Review Rating: 5 Stars
Lady Alyx Egalion enjoys life as the daughter one of the leading nobles of Rionn and best friend of Prince Cayr. At sixteen years of age, Alyx thinks she is about to become betrothed to Cayr, but life has different plans for her in DarkSkull Hall: Book 1 of The Mage Chronicles by Lisa Cassidy. In spite of years of peace, there is an uneasiness brewing in neighboring lands and it is decided to send Alyx and two teens from town to DarkSkull Hall to study as mages. Knowing nothing about her background and not wanting to leave home, Alyx has a hard time adjusting to the demands of this new undertaking where danger lurks everywhere. At least Alyx has the support of Dawn and Finn, the twins from her home town, as well as a few other students who don't seem to fit in with the main group of mage initiates. There is also a brooding stranger who seems to look out for Alyx, but there are more students from other nations who actively dislike her. When the school is attacked, Alyx is among those who turn away the threat, but she still wants nothing more than to return home to the life she used to know and enjoy. Will her life ever be the same, though, after her experiences at DarkSkull Hall?
Fantasy at its finest is what you will find in DarkSkull Hall: Book 1 of The Mage Chronicles by Lisa Cassidy. With a female lead character who comes into her own and finds her strength, it is a great example for girls. Action, emotion, intrigue and adventure are all well balanced and you come to feel the depth of each character's struggles as the plot unfolds. The prologue is a bit hard to follow, but once the book starts, you can't put it down and it is well worth reading. I look forward to volume 2 to see what Alyx decides to do next.