The third book in The Royal Institute of Magic series, Ben and his friends continue their apprenticeship while trying to find the helm and its Guardian. I enjoyed this newest instalment and the new characters introduced. Not only are they trying to find another piece of the armour and study but the trio must also deal with a mysterious new student and the threat of a Dark Elf attack.

Now at the second grade of the apprenticeship, Ben and Charlie are enrolled at a local Prep where the Institue enrols their students during the day. It’s pretty clever. The school is aware of the magical world and takes that into consideration whilst teaching their students. They even a have a no Spellshooter rule. In the afternoon they travel to the Institute for their apprenticeship. It really shows how the Institute thinks of everything their people might need, even the apprentices.

At the Institute, Ben meets a new apprentice, Aran, who somehow manages to skip grade one altogether. He’s handsome and charming and becomes popular almost instantly, especially with the girls. ¬†It’s clear he has some kind of agenda but Ben can’t figure out what. Many YA novels have a mean popular kid to torment the protagonist but Aran was an interesting take on it. He’s not only handsome with a charming facade but it’s clear his agenda is more than your average teenager. I think he’s going to be a big part later on, like maybe a spy or a secret agent for the Dark Elves.

This time around finding the Guardian and their piece of armour isn’t going to be so easy. Not only do they have to locate the Guardian (who doesn’t know anything about magic) and find the armour but they must persuade¬†the three Protectors to trust them. The Protectors are new, a trio of adults who protect the Guardian and the location of the armour piece. It’s a smart system, especially for young Guardians raised without knowledge of the magical world. They keep any threats from the Guardian and decide when or if to tell the Guardian and retrieve the armour. Since the Guardians are so important and so few, it makes sense to guard them against any potential danger. I wasn’t sure why we didn’t read about it before.

For weeks the illegal Unseens being captured by Institute have been warning of an impending attack. They even provided a countdown. A great ploy by the Dark Elves to get in their enemies’ heads. As the date draws closer Institute members are panicked, running to and fro trying to prepare for the attack. It’s about time we saw how the Institute handles the threat of immediate war. I won’t spoil it, but the twist of the attack was very entertaining and I definitely was not expecting that!

There was plenty of action in this book. Ben and his friends endured many fights and managed to come through alright. There was even an aerial chase! I’m still enjoying this series and I give it 5/5.


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