me wrong, there were more than a few times I almost shoved the book away because the scenes were so…. tense that I almost couldn’t stand it, but I didn’t again want to throw the book at a wall due to the writing itself.
As it turns out, I continued to hate Firia for the rest of the book. Although her character seemed to settle in after the first few chapters, and started to resemble a real human being, I found that she still constantly made stupid decisions, and most of the time I was yelling at her and shaking my fist. The other characters were… okay…. though I wasn’t a huge fan of any of them—but Varuj was definitely my favorite. Now here’s why that’s controversial:
Varuj is Evil with a capital E. Let’s make no qualms about that. SPOILERS: he steals Firia’s father’s soul. He seduces Firia, despite her virgin and hesitant status with him. He later RAPES, yes, rapes, her best friend, and sabotages the one decent character in this story (Mae’lin… you poor besotted fool). He spends the entire story manipulating people, seducing people, and outright harming people… and despite that… he’s still my favorite character! END OF SPOILERS I honestly can’t explain it. In any other story I would have been disgusted by a character like Varuj, and instead, I was cheering him on, despite the horrific things he does. Maybe that’s a testament to the author’s writing skill… that the author was able to create so convincing a demonic character that I, like Firia, was seduced by his charm. It’s terrifying when I think about it…. but hey, Firia? If you don’t want him, please, send him my way. Thanks.
I have to put in a bit of a warning though (especially if you skipped the spoilers). This book isn’t for the meek of heart. Though it’s labeled as a new adult romance, I’d feel safer labeling it an adult erotica. The sex scenes (of which there are many) are explicit, and sometimes a bit overblown. I’m sad to say that the author had an obvious thesaurus sitting close at hand because I lost track of the number of names used to describe the character’s anatomy. It was certainly steamy though. Unfortunately, along with that steamy, there is a side of rape.
Towards the later half of the book, Varuj (in my opinion) acts out some repressed aggression on Firia’s best friend… and it isn’t exactly pretty. You’ve been warned. I think the author tried to soften it as much as they could by using seductive magic on the girl to make her seem to at least partly enjoy herself… but that doesn’t detract from the fact that a demon used magic to force a woman to have very rough sex with him. I’m sorry Varuj, you know I love you, but I honestly hated you for about 8 minutes during that chapter. Forgive me.
Would I recommend this to other readers, and would I read it again? Yes… though I now question my own moral compass due to this book. In the end, it was entertaining, and I did enjoy it. However, I would like to highly recommend that the author invest in a better editor. If you’re easily annoyed by the technical side of writing.. I’d suggest skipping this one. If you enjoy super-steamy fantasy romance or erotica… this may right up your alley… just be forewarned that it’s not for the faint of heart.