Cover Image: It Ends in Fire

It Ends in Fire

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Member Reviews

Look, I get that everyone wants to copy the success of a particular series about a magical school. The problem is that It Ends in Fire compounds the unoriginality of its premise with an unlikeable protagonist and an attempt to be "edgy" by shoving violence down the reader's throat. I couldn't finish this book even though I was giving a review.
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I have started this book about 4 times and I just cannot get into it. I have spent close to 5 hours reading it and I am only 130 pages in.  Even after jumping ahead the book does not interest me. The premise sounded interesting and the cover drew me in but the writing was just not doing it for me. It feels very dull and the narrator is boring. There was nothing to draw me in or connect ms to the main character. I would say this was a decent idea poorly executed.
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James Patterson Presents novels never cease to amaze me! It Ends in Fire by Andrew Shvarts is an extraordinary fantasy ya novel that follows the act of magic and murder! The best fantasy thriller! I adore dark academia so I was thrilled to find out that this book checks off all the things that I look for in novels! 

The plot and character development that Shvarts created is outstanding! Chock full of twists and turns! You will be hanging on the edge of your seat until the very end!! 

If your a fan of Harry Potter or A Deadly Education I would definitely check this one out!
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𝙄𝙩 𝙀𝙣𝙙𝙨 𝙞𝙣 𝙁𝙞𝙧𝙚 is about a girl who undercover and has three missions at school of magic.
"I want you more than I've ever wanted anything.”—Chapter 46
It Ends in Fire such an exciting book that I just found. It is full pack with action and I have to stop reading sometimes just to take a breath. I'm sold to this standalone* book. 🤩
I enjoy the writing style. I like the idea of story even though at some part it is similar to the other magic school story but in the dark way. The world building amaze me so much. Love the unique magic system in it.
The main character, Alka, written as a badass girl and not perfect. I can feel all her feelings in her journey to get revenge. I like how she and her sister complete each other.
This book written in dual timeline, flashback and present time that interrelated. So, we can know why it is happening.
Overall, I like and enjoy Alka's story despite my ship sunk. 😭
If you're looking forward the story about magic school, game, LGBTQ+ romance , you can try read 𝙄𝙩 𝙀𝙣𝙙𝙨 𝙞𝙣 𝙁𝙞𝙧𝙚. 😉
I gave 4.5⭐ for this book.
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Disclaimer: I received a finished copy of this book and an e-arc copy. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: It Ends in Fire

Author: Andrew Shvarts

Book Series: Standalone for now

Diversity: Sapphic romance, Bisexual MC 

Rating: 5/5

Recommended For...: Young adult readers, fantasy readers, epic fantasy, magic, sapphic romance

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publication Date: July 6, 2021

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson Presents

Pages: 384

Recommended Age: 16+ (Gore, Violence, Language, Death, Parental death, Alcohol consumption, Genocide mention, Bigotry, Slavery, Romance, Sexual content)

Explanation of CWs: Lots of gore and violence in this book. Language is sporadic, but still cursing throughout the novel. Alcohol consumption by minors and at one instance the MC describes her first drink at 13. Genocide and bigotry play a role in this book, with Marovian people almost entirely eradicating Izachi people and with the haterd Marovian people have against Humbles people and Izachi people. Slavery is also present in the novel, with non magical humans (no mention of color) being forced into servitude from birth. There is also one sex scene in the book.

1. Infiltrate Blackwater Academy 
2. Win the Great Game 
3. Burn Wizard society to the ground 

As a child, Alka witnessed her parents' brutal murder at the hands of Wizards before she was taken in by an underground rebel group. 

Now, Alka is deep undercover at the most prestigious school of magic in the Republic: Blackwater Academy, a place where status is everything, where decadent galas end in blood-splattered duels, where every student has their own agenda. To survive, Alka will have to lie, cheat, kill, and use every trick in her spy's toolkit. And for the first time in her life, the fiercely independent Alka will have to make friends in order to recruit the misfits and the outcasts into her motley rebellion. 

But even as she draws closer to victory — to vengeance — she sinks deeper into danger as suspicious professors and murderous rivals seek the traitor in their midst, and dark revelations unravel her resolve. Can Alka destroy the twisted game...without becoming a part of it?

