Last Stand (The Black Mage, #4)
He’s the Black Mage and she’s the traitor to the Crown.Ryiah’s world was shattered the night she discovered King Blayne’s nefarious plans. Now, she has to betray the one she loves most in order to save the realm from war. Torn between love and duty, Ry finds herself on a perilous mission to help the rebels and convince the kingdom of Pythus not to honor its pact with the corrupt king of Jerar—all the while deceiving the most powerful mage in the realm, the very man sworn to protect the Crown and hunt the rebels at all costs: her husband.She’s one step ahead, but sooner or later the curtain will fall.Sooner or later, she’ll have to fight.Witness the epic conclusion of The Black Mage series, and see just how far one girl will go to save her kingdom and the boy she loves—even when that boy has become the enemy.

Last Stand (The Black Mage, #4) Details

TitleLast Stand (The Black Mage, #4)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 7th, 2017
PublisherRachel E. Carter
Rating
GenreFantasy, Young Adult, Romance, Young Adult Fantasy

Last Stand (The Black Mage, #4) Review

  • Rachel E. Carter
    January 1, 1970
    SERIES TEASER TRAILER: https://youtu.be/AJcWes2y__sPINTEREST BOARD: https://www.pinterest.com/recarteraut...LINKS TO BUY BOOK:AMAZON: http://amzn.to/2j5uYcwBOOK DEPOSITORY: https://www.bookdepository.com/Last-S... AUDIBLE: https://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fan...*** Please note: The ebook editions of this series are only available through Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program for time being, however you can still purchase the paperback/hardcover/audiobooks at all retailers (below). If you previously SERIES TEASER TRAILER: https://youtu.be/AJcWes2y__sPINTEREST BOARD: https://www.pinterest.com/recarteraut...LINKS TO BUY BOOK:AMAZON: http://amzn.to/2j5uYcwBOOK DEPOSITORY: https://www.bookdepository.com/Last-S... AUDIBLE: https://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fan...*** Please note: The ebook editions of this series are only available through Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program for time being, however you can still purchase the paperback/hardcover/audiobooks at all retailers (below). If you previously purchased one of the ebooks through a non-Amazon retailer and would like to continue reading the sequels on that device, you can purchase the sequel through Amazon and then email me ([email protected]) a copy of the receipt and I’ll be happy to send you the ebook edition you need for your preferred non-Kindle device (ie ibook, kobo, nook readers, etc).
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  • Clau R.
    January 1, 1970
    Just WOW. THIS BOOK WAS AWESOME. It broke my heart again and again, but it was worth it. I mean, the whole series is worth it just so you can read THIS BOOK. The pacing is so fast and it kept me reading nonstop! I couldn't put it down, it was that good.I don't know if I'm giving it 4 stars or 4.5 stars. The thing is, I didn't like the ending. It was too bittersweet for me to bear. THEY DESERVED BETTER YOU HEAR ME?
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  • Aj the Ravenous Reader
    January 1, 1970
    After the inexplicable heartbreak I went through in the third book of the The Black Mage Series, I wasn’t expecting rainbows and sunshine in this final book but %#@*&!, I wasn’t ready for the onslaught of agony, pain and emotional persecution I went through either that at times, it honestly felt too much. My heart was a small and innocent coffee bean, crushed and pulverized to fine powder then finally melted into hot water. It just hurt too much. *stares accusingly at author* But I wholehea After the inexplicable heartbreak I went through in the third book of the The Black Mage Series, I wasn’t expecting rainbows and sunshine in this final book but %#@*&!, I wasn’t ready for the onslaught of agony, pain and emotional persecution I went through either that at times, it honestly felt too much. My heart was a small and innocent coffee bean, crushed and pulverized to fine powder then finally melted into hot water. It just hurt too much. *stares accusingly at author* But I wholeheartedly accept why the heroine and even the hero had to go through the trials and adversities they had to go through, why they had to face each other off for the final time. Ms. Rachel Carter, in my personal observation and opinion from the very start wrote the series with a steadfast conviction of the direction the plot was going to take that everything made perfect sense. The author unbelievably exceeded herself in this final book. Every element has gotten so much better, almost perfect including her writing, characterization, plot twists and schemes and I am honestly a fan (friend or not, with or without ARC) even if she allowed my heart to get beaten to a pulp. *stares accusingly at author again* The last time I felt this much for a fantasy series was on Harry Potter and for a series to elicit these much emotions from me, it certainly is something else. I spent most of my reading time gritting my teeth in worried anticipation that everything will lead to devastation and tragedy that I almost didn’t want to finish the book. I’m far too attached to these characters and this story that I was afraid the conclusion might be something I won’t be able to bear but how could I not finish it when I’m also fully engaged and committed to the novel and the series as a whole. (My husband even threatened to disown me if I didn't put the book down because it's that unputdownable).Thank goodness for my unwavering faith in the author because despite the emotional torture, I was very certain that in the end, she was going to make things right and I wasn’t wrong. It’s the perfect ending to one of my most beloved fantasy series. Care to experience a thrilling, emotional adventure in this epic fantasy series? Start with the first book currently on sale before the release of the final installment on February 7. Check out the following links to avail of the books including the free novella below:FIRST YEAR (the first book): http://rachelecarter.com/ books/first-year/NON-HEIR (the novella): http://rachelecarter.com/ books/non-heir/ALL BOOKS: http://rachelecarter.com/series/the-b...TEASER TRAILER TO THE SERIES: https://youtu.be/AJcWes2y__s?list=PLy... For generously providing me with ARCs of books one through four, I will be forever grateful, Rachel Carter. I LOVE YOU!
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  • Inge
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars “I let the dark prince pull me into the crook of his arms, and as he fell asleep – for the first time in days – I spent the hours counting cracks in the walls and the lies drowning my heart.” I am 98% sure that Carter missed the memo that READING IS SUPPOSED TO BE RELAXING AND NOT GIVE YOU 65 ULCERS.Holy potatoes, Last Stand was one hell of an epic finale. It really pulls you through the wringer, and then some. As heavy and action-packed as the whole series was, this couldn’t have had 4.5 stars “I let the dark prince pull me into the crook of his arms, and as he fell asleep – for the first time in days – I spent the hours counting cracks in the walls and the lies drowning my heart.” I am 98% sure that Carter missed the memo that READING IS SUPPOSED TO BE RELAXING AND NOT GIVE YOU 65 ULCERS.Holy potatoes, Last Stand was one hell of an epic finale. It really pulls you through the wringer, and then some. As heavy and action-packed as the whole series was, this couldn’t have had a more perfect ending, but wow did she make you work for it.The thing I immediately noticed is the improvement of the writing. I honestly loved Carter’s writing from the start, but I can see it getting stronger and more powerful with every instalment. It was just what this novel needed to really pack that punch. The first half of the book is strongly centred around the impending war and Ryiah’s role in it. She’s become a traitor to the Crown and to her husband, and this really takes a toll on her emotions. "She couldn't pick the boy in this story, and she couldn't pick herself.She had to pick the rest of the world, because she was the only one who could." While the political part of a series isn’t necessarily my favourite and my brain cells couldn’t always handle all the different notions, I thought this was done really well.Then comes the second half of the book, and this is where you need to be – this is where STUFF HITS THE FAN. (I would use other, more creative words, but Amazon doesn’t allow swearing, so. STUFF. LOTS OF STUFF. ALL INTO THE FAN. HEAD ON.) This is where you can enjoy some really good fighting scenes, where the characters are pushed to their very limits. This is the part where Ryiah and Darren face off in that ultimate battle – if you thought their combat for the title of the Black Mage was delicious, you are in for a treat.There was honestly not one dull moment – this one keeps you on your toes up until the very end. This is one to grab onto in the darkest hours and devour until the early hours of the morning.The story of Ryiah and Darren is one that will stay with me for a long time to come. Read this series. You will not regret it.Did my review stir your curiosity? You can get the first book, First Year, from Amazon for only $0.99! Don’t miss it.I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Lucía
    January 1, 1970
    5:45 a.m.Fueron seis horas y media de lectura continua para leer esta preciosidad. IT WAS WORTH IT.
