A young teen basketball star discovers he has special powers in Boyer’s debut YA adventure.
Bobby Ether knows something strange has happened when he makes a last-minute basket from across the court. It wasn’t his physical skill that made it happen, but something else—an occurrence confirmed for him by the appearance of a mysterious woman named Cassandra, sent by his absent grandfather to keep him safe from people who would force him to go to a place called the Academy. But with little reason to trust Cassandra beyond her assurances, Bobby takes matters into his own hands and ends up transported against his will to a mysterious school in Tibet, where gifted children learn to use energy manipulation that others call magic. Told that Cassandra had his parents murdered, Bobby vows to learn to use his talent to get revenge. What follows is a magic-school story with a twist: Though Bobby makes true friends and learns important lessons from his teachers, the Academy is as bad a place as Cassandra warned. Talented students go missing, and the headmistress is addicted to her own power. But even the headmistress is answering to a higher authority, and Bobby Ether is at the center of her plans. The philosophies espoused about otherworldly abilities and energy in the book are interesting, and Bobby’s efforts to visualize overcoming the barrier to his supernatural talents is well-depicted, but readers may be frustrated by the indirect portrayal of the way magic functions in Bobby’s world. Bobby’s friendships are similar; he’s instantly friends with a small group of distinctly drawn characters, but the relationships show little development. Still, the conspiracies that drive the plot and the non-Western atmosphere will appeal to readers looking for something a little different from American or British schools for wizards.
An intriguing debut adventure from Boyer with a cliffhanger ending.