Review: I really liked this read! It was fun and electric and it hooked me from the first sentence. The book did well to have a fun magical storyline that was fairly unique in structure and the character development was amazingly well done. I also loved the world building, albeit a little confusing, and the pacing was well done.

However, there were some bits that I had issues with. First of all, this book is very much like a certain TERF's signature magical series. If that's triggering or upsetting to you then you might not want to read it. However, I did like that it was a murderous version of that other series, so maybe you'll like it too. There is also an error in book in Chapter 29. The author put a character (Talyn) in the House of Zartan when he's always in the House if Javellos otherwise in the book. It's a glaring issue, but quickly done away with after that.

Verdict: It's really good!
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This is a fantastic, dark, gritty YA fantasy that is not afraid to<em> go there.

Set a magical school, this magical story is full of deadly games, political intrigue, deceit, and rebellion. This follows a teenage girl who infiltrates a prestigious magic school in hopes of leading the rebellion and going where no other rebel as gone - directly into the heart of the wizard elite. 

I loved the tenacity and ruthlessness of the heroine. She is willing to do whatever it takes to win (and I mean anything). She was a ton of fun to follow as a main character!

And the boarding school setting was everything I wanted and more. I loved the atmosphere and deadly challenges. This is exactly what I'm looking for when a book claims a magical school setting. It felt familiar but still had its own twist and dark, ominous vibe.

But my favorite aspect of this book was how far it went. Often times, I feel like the stakes don't feel real or high enough - but that is NOT the case with this book. It's dark and brutal and you definitely get to witness the casualties of magic and war in here.

Despite all of that, there were a couple of this that kept this from being a new favorite. 

First - this is a very plot driven story. Which makes for a super engaging and fast read. But I missed the time spent learning the characters, leaving me feel a sense of detachment from them. While I liked them all, I didn't every really <em>care</em> about what happened to them.

And second - I didn't 100% love the then/now formatting. In between present day chapters, are glimpses back at Alka's past. These aren't in chronological order, but are instead interspersed as they are relevant to what is happening in the present. But they just took me out of the story. I didn't care too much about what happened in these sections and was just itching to get back to what was happening at the school.

Overall, this is a really fun YA fantasy that I think a lot of readers will read and enjoy. It's fast paced, deadly, and addictively readable. If you want a new magical school setting to get lost in, definitely check this standalone fantasy out!

This review is live now on my blog and Instagram!
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It Ends In Fire is a story about Alka a teenage girl who goes undercover at an elite school of Wizards to bring the corrupt system down. Alkas path of vengeance starts at the age of 7 when she looses her parents to a group of Wizards and is taken in by a band of rebels.   Once at the school she finds that life is not black and white and her mission is harder than she thought.  I enjoyed the magic and world building but I just couldn't connect with the story. It definitely hits on all the lets try and cram as much diversity as possible into a book with a bi MC, a non binary character, and multicultural characters. I did enjoy the dual POV's from past(then) Alka to present (now) Alka as it brought more authenticity to who Alka is and how it formed her into what she is during the story.
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This book was so good!! I am honestly hoping that they continue it into a series because I really love this world and the characters! 

The magic system was so cool and unique. I really enjoyed learning about it. The whole “null” thing was very interesting.
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Characters – 6/10
This book has some strong points and some low points. I’m going to try to cover them all the best I can. One of the issues I had with the book was the characters. Alka is amazing, but she’s not really the brains behind the whole operation. She’s supposed to be smart and cunning, but I just didn’t see it.

I also couldn’t really connect with the other characters through her. I didn’t feel much for either of the love interests (no triangle thank goodness) or her friends. That’s maybe because Alka was pretending to be someone else and she couldn’t fully connect with those characters.

In the end, I found myself not caring about them for most of the book.

Atmosphere – 7/10
The worldbuilding in this book was amazing. It makes me wish it was a bit longer so we could explore the politics more. The entire world and hierarchy of the wizards were so well thought out. It just goes to show that there are so many levels in society and that nothing is ever just black or white.

Writing – 6/10
The writing was good overall, but I had some issues here and there. There were way too many flashback scenes that broke the flow of the story a bit. There was also a lot of telling and not enough showing. It’s not bad, but just not something I’m used to.

Plot – 7/10
It’s a pretty basic revenge plot but I was here for it. I was rooting for Alka, even though she wanted to kill everyone. I have a thing for the morally grey/bad guys.