  • Anja
    January 1, 1970
    *5 STANDING OVATION STARS* “The girl clung to the boy so she could chase away her dark. He was light, and she was fading. She was drowning, and she just couldn’t stop.” ONE QUESTION: WHY HASN'T THE ENTIRE WORLD DISCOVERED THIS SERIES YET? I'M CRYING.TO EVERYONE WHO HASN'T READ THIS SERIES YET: GO DO IT NOW, YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU'RE MISSING!This book had me constantly either on the edge of my seat, holding my breath, tearing out my hair, biting my nails, destroying all my furniture or bawling *5 STANDING OVATION STARS* “The girl clung to the boy so she could chase away her dark. He was light, and she was fading. She was drowning, and she just couldn’t stop.” ONE QUESTION: WHY HASN'T THE ENTIRE WORLD DISCOVERED THIS SERIES YET? I'M CRYING.TO EVERYONE WHO HASN'T READ THIS SERIES YET: GO DO IT NOW, YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU'RE MISSING!This book had me constantly either on the edge of my seat, holding my breath, tearing out my hair, biting my nails, destroying all my furniture or bawling my eyes out.My heart rate was so high the entire time, I'm pretty damn sure I just had one 452 pages long heart attack!I thought reading was supposed to be relaxing! Apparently Rachel E. Carter did NOT agree with that.Review to come!
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  • Muse-ic ♬
    January 1, 1970
    Me reading this book:You when you read this book: I proof read this way back in December, so I present to you my calm and not fangirly self that is writing this review. I've relaxed now after a month and a half or so.But make no mistake!There was plenty of fangirling!And crying too!The emotions were serious!So many times I felt my heart straining and ready to burst from the fear and anticipation!This series has come so far. It's truly amazing!This particular book is so dark, the darkest of the s Me reading this book:You when you read this book: I proof read this way back in December, so I present to you my calm and not fangirly self that is writing this review. I've relaxed now after a month and a half or so.But make no mistake!There was plenty of fangirling!And crying too!The emotions were serious!So many times I felt my heart straining and ready to burst from the fear and anticipation!This series has come so far. It's truly amazing!This particular book is so dark, the darkest of the series. Throughout the whole entire book, I was on the edge of my figurative seat! Every moment was terrifying, knowing something drastic could go wrong, that something terrible and irreversible could happen. It was so scary!But I was very pleased. In terms of a series finale: (view spoiler)[I honestly don't think I could have asked for a more satisfying ending! I seriously loved it so much! It was BEAUTIFUL! (hide spoiler)]Can we talk about how that was one of the best sex scenes I've ever read? Amazing! It was the perfect balance of sizzling steaminess and poetic beauty, and it leaves just enough to the imagination in my opinion! It really was exquisite!I love Darren! And Ryiah! They're quite a pair, those two.They are so realistic and well-written! They aren't perfect humans, like some certain barbie doll-like characters. No, I genuinely could see myself as Ryiah. Not because of her amazing fighting and magic skills (I got nothing). Not because of her amazing significant other (I got nothing). Not because of her red hair (I got nothing). But because of her decisions, thought process, and dealing with other characters! Sometimes she rushes into things (hello, me). Sometimes she doesn't tread too carefully (hello, me). All the time, she loves and is devoted to her family (hello, me). All the time, she's gorgeous (HELLO, ME).Hahaha just kidding on that last one.......maybe....Also, Ryiah is one of the very few (if any) heroines I've read about that actually puts everyone else before the guy! Very mature and very brave! Very heroine-like! Well done Ryiah!On a slightly different note, back in my review of Non-Heir , I desperately wished for Blayne and the King to be shipped off to a desert island with no exits. Well....(view spoiler)[What I got was even better! The King gracefully went down in Candidate and Blayne kindly died in this one! They are both in the realm of the dead where there are no exits! Woohoo! (hide spoiler)]Definitely read this! I don't care if you haven't started this series yet. If that is the case, then....1) Feel shame2) Fstart this series3) Fall in love4) Finish this seriesIf you've already begun this series:a) I'm proud of you :)b) read Darren's novella (which is free, I might add)c) read this book
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  • Melissa (Ever So Mela)
    January 1, 1970
    First Year Book 1 review: 4 starsApprentice Book 2 review: 4.5 starsCandidate Book 3 review: 5 stars "In fairy tales, the prince saved the girl. In mine, the princess destroyed him." I think bittersweet is just the word to describe the end of such a beloved series. Who would have guessed that I would have fallen in love with this the way I did? Certainly not me. I had so many doubts and kept waiting for the shoe to drop....bit it never did. It constantly kept me on my toes, swept me off my fee First Year Book 1 review: 4 starsApprentice Book 2 review: 4.5 starsCandidate Book 3 review: 5 stars "In fairy tales, the prince saved the girl. In mine, the princess destroyed him." I think bittersweet is just the word to describe the end of such a beloved series. Who would have guessed that I would have fallen in love with this the way I did? Certainly not me. I had so many doubts and kept waiting for the shoe to drop....bit it never did. It constantly kept me on my toes, swept me off my feet, took my breath away, and left me feeling euphoric. It was truly an outstanding story from start to finish. "Gods, every one of us was tainted. All of us shades of gray. This world of innocence was a lie." The amazing aspect of this story is the ever evolving characters. Ryiah goes from a naive overwhelmed girl wanting to make a difference in the world to young woman who learns to stand on her own two feet and fights for what she believes in. Darren, from an arrogant entitled prince to a man of many layers. Priscilla, from conniving brat to someone deemed worthy of respect. Dear lord, I can just keep going. "I had wanted to be the hero. I just hadn’t known the price." I just... You guys need to give these books a try. They're worth every dime and every second of lost sleep. "I could be the girl I wanted to be. I could save the boy. And so I did. And as that last gasping breath took in an intoxication of violet and ice, I lost myself to the end. And then? I was free. "
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  • majo
    January 1, 1970
    you know when you read a book thinking it will be a light-entertaining and enjoyable read and THAT BOOK ENDED UP DESTROYING YOU?Yep. This is that book.*cries* I'm an emotional mess right now. I finish this book at 3 am and I'm overwhelmed with it. I don't know anything anymore.Ryiah had to face a lot of fucked up things to do what is "right" and in the way she had to sacrifice a lot. Could you do the right thing when the right thing will made you lose the one you love?(view spoiler)[She has to b you know when you read a book thinking it will be a light-entertaining and enjoyable read and THAT BOOK ENDED UP DESTROYING YOU?Yep. This is that book.*cries* I'm an emotional mess right now. I finish this book at 3 am and I'm overwhelmed with it. I don't know anything anymore.Ryiah had to face a lot of fucked up things to do what is "right" and in the way she had to sacrifice a lot. Could you do the right thing when the right thing will made you lose the one you love?(view spoiler)[She has to betray the boy she loves and when he discover she's been lying to him, my heart couldn't handle it (hide spoiler)] MY POOR HEART BROKE INTO 3245647 PIECES. This book made me suffer so much. SO MUCH. Poor Ryiah. (view spoiler)[I mean when the crown torture her it was the worst. THE FUCKING WORST. And then Darren broke and became the bad guy, and I couldn't breathe reading that. (hide spoiler)] EVERYTHING WAS SO WRONG. SO, so wrong. I think this book was epic. But it was so sad at the same time. I liked the ending, because finally Ryiah and Darren were just a boy and a girl. It was so sad, but beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time. I liked the epilogue a lot. Darren and Ryiah are epic together. There's no other way to describe them.THIS BOOK SERIES IS AMAZING, SO PLEASE GO READ IT.
