For 15-year-old Ryiah the choice has always been easy. Become a warrior and leave the boring confines of her lowborn life behind. Set to enroll in the School of Knighthood on the eve of her next birthday, plans suddenly shift when her twin brother discovers powers. Hoping that hers will soon follow, she enrolls with Alex at the Academy instead - the realm's most notorious war school for those with magic.
Yet when she arrives, Ry finds herself competing against friend and foe for one of the exalted apprenticeships. Every "first-year" is given a trial year to prove their worth - and no amount of hard work and drive will guarantee them a spot. It seems like everyone is rooting for her to fail - and first and foremost among them Prince Darren, the school prodigy who has done nothing but make life miserable since she arrived.
When an accidental encounter leads Ryiah and Darren to an unlikely friendship, she is convinced nothing good will come of it. But the lines become blurred when she begins to improve - and soon she is a key competitor for the faction of Combat. Still, nothing is ever as it seems - and when the world comes crashing down around her, Ry is forced to place faith in the one thing she can believe in - herself. Will it be enough?
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