Intrigue – 7/10
The conflict in this book is mainly between Alka and the “system”. Wizards are truly horrible and they’d do anything to stay on top. Is it a bit convoluted that a game at a wizarding school could cause so much damage? Maybe. Do I wish this was new adult instead of YA? Maybe. But overall, I’m happy.

Logic – 9/10
The magic system is amazing. Like seriously. It’s so inventive and well thought out. It’s one of the most unique magic systems I’ve ever read. You should read this book, even if it’s just for the magic system. I wish we could have more of it.

Enjoyment – 6/10
Overall I did enjoy this book, and I recommend it to lovers of YA fantasy and evil wizards!
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I was very confidant that I was going to love this book before I even picked it up. A school for magic?? Immediately hooked. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and the direction that Shvarts decided to take it. The setting at Blackwater Academy was well written and for sure gave me slight dark academia vibes. It was very interesting to see the student’s go through their lessons and interact with our MC, Alka. The magic system was very well done and I felt that I had a handle on how the magic system worked within the first 100 pages, which is crucial for me when reading a fantasy novel.

Alka is also a very real and authentic character for me. Her emotions and decisions she makes throughout her journey are very realistic and she reminds me a lot of myself in terms of her determination and headstrongness. I definitely would love to see more of her, but as this is a standalone I will have to say goodbye ;( .

There was also a great transition to the story-telling. The flip flop between past and present allowed for a nice flow of information without overwhelming me with details about the world and the magic system. The plot had a very nice pace to it as well and you could easily read this book in one sitting. I really didn’t want this story to end. I for sure recommend this book to anyone who likes magic with a little academia sprinkled in.
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4.5 stars rounded up to 5
It Ends in Fire was just an awesome read. There's no other way to describe it. Alka Chelrazi goes undercover to the elite Wizarding school, Blackwater Academy with a singular mission: infiltration, win the great game, and then burn it to the ground in revenge for the deaths of her family. Alka must draw upon all the magic and cunning she has just to survive this cut-throat world filled with unpredictable magic, ambitious students who will stop at nothing to maintain their social status, bloody duels and elegant galas. Alka must go up against the oppressive elites of her society, but survival at this wizarding school may just cost her everything, including those she cares for most. I had a lot of fun cheering Alka on as she goes on her quest of rebellion and vengeance. The social inequities of the world of the Republic were infuriating and seeing Alka fight for what was right and kicking butt and taking names was thrilling. You can't help but root for her and her little band of misfits as they take on the power players of their school and society. Alka's righteous fury is a driving force behind this action-filled plot. I really liked the world of Blackwater and the dark academia feel of this book. Shvarts does a great job with pacing and spinning twists on the reader that they do not see coming. At least I didn't. I was thoroughly hooked on this book from beginning to end with its brutal stakes, wonderful characters and interesting magic system. It Ends In Fire is a heart-pounding roller coaster of a book, a wizarding school for modern readers filled with intrigue, danger and romance, one where one girl takes on a system and turns it upside down.
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This was a wonderful fantasy book. It has a solid storyline and well thought out characters that you grow to love and some you are certainly meant to hate. I loved how the author mixed some past (then) and present (now) chapters and how the past helped our main character understand what was happening in the present. The brewing rebellion and the plot twists kept me on the edge of my seat. I absolutely loved the magic system and the possibilties it had, I just wish that it was explained a bit better, or that there was a glossary of the different "spells", instead of just reading a description of how they were done.

Overall, I had a fantastic time reading it. It was definitely hard to put down. I loved the darkness, gritty, revenge-filled, magic of this story. Sad that it's a standalone though, cause I feel like there could be more to the story from the ending.
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This revenge filled story of an imposter at a magical school was highly entertaining. I loved the magic system, Blackwater academy, and our heroine. Alka was fierce and a fighter. My only issue was that the story felt rushed. I think that this book could of been made into a duology so that parts of it could have been fleshed out more. Honestly this book reminded me of the Triwizard tournament and A Deadly Education, it was great.
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I saw someone else refer to this book with the description "...If Harry Potter were a girl and wanted to burn Hogwart's down...."  I chuckled when I read it because, in my opinion, it was pretty spot on.  For me, that's a good thing.