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  • Cece ❀Rants, Raves &Reviews❀
    January 1, 1970
    This book was dramatic and traumatizing so thats how i'm gonna write my review. This book had me beating my head against the wall several times, but one good thing was:I have never felt a character's despair, guilt, or pain more than this book. There were so many scenes that honestly shocked me to my core: Like some sort of greek tragedyRy had just started to gain the independence she lost in the 2nd book "She couldn’t break me. She and the faceless others broke most of the bones in my body. But This book was dramatic and traumatizing so thats how i'm gonna write my review. This book had me beating my head against the wall several times, but one good thing was:I have never felt a character's despair, guilt, or pain more than this book. There were so many scenes that honestly shocked me to my core: Like some sort of greek tragedyRy had just started to gain the independence she lost in the 2nd book "She couldn’t break me. She and the faceless others broke most of the bones in my body. But she couldn’t break me.” When BOOM depression hits her. Picture the worst thing you can possibly imagine and then multiple it by cancer! “The pain I had suffered after his death: the agony, the torment, the rage, and self-flagellation. The guilt. It was nothing compared to this moment now.” And it lasted till the very last page. “My eyes stung from fighting so many tears. When did I become the villain of my own tale? Why should anyone place so much faith in a girl as flawed as me?” One thing that really bugged me was the betrayal on Ry's part. I mean seriously how many f*cking times is this girl gonna commmit treason IN THE SAME BOOK?! “What I want to ask you all”—my fingers twisted in my lap—“I have no right to ask. It’s treason and I can’t promise we won’t get caught.” One redemption was possibly the best plot twist every: HighSchool Mean girl becomes queen (oh you gotta be shitting me) “Did you ever imagine that despicable girl from the Academy would become a respectable queen? That the boy you loved would bring a country to its knees? That you and your friends would commit treason against the Crown?” So basically its war and betrayal everywhere. I actually got confused on who we were fighting at times... First fighting the king, then evil son 1 was in charge, then got killed, then Darren(evil son 2) was king and he went off the deep end. “Tears streamed down my cheeks as I stood, caught between the boy and freedom, between my life and everything else. He’s a monster. He’s not yours to save.He’s dying. He’ll never make it out. Run.” One scene that really hit me ~ Darren lost his shit. Basically everyone he loved died and Ry betrayed him. He simply fell into despair “Why run,” he croaked, “when you can kill a king instead?” I realized the broken rapier was still in my hand, dripping blood. It dropped to the floor. “I-I—”“Paige tried to stop you.” His fists clenched against his brother’s shirt. “So you took her life as well.”“No!” My throat was raw. “Darren, y-your brother a-attacked m-me.”Darren wasn’t listening. “And then Wolf.” His voice caught as his eyes fell to his dog. The one happy memory from a dark childhood. “You took... everything.” Basically this book was scene after scene that slowly broke every single character until they become a shell of their former self(think im being dramatic WELL SO WAS THIS BOOK!) “The former king of Jerar, the Black Mage, the most arrogant, confident, prideful man I knew… he had given up.” Mentally exhausting and disappointing. I was honestly really excited for the series but end battle scene was underwhelming. And the ending just sucked. [image error]
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  • Natalie (Never trust a duck)
    January 1, 1970
    So, I think the real question is, do I have any emotions left in me to translate into a heartfelt review? Because I think I spent my entire reserve of feelings while reading this book, I now carry the emotional weight of teaspoon. That was one helluva ride.I like Ryiah, I do. She's smart, loyal, moral, and a hard worker. But sometimes, just sometimes, I want to push her out of a tree. Soon followed by Blayne, Alex, Darren, Ella, and the rest of the motley crew. But I think that's what makes it s So, I think the real question is, do I have any emotions left in me to translate into a heartfelt review? Because I think I spent my entire reserve of feelings while reading this book, I now carry the emotional weight of teaspoon. That was one helluva ride.I like Ryiah, I do. She's smart, loyal, moral, and a hard worker. But sometimes, just sometimes, I want to push her out of a tree. Soon followed by Blayne, Alex, Darren, Ella, and the rest of the motley crew. But I think that's what makes it so good, what makes Rachel's writing so good. The characters are so flawed and confused and beautifully human that it makes the writing all the more perfect.Basically, Ryiah has learned the truth behind the wars that her country has been in and must now take on the roll of a traitor in order to save the country. It is as dire as it sounds because...yeah, wow. Darren gets pretty pissed, but he also has really adorable (and HAWT) parts. But mainly pissed.There is so much court intrigue, politics, relationship highs and lows, epic EPIC fighting scenes that made me lift my spoon in pathetic imitation. It was packed full in such a delightful way that I'm still a little (a lot, it's a lot) strung out on everything that happened. Rachel's always been a talented writer, but this book showcased her skills so brilliantly. She's grown just as much as Ryiah and Darren have.Happy Reading!!!(I CAN'T WAIT FOR HER NEXT SERIES AND NEITHER CAN YOU)
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  • BookwormBritty
    January 1, 1970
    **I received a free advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review**Let me start by saying you should read this book. I didn't like it, but you should still read it. It's not an Allegiant where it decimates the characters and makes you wonder why you bothered to waste your life reading it. It's a genuine ending, a wrapping up, and my dislike of it is on such an emotional and personal level that I know there will be several who disagree with me and can appreciate the quality of the bo **I received a free advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review**Let me start by saying you should read this book. I didn't like it, but you should still read it. It's not an Allegiant where it decimates the characters and makes you wonder why you bothered to waste your life reading it. It's a genuine ending, a wrapping up, and my dislike of it is on such an emotional and personal level that I know there will be several who disagree with me and can appreciate the quality of the book without giving way to my levels of indignation.Disclaimer: I am notoriously picky about final books in series. Giving this book a star rating was difficult for me because it was hard to separate the merits of the book from my emotions concerning this particular storyline. More than that, giving it a rating less than 4 stars was hard because I love this series and these characters and Rachel as an author and a person. Alas, The Last Stand made me super angry, so here we are.I wanted to read The Last Stand twice before I reviewed it, but I honestly couldn't make myself read it again, which was problem the first. It is not unusual for me to read the last book in a series, then re-read the entire series so I can enjoy it with the full knowledge of the ending. This book felt like a train wreck. I watched it once and I couldn't look away, but I'm not gonna go review the footage online.In trying to organize my thoughts, the closest thing I can compare this to is the second book in The Winner's Curse series. Which was okay (if horrifying) for a second book, but I felt unacceptable for a third. This Shakespearean Tragedy feel where everything that can go wrong does, but that's not even what made this book un-re-readable. The real problem was that I am a loyal relationship follower. I root for couples. I believe in love and marriage and commitment and longevity, hell or high water, better or worse, sickness and health, and all that HEA stuff. But by the end of this book, I honestly thought they would be better off without each other. So here we go:THE CHARACTERS:Ryiah: WHY DO YOU NEVER LEARN??? Why must you always do the wrong thing? Why can you never ever trust the person you claim to love? I have had problems with Ryiah's character throughout this series, but I expect her to grow and learn from her mistakes, not make the SAME ones over and over again. I was really upset that she didn't show more personal growth in this one, that her logic continued to be as fallible and biased as ever, and that she claims to be in love but never manages to have that love be all-encompassing. Maybe that's the point and I'm idealistic, but I have a hard time relating to her decisions about anything ever. Frankly, though, she doesn't even compare to Darren this time.Darren: I hate you so much. No, not love/hate. Just hate hate. This is difficult to really expound upon without spoilers, but there was a point that to me was a point of no return. Ryiah is more forgiving than I am, and no, I don't say that in a good way. I think she's a bit of an idiot. There are things that are not excusable by misconceptions, and are certainly not understandable. I am ridiculously close to my siblings, but there is loyalty, and there is blindness. A certain amount of blindness in love is expected, understandable, etc. But when you have two people you love, that should extend to both of them to some extent, and that's all I'm going to say about that.