The Madrassa, a magical school for mage practitioners, is the stuff of legend. With selective entrance exams and quotas for only the most advanced of mage children, it's almost impossible to attend.
When Allorna, a guardian trainee for the royal family, ends up on the doorstep of the citadel on the eve of the final day of a recruitment ceremony, she decides it must be fate.
She was sure she knew the path her life would take before she enrolled. But sometimes life has a way of throwing in magical curveballs and strange friends, just to see if you’ll trip up.
Oh, and one of those friends is a mage accused of murder, another is a slightly psychotic dragon, the third a healer facing an existential crisis, and the last is a female storm-caller with more hidden secrets than a thief lord.
Do they all belong at the new school they call home?
Author Terah Edun
Terah Edun is a young adult fantasy writer born and raised in the Atlanta metropolitan area, who transplanted to the Northeast region for college, and now lives in South Sudan. She writes the stories that she always loved to read as a young girl.
She prefers tales of adventure, magic, fellowship and courtship – in other words high fantasy. But she’s not adverse to the occasional contemporary fantasy coming her way. Sometimes you’ll see cloaks, daggers, independent and strong girls, independent and strong guys, sweet and soft spoken girls, sweet and soft spoken guys, markets, cute guys, sparkly magic and irritatingly know-it-all boys. The book she’s currently working on is SWORN TO RAISE, the first in the Courtlight series.
Outside of writing, she’s a international development professional with a penchant for Starbucks.
The Red Madrassa is an adventure story about five young people who find themselves destined to be students of the Madrassa, a school of magery. If anyone knows the Arabic language, madrassa means school. :) While the fantasy world in the story itself did not seem to have a middle eastern flavor to me, there was mention of the "caravan tongue" and Allorna, one of the main characters addressed one of the merchants at the town near the school in Arabic, or the "caravan tongue." I thought this was interesting.
The story follows Allorna, a gradis or imperial guard trainee, who is determined to help another youth, fifteen year old, Maride, who is accused of murdering his fiance. I have to admit, I was shocked when I learned the fiance was another man. Did not see that one coming at all. Sidimo is Allorna's friend and accomplice in breaking Maride out of his prison tower. Sidimo is also known as a 'deathkeeper' his clan once had the ability to keep death at bay of the ill and injured. But now they really can only offer diagnosis and how bad off the patient is, no real healing knowledge. Sitara is an Octupani. Her story begins by being struck by an energy source as she tries to use a portalway and waking up in the Madrassa. Vedaris is an outcast, a Sahelian dragon without the power to transform into his original Sahelian form or fly. His story begins when he escapes onto a ship that is torn apart by a storm. He also wakes up with healers at the madrassa around him. All five arrive at the same time to the madrassa.
On the run from the authorities, Allorna, Maride and Sidimo decide to enlist in the academy, fate? Allorna thinks so. It was the last day of the Admittance of Harthur, mid-year admissions. They all initially pass their preliminary tests which means they all have magic or magery in them. Further tests decide the school of study, earth, fire, water, air, research, politics, the unknown or healing sciences. The bulk of the story follows each student as they learn more about their innate powers and those that will eventually help them in life. Allorna is accepted into the School of Fire, Sidimo into the School of Healing, Vedaris into the School of the Unknown, Maride into the School of Research and Sitara into the School of Air.
Their lessons are all interesting and begin to unlock mysteries of their own talents, lives and memories. The characters develop as they spend more time in the madrassa. They also begin to question how they all came to be there. They also learn more about each other. There are many secrets between them. Secrets that eventually come back to bite them. As they are out exploring the portalway that brought them to the Madrassa, they somehow pass through another hidden one and find themselves hiding from a royal convoy. They find an injured guard and uses all of their talents collectively, including Vedaris, to try and heal him. They are eventually caught, and brought before the Duke of Carne, the commander of the Imperial Guard, and the Administrator of the Citadel with most questions being answered. Though not all.
What I liked:
The Red Madrassa was quite an interesting read. I am not a total fan of magic but I did enjoy the different elements the author wove into the story. While reading the story, I pictured my eleven year old niece liking the story. It was a light and easy read. I got through it in a day. The character are well developed. I really liked all of them. While there were quite a few character point of views, the author kept them short between each character, so it was easy to stay up to date with what was going on throughout the story. It got even easier to keep up once all five youngsters were at the school. Some character descriptions were great, like the pegasi . I liked the sassy diva, Bella. The ending, was satisfying but left me wanting to know more. Overall, I really like the book and I am glad this is a 5 book series. :)
What I didn't like:
The world-building could have been better. I could not picture the world they lived in it as I read the story. There is definitely a caste structure in the story but it was really hard to understand. The author did not really go into as much detail as I would have liked. While I loved the main characters, there were too many I think, especially since all five point of views/stories are told.
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5 Ebooks of Red Madrassa
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