It Ends In Fire follows the main character, Alka Chelrazi as she infiltrates Blackwater Academy.  It's an invitation-only school for wizards.  Alka intends to work her way into the school and destroy it from within.  She blames wizards for the death of her parents and several others that she loves.  She is part of a group of resistance fighters and the only thing she has left is her thirst for vengeance.  

Of course, along the way, she becomes attached to some of the other young wizards and realizes that they aren't all heartless killers.  Still, she proceeds with her plan, albeit with some modifications here and there.  But when it comes time to "burn it all down," will she still want to?

This was a wonderful fantasy novel with a solid storyline. The author also gives us well thought out characters.  Some that the readers will love and others that you are most certainly meant to hate.  There are also a few nice little twists to keep readers on their toes.  

It was definitely the right time for me to read this book.  I needed a nice fantasy escape and It Ends in Fire provided just that.

Thank you to NetGalley for this ARC.  I voluntarily chose to review it and the opinions contained within are my own.
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I enjoyed this book which is about Alka going on a mission to get revenge on the person who killed her parents by going to Blackwater Academy. This fast-paced, adventurous book brought a great heroine to life! I enjoyed this new world-building in this book which was easy to understand and also the pacing was fast which was perfect for the book. It was so fast that I couldn't believe I was almost done with the book since there was so much going on in the story. This story was action-packed and the plot structure was well done. One thing I didn't enjoy about the writing was the now and then change of PoVs. I wish the 'then' part was in chronological order instead of all mixed up because I think it would have been better with the story and seeing how the main character grew in age. 

I enjoyed the main character Alka and how she had to take a new persona. She is a brave, badass character that made a great heroine in the book. I enjoyed learning so much about her as we got a lot of her past history in the book though I do have to say that she doesn't really have proper character development as I felt she grew in her young age instead of her "now" age. I do have to say that I enjoyed the side characters in this book because they were properly involved with the story and made the story so much better. I enjoyed the LGBTQ+ romance in this book but I wish we saw more romance in the book than we got. Also, I think it's kind of amazing to see a male author write a female bi MC as I haven't read many good books like it. 

The ending was well done but I have to say that I'm a little confused if there will be the next book. The way it was ended showed how there is a possibility for it. I did have some minor problems with this book but overall it was such a great read and one of my anticipated releases of this year which didn't disappoint at all! This book is perfect for fans of Throne of Glass and Harry Potter.
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IT ENDS IN FIRE is an engaging YA fantasy with magic, politics, and rebellion. Alka lives in the Marovian Republic, a place ruled by Wizards, where Humbles, or those without magic, live in eternal servitude at the whims of the Wizards in power. For harming a Wizard, even if by accident, they could be sentenced to death. Ever since Alka's parents were killed by a wizard when she was 7, she has been working with the Humble rebellion to find ways to destroy the current system.

Their careful planning has led to Alka killing and replacing a young woman traveling to the most elite Wizard boarding school, Blackwater Academy, where only some will survive and go on to rule the Republic. As a plant, she is sent to sow chaos and destroy as many Wizards as she can. Once on the island, she begins to see the other side of society, how the Wizards life and their infighting, as well as the way they treat the Humbles around them, born into a servitude they will never escape.

At the school, Alka begins to form her own plans for how she will take down the society that oppresses so many and killed her parents. If anyone stands in her way, Alka is prepared to destroy them.

What I loved: The world-building here was really fascinating, and I particularly loved this Wizard school (it rivals the other famous wizard school with the pageantry, designs, and classes). The school has a competition between the Orders or groupings of students that soon takes over the plot, and it is through these dangerous games that we see the cracks in the Wizard society. The politics were interesting within the Republic, as well as in the neighboring kingdom, whose prince is attending the school. Magic is not a born quality, but one that is given by the governments. This privilege and control of power is a central theme in the book.

Other themes around this power, control, and the use of magic were interesting. Magic has many rules here in terms of how it can be crafted and what it can be used for. The user must create a specific rune (and correctly) to use magic, and it is not whimsical. It boils down to training and knowledge that make a great wizard, something which can also be controlled by governments and those with power.

I found the dual timelines to be really intriguing, showing the reader her past and the things that led up to the present. We meet her sister and learn more about the rebellion through these peeks into her history. Alka has been treated as a tool in many ways, and during this time away, she also begins to develop into her own person, making this in some ways, a coming-of-age story.