(view spoiler)[ If your husband believed you cheated on him and he beat you to within an inch of your life but then took you to the hospital, would it be okay because he thought you betrayed him? I vote no. And plain and simple, that's what this was.Because apparently loving someone and being married to them isn't enough to so much as hear them out or give them the benefit of the doubt when you sense betrayal. A tortured past doesn't give you license to be an A-hole, and not wanting with every fiber of your being for there to be more to the story, not giving the woman you love EVERY chance at redemption, being more important than your brother, your country, at least until you understand the full scope of the situation, is completely unacceptable in every way ALL BY ITSELF. Now let's talk torture. Really? Honestly, a man that could torture his wife/love has lost all semblance of respect he ever had in my book. ALL. That, to me, was a point of no return. And no, I don't care that he was willing to banish her and never be with her again to spare her life. Honestly, that just makes him weak, not loving. Either believe in her and be with her and stand by her or stay the hell out of it. (hide spoiler)]The side characters: Here's where we get some merit. Thank you for everyone else not taking a back seat and sucking. Thank you for true friends and loyalty existing somewhere in this book, if not where I wanted it to be. The relationship: Yes, I put this separately. We have a saying in my family. You would die for someone, but will you live for them? It's interesting how many people would put their lives on the line for another if it came down to it, but wont extend them simple everyday courtesies. Throughout this series, I've had trouble buying that Darren loved Ryiah. Her love, I believed was genuine, I just find it somewhat incomplete at times, and understandably tainted by doubts. The most gut wrenching part of reading this book was that I finally started to believe in HIS love, starting with a scene in The Candidate, and extending to this book. But then, no. Just no. I wanted something real, genuine, loyal, and what I got was scenes that had me wanting to throw my phone in frustration down to the end.(view spoiler)[ And I wasn't that happy with the ending, either. I didn't even care if they were together then, and even though I thought it was fitting that he give up his kingdom and Ryiah didn't want that life anyway, I really was upset that we didn't get one true scene between them, not marred by her lies or his betrayal. Here's what would have made the more realistic and better for both of them ending after the cluster that was this book: "And after saving him, Ryiah realized that there were some things love can't conquer. Some thing that can't be forgiven. She looked into the eyes of the man she had loved for years, and walked away from the horribly toxic relationship they had shared." The end. That being said... (hide spoiler)]THE PLOT: The ending had merits for some things ending up the way they needed to. The pacing was a little off, I thought, but honestly that may be my perception. I don't know if most writers struggle with writing final books or if I just struggle with reading them and it makes me hypercritical, but I wanted a calm in the storm at some point. No, there was none.THE GOOD: Since I've mostly mentioned bad, I wanted to give some upsides. As mentioned, I loved the side characters and the roles they played, especially Alex and his wife (whose name is slipping my mind right now). There were some good points in this book, but I felt like aside from my enduring hatred of the way things in their relationship went, there were points that fizzled out and things that were frankly anticlimactic and sometimes that's okay, because sometimes that's the way life goes and it's more realistic to write that way. Unfortunately, in this case, it just left fewer redeeming qualities for me to leech onto. I will say, I read this book in less than a day. It was fast-paced and for better or worse, it did leave me on the edge of my seat. If I ever do manage to re-read this, I may come edit this review. As I said, so much of my review was emotional and came from a place of personal preferences and feelings on how people should conduct themselves. It was hard to separate that from the quality of the writing, which wasn't bad at all, and that's why I didn't give it fewer stars.
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  • Emmeline (The Book Herald)
    January 1, 1970
    I receive this ARC via the author in return for an unbiased and honest review “Every hero was a villain in the end. War was corrupting us all.” Dear Mrs. Carter, I would like to cordially let you know that you have shattered my heart, stomped on my spleen, eviscerated my soul and tap-danced on my feels. As a result, I have realised that I have masochistic tendencies because while I was bitter and in pain I loved every second of it. This book will cease your heart.This book will make you trembl I receive this ARC via the author in return for an unbiased and honest review “Every hero was a villain in the end. War was corrupting us all.” Dear Mrs. Carter, I would like to cordially let you know that you have shattered my heart, stomped on my spleen, eviscerated my soul and tap-danced on my feels. As a result, I have realised that I have masochistic tendencies because while I was bitter and in pain I loved every second of it. This book will cease your heart.This book will make you tremble.This book will make you shout in denial.This book will bring you tears. You have thus been aptly warned of the consequences of finishing this awesome series. Ahh what can I say guys…my heart is still in a state of unrest.If I have one way to describe the feelings which permeate through this book it would be: agony.There was so much agony that it made me feel heavy and in pain. Our beloved characters go through so much and it was painful for me to read but Carter executed that story so beautifully. Alright, I’ll stop rambling, let’s get to the synopsis: A wedding is one of the happiest days of a young woman’s life.It is marked by scattered rose petals,Not the ashes war and drops of blood.It is marked by a kiss of love,Not a self-loathing kiss of betrayal. It is marked by the crowd of well-wishers,Not the souls of those who desire to be avenged. A wedding may take place, A girl may become a princess,But this is no happily ever after. Was that too intense? Well hey, this book certainly was intense! Guys this is the conclusion of what was a heck of a beautiful story. I trembled so much at the content of this book in fear to lose precious and beloved characters. All I can say is that this book will meet and go beyond your expectations, your heart, as I have been stressing, will be shattered and you will feel anxiety like never before. But it’ll all be worth it! Without further ado, I salute Rachel Carter for leaving us with a great conclusion to what was an amazing story. Darren I will forever love you- you garnet eyed stud muffin! (also Darren as an almost darkling character is flipping hot…just saying- are you intrigued now? MUAHAHA!) (Don’t forget to also get your hands on the 0.5 Novella so you can experience all the feels!) get it here: http://amzn.to/2j1AiNQStay awesome! The Book HeraldBlog: http://thebookherald.wix.com/thebookh...Twitter- @thebookherald
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  • Anna (Enchanted by YA)
    January 1, 1970
    ***I received the ARC ebook as a review copy from the author in exchange for an honest review***I'm currently enjoying the everything-about-what-I-just-read-was-awesome phase and something I love about Rachel E. Carter's books, is how this phase never ends. Except, it also includes a lot of crying. Every time I so much as think about Last Stand, something happens to my eyes... It has also ruined me for other novels. All I want to do is go back and re-read the series. These are good things though ***I received the ARC ebook as a review copy from the author in exchange for an honest review***I'm currently enjoying the everything-about-what-I-just-read-was-awesome phase and something I love about Rachel E. Carter's books, is how this phase never ends. Except, it also includes a lot of crying. Every time I so much as think about Last Stand, something happens to my eyes... It has also ruined me for other novels. All I want to do is go back and re-read the series. These are good things though, so while I'm not okay and won’t be for a while, it is more than worth it.Easily one of the best conclusions I’ve ever read, it had all I could have asked for and didn’t know I needed (though I would have been able to deal without half the heart-breaking scenes). Rachel E. Carter knows her characters – what they’d do and how they’d be feeling – so every emotion was raw and true to them. I forgot that the world existed because all that mattered were two of my friends getting their happily ever after, no matter how far away it seemed or how much I doubted the possibility.Ryiah and Darren have come so far from being the non-heir and lowborn, always butting heads. It fills me with a wonderful nostalgia to think about the first time they talked at the academy’s library. In this book they had to face even more trials, including a final face off I refused to see coming. I can’t explain much without spoiling and I lack the capability of typing through more tears, so I’ll just say that their journey to find themselves as well each other is a beautiful, if tragic one.Rachel E. Carter has grown in her writing, just as much as the characters have. It had a new kind of strength that made every word powerful. There was never a dull sentence, never mind a dull moment. I was holding my breath during the fight scenes (it’s a good thing that I wasn’t the one facing off against magical opponents) and my heart stopped whenever a character even looked at one of my favourites the wrong way. I cared so much about everything that it would have taken me a long time to recover from the series having a disappointing ending. It’s a good thing that was never going to be an issue! I had faith in the author and she delivered like no-one else could have. Thank you for that Rachel as well as bringing the world of The Black Mage into my life.I’m going to miss this series and I know this review has rather turned into a love letter for it, so I’ll end with a classic summary of how it has characters that you root for, a fast-paced plot, enough court intrigue and politics to satisfy any fantasy reader, epic fighting scenes, a swoon-worthy romance and a talented writer’s special secret formula to make you have ALL THE EMOTIONS! It’s a story that I, and you, won’t forget.
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  • Ashley
    January 1, 1970
    NOV 2015: THE SYNOPSIS IS RELEASED, OMFG, GIVE IT TO ME NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW, I don't want to wait :( I just finished 3 like 2 days ago....CAN'T WAIT....................
