This is a joint review for book 5 (Advanced Combat Magic) and book 6 (Politics of Magic) of the Ember Academy for Young Witches series. I really recommend reading these two final books as one, as book 5 flows very organically into book 6, and they’re quite short, a hundred pages each. There’s also a short story (like an epilogue to the series) available for free after you’ve read book 6.
I had been looking forward to this, the end of the beginning of Amelia’s journey after she discovered magic and how powerful she is. Amelia has that cursed teen aura more than ever. And I get it, who wouldn’t be moody and depressed when everything around them is crumbling? And you’re supposed to be so powerful but you can’t help feeling like you’re letting everyone down? Lucky for Amelia, she’s surrounded by brave and strong people, and help will come from unexpected places.
I really enjoyed this series. I loved watching Amelia grow into her powers. The whole series takes places in a relatively short time and a lot happens in that period as Amelia’s magic threatens many terrifyingly malicious and corrupted people. So not only is Amelia coming to terms with who she is – not just a human girl with ADHD –, she’s also learning to trust, to ask for help, to love. Her relationship with Willow, her half-Witch half-Elf girlfriend, gets more serious, as do her feelings for Natalie, her half-Witch half-Vampire roommate.
I wrote in my review for Advanced Healing Spells, aka book 3, that this series is like an all-girl Harry Potter on speed and I stand by that statement (minus the transphobic remarks by the author). It’s full of adrenaline, teenage angst, diversity in all its forms: there are all kinds of species, witches with disabilities, neurodivergent students, all sorts of romantic and sexual orientations are represented… And it never feels like a catalogue. What it does, however, is make me want to read the other books in this universe. I’m very curious about Freya, Amelia’s sister, Queen of the Underworld, so I guess those fifteen books are coming to my TBR list…