Cover Image: Mystery School: Islid (Mystery School, Book #1)

Mystery School: Islid (Mystery School, Book #1)

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Member Reviews

this was a great start to a series, the characters were great and I enjoyed the world building in this book. It worked as a first chapter.
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An ambitious novel which follows an intriguing storyline. The novel dabbles in the realm of magic, nature and spiritualism but also surrounded by mafia, murder and mystery. I did enjoy following Estrella’s journey of growth throughout the book but unfortunately found it too complex to be able to lose myself in the plot and the characters. I found myself at the end rather confused with unanswered questions. I liked the development of the characters and the authors writing style but for me there were too many elements that I couldn’t quite grasp.
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This is a DNF at about 20% in. I tried to pick up Mystery School a few times but ultimately it just wasn't for me. I don't think it's a bad book, which is why I'm giving it three stars, but I do think it belongs to a specific group of readers. There is a lot going on in this book and I think it may best reach SFF readers who like complex worlds and stories (for those who enjoy: Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson, Patrick Rothfuss, etc.)  

3/5 Stars

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an e-arc of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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This was a lot different from what I was expecting and unfortunately I didn't enjoy the story. I thought the pacing was slow, the characters weren't likeable, and the religious parts felt like the characters were in a cult.

Estrella is only fourteen and a freshman, so I had to remind myself that she's going to be immature and make mistakes. If she had learned from those mistakes, I would have liked her more but she kept repeating them. Dating two guys at once without their knowledge, letting her friends peer pressure her into things, and being a doormat that didn't stand up to others. Hopefully she matures and changes in future books.

The story was confusing at times and I wasn't always sure where it was going. There's a lot of talk about God, but also crystals and meditating to gain powers. It felt like what a cult would teach, achieving different levels of abilities. This was a turn off for me and I wish it were written differently.

I did like Amaka when she stood up for herself and her friends. She's strong and has clear goals for her future. I also thought John was a good fit for Estrella and wish they'd been together more.

This is definitely a series and doesn't wrap anything up. I won't be reading any more books, but I hope Estrella and her friends can win their fight.

I voluntarily read and reviewed this book. Thank you to Dartfrog Books for the copy.
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I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Mystery School: Islid started off on a pretty interesting note. Unfortunately, things went downhill pretty quickly for me. It definitely didn't help that I just didn't like any of the characters. They just seemed so juvenile at times and I just wanted to slap them. Especially when they were throwing their little tantrums and acting like five year old's.

As for the characters, this book had a ton. Way too many for me to really keep track of or even try to get invested in. Some fell in to the predictable clichés which I guess was okay because every book, and school, needs a mean girl or two. Besides that, Estrella - the main character - was completely frustrating for me. I definitely wanted to strangle her at times because of how she was acting.

In the end, the actual ending was okay but predictable. I think this books needs a really good edit/polish to make this flow a bit better from start to finish.
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This reads like a first draft. There are lots of good pieces of dialogue, and some cool plot twists, but this book doesn't seem to have been edited well. The protagonist seems like a child (I mean she is one) at times through the writing, but then comes off way older. I think if the age of the character was raised a bit it may be better because then her relationships with older characters wouldn't be as uncomfortable, and the parts of the writing that are "older" will actually sound like her voice. It deals with mature subject matter, but I don't think it is done with the right sensitivity. I'm not sure if Y.A would be the right choice. 

I think there are also altogether way too many characters. Cut/merge a side character or two. The characters are not developed enough to need so many, and it's hard to keep track of everybody. Definitely could use more development of every character but Estrella. 

It is also a very diverse book. You have characters that are supposed to represent 3 minority groups at one, like okay I understand that you want to be inclusive, but it pushes it. Also, not all of the facts for those minority groups are correct. Do your research about each ethnicity you are putting into your book or just don't include them. It is worse to read something wrong about your culture than to not have it included. Specifically here I don't feel comfortable with a "Jewish African Princess" because as a Jew I know that JAP has negative connotations in my community. As well, some of the facts L.C. Mathrene put into the book are just plain wrong. 

All in all, there is a lot to work on in this book, but it is in the right direction. I like the layers to the story, and how it holds you in suspense, I just think it needs a polish.
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Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC of Mystery School: Islid in exchange for an honest review.

I think this book could have been good with a few tweaks and an older protagonist but as is, it was at best confusing and convoluted, at worst creepy.

From a narrative perspective, my biggest issue here was how many unnecessary characters they are and how rapidly they're introduced. It's not as big of a problem down the line, but there are so many unnecessary characters and conversations that really take away from what should have been used as page space to develop Estrella. I think if a lot of characters were removed or combined, that problem could have been easily fixed but as is, it felt messy.

Estrella is the thing that made me uncomfortable here. She's 14, but acts and speaks way older which on it's own isn't an issue, but young characters acting older is normally indicative that the target audience is either way under the protagonists age (to reflect how cool and together younger kids think they'll be when they're older) or way older than the protagonist. Since this is marketed as YA, it was already a bit off, but Estrella, especially at the beginning of the book, is frequently sexualized by the book's other (mostly adult) characters. It's nothing necessary explicit, but its done so frequently that I don't think a younger kid should be reading a book where that's treated as normal but I'd be even more uncomfortable with an adult doing the same.
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Thankyou to NetGalley for providing me with an e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

All opinions and thoughts are my own in this review, and in no way reflect personally upon the author.

This book just wasn't for me at all. The blurb was what initially enticed me but what I got was not what I thought. Personally there are things that I just don't click with; set in modern times with heavy elements of modern technology i.e. TV, mobile phones, social media etc., unnecessary language, drug cartels, teenagers trying to act cool, it's just basically not a book that suits my tastes at all.

There are way too many elements to this story that makes it a jumble to decipher whilst trying to capture a certain younger audience, and too many characters to keep track of. It is aimed at teens and young adult, but I would say it is more to the young adult, especially considering the plot.

On a positive note, I'm sure this story will appeal to readers and people who will enjoy it but as I reiterate, it's just not a book for me.
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This book was received as an ARC from DartFrog Books - DartFrog Plus in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.

If I am being honest, it took me a while to understand this book in the beginning. It was hard to differentiate each of the characters and also point out the plot and the story line but as I read on and pieces of the puzzle started to come together, I could not stop reading. I am still on the search for my next YA saga and so far I am impressed with the mystery school series. I am always a fan of the heroine discovering a gift she never knew she had creating all of this adventure and meeting new friends along the way. I can see this series developing a fan base and being a hit with our YA community.

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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