  • anjuli
    January 1, 1970
    ***4.5*****I received an ARC for this book and I volunteered to review it.**Be still my heart....This book was an emotional roller coaster to say the least. It got me frustrated, angry, sad, happy all at the same time. We were told that this book was not what we would expect and well, it wasn't. On another note, I love the new covers. Amazing. The book starts off where Candidate ended - At Darren and Ryiah's wedding. Weddings are supposed to be the happiest day of your life. Yet, for Ryiah it is ***4.5*****I received an ARC for this book and I volunteered to review it.**Be still my heart....This book was an emotional roller coaster to say the least. It got me frustrated, angry, sad, happy all at the same time. We were told that this book was not what we would expect and well, it wasn't. On another note, I love the new covers. Amazing. The book starts off where Candidate ended - At Darren and Ryiah's wedding. Weddings are supposed to be the happiest day of your life. Yet, for Ryiah it is anything but... Having fought against all odds to be with the boy she loves she wants nothing more than to have a fairy tale ending for herself and her love. After all, they fought against every.single.obstacle to be here. BUT, Ryiah is struggling to just keep it all together. Between suffering from guilt from her brother's death and discovering the ruthlessness, lies and betrayal from none other than Blayne. She is distraught to say the least. She is torn between feeling happy for herself, numb from the trauma, broken, blind rage for Blayne and angry with the unfairness of it all in general. Not to mention, the biggest lie she would have to spin for the boy she claimed to love. In short, she was an effin' mess. She wants to fix things but doesn't know how without hurting the one person who means everything to her in this world. Thus, begins the lies, deception, pain and games...all for Jerar. To save the people from a false and ruthless tyrant. At the cost of her heart! After all, we all pay the price in some way or another. This was hers.If you thought that First Year to Candidate were tough for Ryiah and Darren. You are now in for a huge surprise. This book brings it all out. Loyalties and love are tested in more ways than one. Due to some unexpected turn in events one thing leads to another and before you know it Jerar is at war. The rebels are fighting and Ryiah is in the midst of it all. Ryiah, stuck between a fire and a frying pan has very limited choices. No matter what she chooses she would lose in one way or another. Q was what was she willing to sacrifice? I felt sorry for her to be in the middle of something she was not born into - Crown politics. She got thrust with this immense burden by the rebels with no help whatsoever. But, she also annoyed me in the beginning to some extent. It felt that she kept making similar mistakes from the past. She did not even want to trust the one person who meant the world to her. I get why but she did not even try. What I liked about her was no matter what was dished out at her...she never stopped fighting in what she believed. She did not give up. Till the end.King Blayne, if you thought you hated him before. Well, you are in for a surprise. That snake is a slippery Slitherin...I hated their father for what he did to these boys (read Non-Heir). And, I hated Blayne for being worse than his father. He definitely fooled everyone in Candidate. But, I was always skeptical. I have said it before and I'll say it again...psychopaths and assholes are made. Well, their father definitely made him into one. My only regret....Blayne nearly didn't suffer enough. Darren, non-heir, a crown Prince, Black Mage and a boy in love. The boy who had it all and yet, nothing. The prince who was loyal and arrogant to a fault. The boy who fell in love with the lowborn against all odds. I honestly felt so bad for him. He was a pawn in every person's game unbeknownst to him. In the end, he just got played by all and lost everything. Having said that, I was also ready to pummel him towards the latter half of the book. He was a douche for a major part of the series. But, he started to come around and turn into a decent person & I thought maybe, he is capable of loving. BUT, the latter half of Last Stand he was just a douche-canoe. His utter lack of faith in Ryiah & everything else was astounding. I mean com'on...Use your bloody head? Are you really this blind? Things just started spiraling down for him till the end. Other characters, Alex, Ella, Ian, Priscilla and Paige....they all came through with flying colors. I enjoyed reading about them and glad they were part of it all. I always loved Ella. The ending, well...it is definitely unexpected how the events turned out to be. There were hints in the book as to what might end up happening. However, there were still surprises at the end I didn't see coming. The epilogue is nice and is not in Ryiah's POV. Was I satisfied with the ending? Sure. Could it have turned out differently? Absolutely. Overall, I felt the series ended with a satisfying yet, bittersweet conclusion. I did have some issues with Darren and Ryiah though throughout the book. They claimed to love each other and were willing to sacrifice all for the other. Yet...(view spoiler)[why couldn't they trust each other? Doesn't love and trust go hand in hand? I wish they would have trusted each other more. My huge issue is when you claim to love someone to the extent that you fight against every odd and I mean EVERY.ODD to be with that someone....wouldn't you trust that person even a little bit? Wouldn't you want to give that person the benefit of the doubt?? So, why couldn't Ryiah and Darren? I mean if you look at their relationship from the beginning...they had 0 chances in the beginning to be together considering their upbringing separating them. Yet, they ended up in love and at the alter. BUT, when it came to important decisions and life threatening events...they turned their backs to each other. To the extent of almost losing each other? That was a hard pill to swallow and I was not a fan. I understand trust is hard to come by and I for one totally get it cuz I don't trust easily. But, i am not going to love/marry someone I don't trust. And I would at least, give them the benefit of the doubt. No matter what. (hide spoiler)]For what its worth, I was up till 2 am last night trying to finish reading it. I couldn't put it down and cuz I bloody wanted to find out how it ended. When you ship characters you want to find out how it would all come to be. Cuz it is that important!! :D
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  • Taschima
    January 1, 1970
    After reading the Last Stand, and mulling over it for a couple of days, all I hope for is this: that in the future there will be another series that comes to be as good as this one, as exciting as this one, that will make me want to re-read the books 2-3 times like this one did. That is all I hope for, so it is all up to Rachel Carter to get on writing her next big thing. Everything had been leading to the Last Stand.I am sad. I am happy with this series, but I am sad it had to come to an end. W After reading the Last Stand, and mulling over it for a couple of days, all I hope for is this: that in the future there will be another series that comes to be as good as this one, as exciting as this one, that will make me want to re-read the books 2-3 times like this one did. That is all I hope for, so it is all up to Rachel Carter to get on writing her next big thing. Everything had been leading to the Last Stand.I am sad. I am happy with this series, but I am sad it had to come to an end. With every passing book The Black Mage just became more and more complicated, the stakes were raised ever higher, and The Last Stand pretty much had me at the edge of my seat the entire time. How would Ryiah face her uncertain future? Would Blayne come to pay for his sins? Could Darren ever understand, and forgive?Would there be a happily ever after?We left Ryiah on The Candidate just as she figured out her future brother in law's EVIL plot. Too late to do anything about her dear brother (that still kills me BTW, I can still picture him as a little kid in First Year) she swears she will do anything in her power to make sure Blayne's plans do not come into fruition, even if she has to betray the person she loves the most.All I can say without spoilers is this: If you have stuck this far is because you love this series, and while The Last Stand will surely break your heart 1000 times over it will also be a satisfying and hair pulling conclusion that is well worth the wait (I am not kidding about the heart break, it will hurt, it will be complicated, and it won't be perfect, but it will be worth it). I had my issues with some plot choices (which I will go into detail in the SPOILER part of this review) but it didn't detract from my overall enjoyment and LURVE for this incredible series. I would recommend this entire series over and over and over and over...(view spoiler)[Guess what? Among Ryiah's many talents is not the talent for lying convincingly and sneaking around without raising suspicion, she actually really sucks at it. Soon enough, despite her best efforts, she gets caught, and it is up to Darren to deliver the punishing blow. Those scenes were hard, Darren actually tortures Ryiah, no matter how much he doesn't want to. She is a rebel, and he needs information from her, so things get done. But in the end he can't watch her die, so he helps her escape by way of Paige.I hate Paige had to die, and I think Ryiah should have spent a little more time mourning her friend and champion. But I could understand how she had THE WEIGHT OF THE WORLD on her shoulders.Now, that whole escape scene...As Paige helps Ryiah out of the castle Blayne intercepts them (why he doesn't have his guard with him I will never understand). A battle ensues, Ryiah has the chance to kill Blayne but she doesn't because of Darren, this leads Blayne to have the opportunity to kill Paige, and then Ryiah has to kill him in self defense. Darren then walks in and finds her beloved covered in blood, with his brother dying close by. Very dramatic, I know, but now I have two things I take issue with in this whole scene.One, Blayne shows he has magical abilities a little too late. Blayne's magical abilities here is like "Oh, wow, so the current king actually had powers" but then what does it really matter in the end when Blayne dies so easily? It would have been another thing if he had secret tutoring to make him powerful, but not even that. I would have seen this whole scene going a different way. Blayne let's know to Ryiah he has secret powers, that he has been harnessing them throughout the years in order to became the first King with magical abilities, that way he would be a force to be reckoned with and virtually unstoppable. Ryiah is drained by this point with no magic inside her, so as Blayne is about to beat her and deliver the killing blow Darren appears, shocked to see his brother kept this huge secret from him, feeling betrayed he helps Ryiah escape and then buys into the rebellion and what his brother had been up to.Eventually this would mean that Darren HAS to confront his brother, and a super magical battle would ensue, in which Darren can't kill him, but maybe Ryiah helps with the finishing blow in defense of Darren.This is of course, not what happens. Blayne dies before having any sort of confrontation with his brother. Darren continues with his brother's war without giving it much thought (so unlike Darren, but he WAS consumed with grief) and then we get the huge confrontation between Ryiah and Darren (SO FULL OF FEELS AND AWESOME). A battle I loved and appreciated, but I really felt robbed of Darren confronting his brother. I understand making Darren the evil king, a role he always wanted to avoid, but I don't know, I really wanted Darren to slap sense into Blayne. (hide spoiler)]I love how complicated this series has gotten over the years. First Year and Apprentice were overall happy titles, while Candidate and Last Stand are full of death and destruction. Really makes you miss the old times, but I wouldn't have it any other way (view spoiler)[(other than, well, that bro confrontation) (hide spoiler)].I can't wait for Rachel Carter's next book. First in line for a title: THIS GIRL.