This ends up being a pretty dark read. Alka has been trained as a soldier in many ways, and her mindset is to allow no lives to stand in the way of her goals. As such, her connections to others are somewhat tenuous, and there are some really difficult scenes. It does also make other characters feel more distant, and we do not get to know them as well as I would like, but this made sense with who Alka was. She is driven by a need for revenge and destruction.

What left me wanting more: A major theme is around Humbles and the way they are treated by the Wizards. Alka is seen as "different" because of her raising and as part of the Humbles rebellion. However, there is only one Humble servant (if you can call them servants) that she bothers to defend or even ask the name of. She is not so different from the others after all. She sees the suffering, but she does not directly connect or try to help (I suppose her mission would ultimately help). As a small point, the romances did not entirely speak to me, perhaps because they did not speak so much to Alka. She is busy hiding herself and unable to fully connect. Once she does connect more, I felt that I needed more on the page of the build-up to fully buy in.

Final verdict: Overall, IT ENDS IN FIRE was an intriguing YA fantasy read that will appeal to wizarding fans. Recommend for fans of CRAVE, BEYOND THE RUBY VEIL, and VAMPIRE ACADEMY.

Please note that I received an ARC from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
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It took me a bit to really get into this book, but once I did, it was fast paced and hard to put down.

Alka and her sister, Sera, watched their parents get killed by a wizard.  Alka has the Godsmark and is a wizard, but she wants revenge.  Her father gave them an address to go to if there were problems.  It led the young girls to a woman named Whispers.  Whispers is a Revenant, a rebel.  The Revenants want to remove wizards from power and make things more equal.  The Humbles (non wizards) are oppressed and not in power.  Alka just wants revenge more than anything.  Whispers comes up with a plan.  Alka will ambush and kill a young wizard, Alayne, and take her place at Blackwater Academy.  This is a top school for wizards.  It's where the senators, generals, etc come from.  Alka needs to learn as many secrets as she can.  But Alka also just wants to burn it all down.

Alayne makes friends with a few other wizards and one humble girl.  She can't tell them who she is or why she's really there.  So she has to play a role.  But Alka has trouble controlling herself at times.  When she finds out that the winners of the great game will end up on the senate floor, Alka decides that she needs to win and bring it all down around her.  But the games are not easy and she finds herself face to face with the person she hates the most.  Alka starts to fall for two people while she's there.  She finds that she cares about some of the wizards.  But she also makes enemies and there are constant reminders on why she's there. 

I really liked the magic system of using glyphs.  I felt for Alka throughout the book.  There are chapters from the past that slowly fill in the details.  I just wish there was a bit more.  It looks like this is a standalone, but I found myself attached enough that I want more.

I gave this book 4  1/2 stars rounded up to 5 on Goodreads.  Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for my review copy.

Warnings for revenge, gore/blood, death.  There is also mentions of sex and teenage drinking.  The book focuses a lot on oppression, too.
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Rounded up from 2.5 because I can see where the target audience might enjoy this (as long as it's a one-off). This is similar to many of the "wizard school with contests" books, although the ways in which Alka and her team play the Great Game may not be quite according to Hoyle.  The characters are fairly stock, and the constant switching between her life Before and her life At Blackwater doesn't quite help.  Plus, any book that has an unlikeable main character isn't going to help (her main redeeming quality seems to be her relationship with her sister).  

eARC provided by publisher via Netgalley.
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This book was received as an ARC from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.

As I have said in most of my YA reviews, I am a huge fan of YA Fantasy especially the House of Night series by P.C. and Kristin Cast and this book read almost exactly like House of Night. Alka goes undercover in one of the most prestigious schools in the school of magic and all she has to do to survive is be deceitful in ever possible manner. Alka discovers something about herself that can be very dangerous to others. This book was filled with so much action, adventure, drama and fantasy that it was the perfect YA book. I know our teen book club will be excited and anticipating the release and I can't wait to hear their thoughts. 

We will consider adding this title to our YA collection at our library. That is why we give this book 5 stars.
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This book was fascinating, exciting and at times heartbreaking. Alka fought the whole time for what she thought was right and it kept the book interesting. The characters were amazing and the rivalry intense. I can't wait for the next one.
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