Author: Ella J. Smyth
“My name is Amber Whitman, and I’m seventeen years old. After a fatal accident last month, the government decided my magic is too dangerous to be around normal people.
So where does that leave me? At the Second Chance Academy, with three moody men, one grumpy cat, and a life sentence for murder.
But things are not as they seem. My survival may depend on learning quickly who to trust and who to run from.”
Second Chance Fate is a story if X-men takes place in a more traditional high school setting. Our main character, Amber Whitman, is our Rogue, where one day her powers are discovered and she is taken to an academy for other gifted individuals. She is different than those around her, but she is special and is continued to be told this (just like Rogue following the X-men film series). Overtime, she has to work at not only finding out the types of powers that she possesses, but also how to control them. This novel sets up for what seems to be a fun journey through Amber’s time at the academy and how she’ll come into her own.
Amber Whitman is seventeen years old. She exits her regular high school one day and finds herself in a rogue lightning storm. She finds an overly large cat, who she adopts and names Slug as he ends up being seemingly lazy – Personally, I never warmed up to this name, but most people probably wouldn’t agree with some of my pet names (Azula and Zuko) – the cat ends up being with her the whole story, but doesn’t really get much of a story. Hopefully in the next novel in the series, there’s more to Slug and Amber’s relationship as there wasn’t much in this one (Slug has his own novels – Hellcat Anthology).
Upon arriving home, Sheriff Webster shows up at her door to see her. She turns out to be the cause of the storm and caused severe damage to people and property without ever realizing that the power was coming from her. She is arrested and whisked away to the Farkas Academy for Magical Advancement (aka Second Chance Academy) without being told any details about what was actually going on. She wasn’t given time to pack, told where she was going, or what she was doing once she arrived. No one even told her how to feed herself or told her how she was supposed to get clothes! This reminded of the times in Harry Potter where everyone around Harry knew what was going on at times, but Harry was left clueless and people couldn’t always understand why he was becoming so frustrated at being left in the dark. Amber finds herself in a similar situation to Harry where every other student knows the drill for getting by and Amber continuously has to play catch-up to try and figure out what is happening. It just didn’t seem like a well-run place when they didn’t tell her anything and make sure she was set up when she arrived. You’d think with this academy running for years, they would have some kind of system down for arrivals similar to Amber.
This academy follows a high-school setting where students attend different classes, eat in a cafeteria, attend balls/dances, and live in on-campus dorms (this last one wasn’t at my high school, but I know others that had them). Each class has topics where students learn to control their powers and also observe the powers of their fellow students (for me, there was way too much of having one student “perform” in front of the class during each session as it seems counterproductive to continuously focus on one student at a time and just have the other students in the class watch).
Amber meets not one, but two boys, who she starts romantic relationships with to form their own version of a throuple. Our first male is Julian, a “goth” with darker hair and black lipstick. There is also Kiernan, a blond male, who originally is from Ireland. There is also hints of other boys could possibly could become love interests, as well, but only by reading the subsequent novels can readers know for sure. The inclusive of polyamorous relationships and bi-characters are fantastic to read about as they are mostly left out of romance novels despite many people identifying with either of them. They are both well-written into the story to bring some normalcy to a “non-traditional” romantic relationship. There are tons of people that can identify with one or either and it’s nice to find a novel expanding beyond the male-female relationship.
There’s a lot of content to describe the magical world and how there is a divide between those with powers and those without and a prejudice that exists – even Amber’s parents aren’t fans of those with powers. There is also a divide in the magical community between those born with magic and those who came into it later in life. Again, this reminded me of X-men as you have three groups who are all seemingly against each other because the other group is different and all believing that they are either superior or in the right. There’s some set-up in this story of Amber being very powerful and there are those that trying to get rid of her, but it seems to be this will be further explored in the following stories.
Overall, this a fun quick read in what seems to be a promising series. I’m curious how everything will turn out as this novel was a lot of set-up to introduce the characters, the magical world, and the academy. There’s a lot that happened, yet there are still many questions that still need to be answered and I can’t wait to read the next novel to find out what happens next. It was a great start to the series and time will tell if it’s a series worth considering as it is impossible to tell fully based just on the first novel. I would definitely recommend this for those who want an easy read with non-traditional romances along-side a new magical world.
**Thank you to BookSirens and the publisher for my review copy to read. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**