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  • Rose
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC copy from the author in exchange for an honest review WHAT DID I JUST READ…I THINK AFTER THE LAST STAND I HAVE MOMENTARILY LOST MY ABILITY TO FORM COHERENT SENTENCES….ofajkldflajsdlfaslkdfalksjdf;adsklNOPE, I’m not okay…I thought I was, but absolutely not What can I say, but that Rachel E. Carter delivered in all fronts and wrote one of the most intense, brilliant and heart-stopping finales ever written. I can’t tell you the amount of times that I had to resist flipping to the I received an ARC copy from the author in exchange for an honest review WHAT DID I JUST READ…I THINK AFTER THE LAST STAND I HAVE MOMENTARILY LOST MY ABILITY TO FORM COHERENT SENTENCES….ofajkldflajsdlfaslkdfalksjdf;adsklNOPE, I’m not okay…I thought I was, but absolutely not What can I say, but that Rachel E. Carter delivered in all fronts and wrote one of the most intense, brilliant and heart-stopping finales ever written. I can’t tell you the amount of times that I had to resist flipping to the end of the book to see if there was ever a way that the characters could end up with a HEA. Just for those out there that are as petrified as me and gets cold sweats just trying to turn the page - Just know that Carter does all her characters justice and as such gives them the ending that they deserve….vague I know, but that’s all I’m willing to give away. But I’m getting ahead of myself.Last Stand begins where Candidate ends, with Ryiah coming to terms with the corruption in the crown just before her marriage to Prince Darren. Her epiphany forces her to betray the realm and the most powerful mage in Jerar, so that she can safeguard Jerar from the upcoming war. Staunch warrior turned turncoat, Ryiah life hangs in a precipice as she begins to play the treacherous game of politics and warfare, where one wrong move could be her last. These characters have such a special place in my heart. Because you get to journey with them since they were 15 years old and continue on with them after their marriage. Ryiah and Darren have grown up since their days of petty feuds and scuffles in the Academy. I loved seeing their relationship falter and vitalise as they are both thrust into burdens they were never meant to shoulder.Ryiah comes to understand the sacrifices Darren had previously allude to; the kind of sacrifices people in power have to make to save those who are powerless. One of the best things about this book was that Ryiah has finally grown to understand her limits and to better understand her own capabilities and what she can and can’t live with doing. And oh Darren. The black mage placed his faith on the brother that he swore to protect and the lowborn that he so loved, only to deceived by both for their own ends. *I think at this point you can actually hear my heart breaking* Darren’s character goes through the entire gamut of emotions and at times you just want to hug him or punch him. There’s a scene towards the middle of the book with him and Ryiah in the castle, and its heartbreaking to see him struggling to play the part of both the Black Mage and her husband. The supporting character were wonderful with the finale seeing unlikely character allying with each and Carter proving to us that ANY character can surprise you. As always, Alex was the brother I always wanted, Ian was his snarky beautiful self and Ella was (as Leslie Knope would say) a poetic and noble land-mermaid.I loved the insight into King Blayne as we see the resentfulness and greed that compelled the overarching villain to cripple Darren and Ryiah’s relationship and to adopt his tyranny. The Last Stand is absolutely unputdownable, because at each page you are faced with a hurdle so impossible that it would be criminal to put down the book and not find out what was going to happen next. The battle scenes are beautifully set. and Carter’s impeccable writing style makes it impossible not to become emotionally-invested in all the character. And I’m not exaggerating when I say the final battle scene in terms of setting and intensity will blow your mind. The ending was bittersweet and beautiful. It is definitely something that will be with me for awhile and the author did her characters justice. Part of me doesn’t want this series to end, but the other part couldn’t have asked for a better place to see their stories end. Last Stand was phenomenal and I can’t thank Carter enough for taking me on such an unforgettable magical adventure. I think in my last review I said that I was sure that the finale would make me want to carve the author’s face on the moon, I stand by this…and Rachel I’m just waiting for a rocketship. Also for those who haven’t had the opportunity to start this series, the first book, First Year is on sale for 99 cents in Amazon. So definitely go check it out!
