Thank you JeanBookNerd and Starscape for a review copy and the opportunity to be on this tour!
Brimming with Celtic mythology, action, and danger, Erika Lewis’s Kelcie Murphy and The Academy for the Unbreakable Arts introduces readers to a new kind of magical school and a warrior who must choose with which side of an epic battle her destiny will lie.
The Otherworld is at war. The Academy for the Unbreakable Arts trains warriors. And Kelcie Murphy—a foster child raised in the human world—is dying to attend.
A place at AUA means meeting Scáthach, the legendary trainer of Celtic heroes. It means learning to fight with a sword. It means harnessing her hidden powers and—most importantly—finding out who her parents are, and why they abandoned her in Boston Harbor eight years ago.
When Kelcie tests into the school, she learns that she’s a Saiga, one of the most ancient beings in the Otherworld. Secretive, shunned, and possessed of imposing elemental powers, the Saiga are also kin to the Otherworld’s most infamous traitor.
But Kelcie is a survivor, and she’ll do whatever it takes to find her parents and her place in their world. Even if that means making a few enemies.
Wow, this book was pretty good. I always love to see newer books that involved magic and school and epic battles. Kelcie, the main character, goes to girl in foster care with little memories of her past, to finding out family secrets and unleashing her hidden powers. Add in a case agent who is actually a fairy and a found found in her new school and you get a great magical adventure. Kelcie Murphy is in for an adventure of a lifetime and a battle her team has worked hard towards. The book has a great pace: it wasn’t too fast or too slow. It is definitely a good pace for the targeted demographic. I enjoyed Kelcie’s character evolution. She went from having no agency to not only gaining that through her journey but becoming more confident in her own skin and power. It was great to see Kelcie open up more from the girl we were first introduced with. She no longer stays the outcast in the academy. She instead finds amazing friends and a great leader who become her found family.
Speaking of friends, I really enjoyed how the author took different approach with certain character. Niall is the first friend of Kelcie and is loyal through and through. They connect instantly. While Brona and her relationship with Kelcie takes time to form that strong bond. It shows how real and different each friendship can be and how patience can be a key in developing those friendships. When thinking about the storyline, I particularly enjoyed the many twists and turns the story took. It allowed means a reader to keep the pages turning. The story draws on Celtic mythology and adds such a mystifying magical element to it. Kelcie has magic but the author adds on other magical elements such as Kelcie’s necklace. I am a sucker for seeing magic in different forms so it was a pleasure reading the significance that each magical element had to the overall story.
This is a great read for all ages and a story that will have older readers feel the nostalgia of the magical reads they once read.
About the Author
Erika Lewis grew up in Alexandria, Virginia, spent summers with her grandparents in Worcester, Massachusetts, and currently lives in Los Angeles, California. With a passion for storytelling set in magical places, she spends as much time as she can traveling. When she’s not writing, she can generally be found scribbling notes in a blank book while wandering through abandoned buildings, all kinds of museums, and graveyards.
A graduate of Vanderbilt University, her list of credits straddles the comics and novel space, including Game of Shadows from Macmillan’s Tor Books, Firebrand and Acursian from Legendary Comics, #Guardian from Awesome Media & Entertainment, and The 49th Key from Heavy Metal Publishing. The Color of Dragons is her debut YA, coming from HarperTeen October 19th, 2021, and Kelcie Murphy and The Academy for the Unbreakable Arts is her middle grade debut coming from Starscape/Macmillan March 1st, 2022.