This series opener introduces a world where ordinary humans called Cados oppress and execute wizards—and a school becomes a recruiting ground for elite magical soldiers.
Crewe Chase is excited to begin his education at the prestigious wizarding school Barbota University, where he can finally join the magical forces that seek to overthrow the Cado race. He’s anticipated this moment ever since he saw his uncle hunted down and murdered by Cados years earlier. But when his mother’s spirit visits him in a dream, she warns him about Barbota and its mission: “Not all Cados are evil, and not all wizards are good.” Crewe isn’t dissuaded; the Cados murdered his family and payback is only fair. But first Crewe must face the usual trials of school: homework, dating, and teenage social politics. All he wants is to study and excel, but he’s thwarted by Cheyenne Barousse—the only student with as much raw magical potential as Crewe himself. Cheyenne seems determined to undermine Crewe’s whole life. Nevertheless, Crewe is determined to accomplish one thing—to join the Jet Reapers, who secretly walk the school, enlisting the strongest students in the fight against the Cados. Much of Sisco’s tale is overly reminiscent of the Harry Potter novels, but Crewe himself engages his education with much less humility and much darker ambitions. His insistence upon justice is admirable when he’s protecting school outcasts from bullies, but he also calls the Cados “vermin” and wants “to wipe the earth clean of their presence once and for all.” There is much to suggest that this is the origin story of a villain rather than a hero, which creates a captivating tension; especially as it seems Cheyenne may have come to Barbota specifically to steer Crewe away from this dark path. But most of the book’s mysteries remain frustratingly unanswered by the end of this first volume. Still, the energetic plot may appeal to young readers who thought the Death Eaters in the Potter saga had a point.
An intriguing tale that combines the fantasy structure of the Potter series with the persecution narrative of the X-Men.