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  • Zenki the Hermit
    January 1, 1970
    So this is me after the epilogue:-----------------------------------------------------------------------------There is something about reading stories where even though written in the first person perspective you still find yourself pausing, extracting the unwritten thoughts, trying to contemplate the actions of the characters and understanding their choices as if they were your own. You feel the embarrassment, the fear, the exhaustion, the hate, the affection, the power, the pain, and the passi So this is me after the epilogue:-----------------------------------------------------------------------------There is something about reading stories where even though written in the first person perspective you still find yourself pausing, extracting the unwritten thoughts, trying to contemplate the actions of the characters and understanding their choices as if they were your own. You feel the embarrassment, the fear, the exhaustion, the hate, the affection, the power, the pain, and the passion. You get to live their lives and actually imagine and believe you did a long time ago. There is something about Ryiah's character that made reading the book more than a simple action of flipping pages and eyeing the text. My soul extended itself to the book forever connecting to the lives inside and I don't feel that connection can ever be severed by anything.For five delightful days I lived her story. I felt ever word, every moment. I cried for Darren. I cried for Jerar. I cried for all the shattered hearts. And I cried for the ending so gloriously deserved.----------------------------------------------------------------------------
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  • Aidan Koch
    January 1, 1970
    First off, you can see my first hand reaction if you look at my status updates, (Sorry to anyone who was spammed at midnight). Oh my god guys. I finally finished this series, I finally finish The Black Mage, all 4 incredible books in this series and all I have to say is wow. What a good way to end a series. Truth be told, I went into this book a little bit scared, afraid that the ending might not be as good as I held my hopes up to be, a lot of YA books had great series, with terrible endings. T First off, you can see my first hand reaction if you look at my status updates, (Sorry to anyone who was spammed at midnight). Oh my god guys. I finally finished this series, I finally finish The Black Mage, all 4 incredible books in this series and all I have to say is wow. What a good way to end a series. Truth be told, I went into this book a little bit scared, afraid that the ending might not be as good as I held my hopes up to be, a lot of YA books had great series, with terrible endings. This book did not disappoint. This book managed to keep my on my toes, always having the pit of anxiety in my stomach. The action and fight scenes were amazing! Darren and Ryiah's relationship in this book had SO many difficulties, as you can expect and I literally cried during their final fight. This is all for my non spoiler section of the review.Now we can get into the good stuff *evil grin*So lets start at the beginning. I felt so bad for Ryiah at the beginning, it felt as if she was piled on with guilt and that was her only thought. They had some nice moments together like THE WOODS. OMG THE WOODS. And after that, they had some blissful days. That were short lived.Part of me hoped, hoped that Darren wouldn't react like a well... Darren. Then 42% came along on my kindle, and all hell broke loose. I was totally not expecting the key to the map to be a trap by Blayne. A part of me even thought that Ryiah would somehow power her way out of the situation. But no............... Darren and Blayne locked her in the dungeons. When Ryiah tried to explain herself to Darren, I literally was cringing so hard. All of her thoughts were coming out as a mess, everything was unorganized, and I knew, I knew that Darren wouldn't buy into Ryiah's story. Even though the truth stuck out. I was hit by SO MANY FEELS throughout the torture of Ryiah. I knew she would get rescued, in the end, but at what price? Then Darren started to torture Ryiah and the sorrow grew 100 times worse. One line that particularly stood out was:"'D-do it.' Tears stung my eyes. 'H-Hit me a-again. Just like your f-father.'"I MEAN HOLY CRAP THAT WAS THE BEST COMEBACK EVER. That must've hit Darren hard, and I admit, a small part of me drew satisfaction from her response. I wanted Ryiah to escape so badly, so they could have a proper duel.Then Paige came. DON'T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON PAIGE, SHE PROBABLY GREW TO SPOT NUMBER 1 FOR MY FAVORITE CHARACTERS IN THIS BOOK AND IT WASN'T MORE THAN 10% LATER THAT RACHEL KILLED PAIGE! I WAS LITERALLY CRYING ON THE INSIDE, AND WHEN SHE WROTE I BELIEVE IN YOU ON RYIAH'S ARM I WANTED TO BAWL OUT.Oh and she also killed Wolf. Rachel truly is a cruel person. I remember Rachel saying on a facebook live video that the only reason Rachel created Wolf in the first place was so she could kill him later. I swear to god I'm not making that up! I totally remember her saying that!Then Darren came in, sees Paige, Wolf, and Blayne on the floor all dead and I'm like "Ohhhh Crap........." I got so frustrated with Darren when he blamed it all on Ryiah. I could care less for him blaming Ryiah for Blayne because sure, to some extent Ryiah played a part in Blayne's death but when he blamed RYIAH for PAIGE'S death I was having a mini panic attack. Ryiah escaped fortunately, but at what cost?Blayne end's up dying, much to my satisfaction. I was literally doing a happy dance (no offense Darren). Then Mira died and I did the same thing except harder lol. I'm sorry, BUT YOU KILLED DERRICK, YOU DESERVE TO DIE. So reunion with Alex and Ella which was nice and all and Ian was sort of nice to see? The others were just... no. Luckily, Ryiah drugged them up the trek to the mountains so they could go for Darren. I was praying that Ella or Alex wouldn't die. They didn't and I loved that because if one of them died, I would have died, and it would not have been pretty. They managed to hold off multiple of the Kings mages (ha). Then the Cavern came. I knew, I knew the cavern would be were Ryiah and Darren dueled. Sure, the cover was a big spoiler and Rachel might have mentioned once or twice what the Cavern was. I got so scared. The duel happened and I'm not going to go into to much detail, you can read that part for yourself. But yeah, Ryiah seemed to be getting through to Darren, as he was basically beating her to death and she wasn't fighting back. But then Ryiah's friends came and I was like Awwwweeee can't she have a break? Ryiah closed them selves off which was sort of a mistake but in the end it helped. Then her last stand came, a reference as you can tell to the book title and I literally lost it OMG. When she plunged the knife into her heart and the chapter ended, I legit thought she was going to go all Veronica Roth on us killing Ryiah. My thought process: NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!When I turned the page, and saw the definition of Last stand, I thought she died. I know the story was still going on, but here's what I thought was going to happen...I thought Ryiah was going to die and the rest of the story was going to be told in Darren's POV. I actually thought that. I was so scared. She didn't die, and then Darren was on trial.Skip to the night of escape, she has lost her magic much to my dismay and she actually managed to save Darren! The goodbyes though. I was hit by EXTREME waves of nostalgia when she was saying goodbye to Ella. I mean think about it, she has come so far from being the 16 year old girl, set on being a combat mage all the way to this... losing everything. I felt... empty in my chest. She has come so far in her journey that it actually made me sad thinking about it. I came into the series not expected this emotional turmoil. Oh, and let me say, Priscilla is THE BEST. I actually hated her at the first book, but my gods, how that changed. And she ACTUALLY apologized to Ryiah, so mature of her that I felt myself loving her. We got a Darren's POV which was pretty cool, and if Darren would have killed himself I would scream at him, THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN SO SELFISH. They got a child though, Eve, a nice name and they finally moved back after 8 years to Jerar. AND NOW THEY ARE TEACHERS AT THE SCHOOL. The end, my review. I hoped you guys enjoyed this review! This was probably the longest one I have ever written! I hate to see this series go, but I'm excited to see her next book. Anyway, good bye.- Aidan
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  • Heather
    January 1, 1970
    Yes, yes we would All like to know!UPDATE: 11/25/15Still waiting.This is the longest wait ever! But it's okay...because.... I.FORGIVE.YOU. You hear me Rachel? I.FORGIVE.YOU. :D
  • MEL
    January 1, 1970
    BEST SERIES I'VE READ THIS YEAR.
  • Avy (Book Looney) ❄️
    January 1, 1970
    "The boy with the garnet eyes...The reckless girl...A non-heir....A lowborn....A boy and a girl."I can't. There have only been 2-3 series in my whole life that has made me so sad, so emotionally wrought that I don't even know what to do with my life, and Last Stand just joined those ranks. This series is a beautiful, emotional, disastrous, masterpiece. Ryiah's journey, from start to finish, touched my heart in a way I can't even describe. Reading is my great passion, and to read a series that cr "The boy with the garnet eyes...The reckless girl...A non-heir....A lowborn....A boy and a girl."I can't. There have only been 2-3 series in my whole life that has made me so sad, so emotionally wrought that I don't even know what to do with my life, and Last Stand just joined those ranks. This series is a beautiful, emotional, disastrous, masterpiece. Ryiah's journey, from start to finish, touched my heart in a way I can't even describe. Reading is my great passion, and to read a series that creates this kind of reaction from me, is why I live to read. The way Rachel developed this story, from the first page of First Year to the last page of Last Stand...it's incredible. Maybe I may be able to write a better review one day, but for right now, all I can say is thank you. Thank you Rachel Carter for creating the world of Jerar, for making this story and giving me the opportunity to read something this touching. I will hold this story close to my heart forever. I'll love you endlessly...
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  • L.R.W. Lee
    January 1, 1970
    Wow. Just wow. This was definitely an epic conclusion to this four book series. As conflict and plot go, it's been a very long time si nice I've seen characters put through everything Darren and Ryia were put through by Rachel Carter.This book took me from an improbable love and stretched it to its breaking point. I'll not spoil it by revealing whether it broke or triumphed, but let's just say the struggles were not for the "faint of heart". Carter put this couple through just about every trial Wow. Just wow. This was definitely an epic conclusion to this four book series. As conflict and plot go, it's been a very long time si nice I've seen characters put through everything Darren and Ryia were put through by Rachel Carter.This book took me from an improbable love and stretched it to its breaking point. I'll not spoil it by revealing whether it broke or triumphed, but let's just say the struggles were not for the "faint of heart". Carter put this couple through just about every trial a couple can endure. And I think you'll feel deeply for them for while our modern day struggles aren't exactly theirs, we can certainly identify. My heart is still hurting for them even the morning after I finished reading it.I won't iterate all the trials, but I have no worry you'll find the action non-stop and well developed characters. Carter did an amazing job wrapping up this series and I definitely recommend this read.
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  • Meg (Realm of the Reader)
    January 1, 1970
    One of the best conclusions I have ever read. Full review to come closer to the books release.I am dead inside. I am not usually one for conclusions, but this has been one of my favorite final installments to a series so far! The pure raw emotion in this book is so well written, and Ryiah has come so far as a main character. If you're looking for a series with an amazing magic system, lovable and loathable characters, and tons of action and adventure - The Black Mage series is for you, and Last One of the best conclusions I have ever read. Full review to come closer to the books release.I am dead inside. I am not usually one for conclusions, but this has been one of my favorite final installments to a series so far! The pure raw emotion in this book is so well written, and Ryiah has come so far as a main character. If you're looking for a series with an amazing magic system, lovable and loathable characters, and tons of action and adventure - The Black Mage series is for you, and Last Stand is as epic a conclusion as they come. THERE HAD BETTER BE A SPIN OFF SERIES SOME DAY.
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  • Jessica
    January 1, 1970
    Going into this, I knew that there would be heartbreak but wow, my appointment at the dentist to get my wisdom teeth removed was less painful than this.Last Stand was NOT a happy book. At all. There was maybe a span of 30 pages where I did not feel utterly hopeless and devastated. First, I was consumed by guilt and a nervous mess because I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. Then came the scene that turned my heart to ash and when the betrayals just kept coming and coming I started to wonde Going into this, I knew that there would be heartbreak but wow, my appointment at the dentist to get my wisdom teeth removed was less painful than this.Last Stand was NOT a happy book. At all. There was maybe a span of 30 pages where I did not feel utterly hopeless and devastated. First, I was consumed by guilt and a nervous mess because I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. Then came the scene that turned my heart to ash and when the betrayals just kept coming and coming I started to wonder why I ever thought picking this up was a good idea.My biggest issue with this series will always remain the world building, which was not as fleshed out as it could’ve been, IMO. However, the level of feelings this series elicited in me was off the charts crazy! There was one particular scene where I thought my family could actually hear my heart crack. I had big fat tears running down my cheeks, which really doesn’t happen that often. I get upset over books, sure, but not like this. What I liked best about this series in general were the characters and the story’s unpredictability. In several scenes I found myself expecting a different outcome.Rhyia is an admirable character who is willing to sacrifice everything for the greater good. She doesn’t drown in self-pity and she doesn’t whine, she’s fucking strong and badass. And Darren, my beautiful, broken anti-hero. My heart broke for - and because of him and even though I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to forgive him completely, he’ll always hold a special place in my heart.Now friends, this spoiler tag is the real deal so please, if you’re planning on reading this series, do not click on it. (view spoiler)[This book was pure agony, wasn’t it? For one, Rhyia’s guilt was eating me alive and I felt so unbelievably sorry for Darren. When her cover blew and they tortured her for information I was a mess, but when Darren tortured her, I was absolutely livid. I cried so hard and hated him so much, while at the same time feeling so fucking sorry for him. And it just kept getting worse and worse. At one point I thought it would be better for both of them to just die at the end because I honestly couldn’t see how they’d ever be ok after all of this.Now, about that ending. I’m a big fan of HEAs, I need them, actually, especially if the author tortured me like R.E. Carter did but that epilogue was a bit much, no? Let them escape and sail into the sunset, fine, but have them find a cure for a plague, be pardoned and then become teachers at the academy? It was too much. And I just couldn’t see prideful Darren be a measly teacher in a country where everyone knows who he is and what he’s done. I’m also not sure if it’s really possible to forgive your husband for first standing by while others torture you and then forgiving him for torturing you himself. For not believing in you. For threatening your family and trying to kill your brother. And damn you, Rachel, for making Darren do all these horrible things. He already endured so much only to end up the villain in the end. Well, almost until the end. He was never 100% evil and he saved Rhyia eventually just like she saved him. That was beautiful and I actually think I could’ve accepted them dying together. (hide spoiler)]
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  • Kalla [A Bookish Nerd]
    January 1, 1970
    I'm going to be honest. This series should have been published by a Big Five. It's THAT good. The problem with the Big Five in YA is that they often publish the same books over and over. A protagonist that is boring and all things cliche (beautiful but doesn't know it, instantly falls in love with the love interest, has special powers but never has to work for it, etc). I'm so over books like that. When will the Big Five publish books that are worth the publicity and marketing? When will they pi I'm going to be honest. This series should have been published by a Big Five. It's THAT good. The problem with the Big Five in YA is that they often publish the same books over and over. A protagonist that is boring and all things cliche (beautiful but doesn't know it, instantly falls in love with the love interest, has special powers but never has to work for it, etc). I'm so over books like that. When will the Big Five publish books that are worth the publicity and marketing? When will they pick books like Rachel E. Carter's The Black Mage series? Because, let me tell you, this series is definitely worth the reward of being in bookstores everywhere. Not just online, but on a bookshelf in B&N, Target, Walmart, etc. Not only does Rachel E. Carter deserve it.. people should be exposed to this series because it's just that freaking good. I don't know everything but I do know what I'm talking about here. If you read Candidate (which I hope you did), you know that the book ended cliffhanger-ish. I was so ready to read Last Stand after finishing Candidate but had to wait. Anyone who knows me knows that I hate cliffhangers. But, I have to admit, it worked. I wanted to pick up the last book in the series. So when Last Stand came out, I downloaded it immediately and began reading. Let me just start by saying that this book is dark. The last three book have had some dark elements but this book went far beyond that. Last Stand was powerful, captivating, and full of darkness. Halfway through the book, I had no idea how this book was going to end. The scenes were awfully dark with little reprieve, and I loved it. I love not knowing if there's going to be a happily ever after. It makes the happy ending (or lack of) much more powerful when you don't see it coming. Anyways, Ryiah is finally married to Darren and now a princess. After everything they've been through, this should be their happy ending. But, if you read Candidate, you know that's not the case. In order to save her people, Ryiah must betray the one person she loves the most. A large portion of this book is Ryiah spying for the rebels and trying to swallow the grief and shame of betraying the one she loves. The anticipation of her getting caught (which I was almost sure that she would) was overwhelming. I won't give any spoilers but you can imagine what's going to happen here. Like I said, this is a dark book, so use your imagination. The rawness of this book when compared to the others is extraordinary. The desperate, never-ending love that Ryiah and Darren share is amazing to me. It's fun to go back to the first book and look at how much they have changed and grew together as individuals and as a couple. In Last Stand, their love is finally put to the final test. While the romance is one of my favorite parts of this series, I can't overlook the plot and writer's craft. Everything - every book in this series - is leading up to this one. Rachel did a great job sequencing events and making sure that the plot is smooth and without holes. I can't even begin to describe how amazing the plot is in this book. It's wild. Rachel's writing became better with each book and by Last Stand her writing is just as good - if not better - as some Big Five authors. See how I keep mentioning Big Five? Ugh. This book and its predecessors need to be on bookshelves. For future readers: You're in for a ride. Get your tissues ready. Take a deep breath. Jump in.
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  • Shazy
    January 1, 1970
    5 Endless love stars God Last stand was so good, I could marry it, love it, eat it. Some authors should definitely take notes on how to end a series! Speechless. So amazing.
  • G.K. DeRosa
    January 1, 1970
    I could not put the books in this series down! I read all four in a little over a week which is an amazing feat for me. The author had me so sucked into Ry and Darren's story that I found myself thinking about them throughout my day!! The characters are masterfully brought to life - you feel every stab, every heartbreak both physically and emotionally. I found myself reeling, gasping and my heart constricting for the seemingly doomed couple. I was so pleased with the ending, I was really worried I could not put the books in this series down! I read all four in a little over a week which is an amazing feat for me. The author had me so sucked into Ry and Darren's story that I found myself thinking about them throughout my day!! The characters are masterfully brought to life - you feel every stab, every heartbreak both physically and emotionally. I found myself reeling, gasping and my heart constricting for the seemingly doomed couple. I was so pleased with the ending, I was really worried there wasn't going to be a happily ever after for the lowborn and the non-heir. Amazing story Ms. Carter - I am truly impressed even though you almost stopped my heart a few times!
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  • Jaime (Two Chicks on Books)
    January 1, 1970
    My goodness! This series was flipping fantastic! I did not want it to end! This was the perfect finale for this series and I know I'll be re-reading all 5 books from time to time. Rachel Carter has a way with words and world building and romance, swoons! I can't wait to see what she comes up with next!
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