The Story So Far: Shadow Grail Series – Mercedes Lackey & Rosemary Edghill

Welcome to our new feature on WLP: The Story So Far, where we will review all the books currently available in a series all at once! A special thanks to Rachel at Parajunkee Designs for the wicked banner!

 

Book One: Legacies

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • List Price: $9.99
  • Publisher: Tor Teen; First Edition edition (July 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765317613
Buy Legacies at:

Who—or what—is stalking the students at Oakhurst Academy?

In the wake of the accident that killed her family, Spirit White is spirited away to Oakhurst Academy, a combination school and orphanage in the middle of Montana. There she learns she is a legacy—not only to the school, which her parents also attended, but to magic.

All the students at Oakhurst have magical powers, and although Spirit’s hasn’t manifested itself yet, the administrators insist she has one. Spirit isn’t sure she cares. Devastated by the loss of her family, she finds comfort with a group of friends: Burke Hallows, Lachlann Spears, Muirin Shae, and Adelaide Lake.

But something strange is going on at Oakhurst. Students start disappearing under mysterious circumstances, and the school seems to be trying to cover it up. Spirit and her friends must find out what’s happening—before one of them becomes the next victim…

Book Two: Conspiracies
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Teen; First Edition edition (July 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765328232
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765328236
Buy Conspiracies at:

Spirit and her friends Burke, Loch, Muirin, and Addie have managed to defeat the evil force that has been killing students at Oakhurst Academy for the past forty years—or so they think. When a series of magical attacks disrupts the school, Doctor Ambrosius calls upon alumnus Mark Rider to secure the campus—and start training the students for war. The only student without magic, Spirit doesn’t trust Mark or his methods. She knows that Oakhurst isn’t safe. And if Spirit and her friends want to live long enough to graduate, they have to find out what is really going on—before it’s too late.

The Story So Far…..

Spirit and her family are on their way home when the unthinkable happens, a car accident that leaves all her family dead. When she wakes up, she is told that she is going to a combination orphanage/boarding school. This is also the time she learns that she is a Legacy, not only did her parents attend Oakhurst but she is also a legacy to their magic. Magic she didn’t know her parents had, or that she apparently has.

She befriends fellow students Loch, Muirin, Addie & Burke, but there is something fishy going on at Oakhurst. In book one, students are going missing under very mysterious circumstances. In book two, all sorts of magical attacks are happening.

By the end of book two, Spirit still hasn’t discovered whatever her magical talent is. Come on now, book one I could understand but by the end of book two? I get the anticipation of finding out what she is, but we have to remember this is a YA series and the plot alone isn’t enough for me to want to continue to book three unless I am guaranteed to find out what Spirit’s magic is!

There is a bit of a romance going on between Spirit and Burke, but both are shy. By the end of book two it’s still a “new” relationship that really hasn’t been established. And don’t get me started on Muirin, by the middle of book two I was wishing I could climb through the pages and strangle her. You know I love snark and sarcasm more then the average person, but Muirin is just plain rude. Even to people she considers friends!

My major issue is that by book two, Spirit is still trying to convince her friends that something isn’t right at Oakhurst, yet they all think it’s okay to party and ignore her. At some points they are extremely mean and rude to her, yet she accepts their apology like it didn’t effect her. For someone who is so strong in other aspects, this came as a disappointment to me. She can stand up to evil, but not be blunt about the mistreatment she receives from friends? Blah.

What we do find out by book two is that Oakhurst and it’s students have some sort of weird replay of King Arthur, hence the series name “Shadow Grail”. I really didn’t pick up on that in book one, but in book two it became clear. The mythology behind it kind of bored me, because I don’t know the history enough for it to make “sense” to me.

I give the series as a whole, 3 Stars. It drags a little bit too much for my liking, when things should be happening at rapid fire, they slow down a bit much. And really, if I don’t find out what Spirit’s magic is by mid-book three, I think that might be the end of my reading of this series.

Comments
  • Emilia September 9, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    This is such a great idea. I have a few series that I started reading only to drop them when the plot fizzles out by book 3. I don’t care for YA but I’ll be looking for the next “the story so far”.

    • Wicked Lil Pixie September 9, 2011 at 9:59 pm

      Thanks! I loved the idea when it popped into my head, I always see odd numbers of a series reviewed. I want to be able to see them all at once to judge if its worth the start

  • Jimzle April 13, 2012 at 1:28 am

    I can understand your frustration, but if Spirits magic comes out too soon she would become more of a target and if you notice her friends were most rude when they were wearing their rings as Spirit noticed. It seems the rings have some sort of influence on how the students see things and lulls them into a false sense of security. At least that’s what I got out of it, I also could NOT put either book down. Clearly we had different experiences while reading it lol! Nice review though!

  • greenlily May 22, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    I agree with the above commenter that Spirit’s friends’ rudeness/coldness often coincides with their wearing the rings. I especially agree with it because it’s a device Mercedes Lackey uses in a number of her other stories, particularly the Valdemar books. “Oh, [Character We're Supposed To Like] has been acting like a complete jerk, but it’s not his fault! Something magical made him do it!”

    Personally, I think it’s not very good writing. It suggests that Lackey doesn’t trust her readers to be able to cope with ‘good’ characters who have flaws.

  • bluebetty June 20, 2012 at 11:43 pm

    Just finished reading the books. Love your idea to cover all the books of a series! One comment, though. Isn’t it obvious that Spirit’s gift is the one element she was named for – Spirit!? They only mention four elements in the books, and she has no affiliation for any. Obviously, she’s the fifth element in magical lore. It explains how she immediately knows whether to trust someone or not, why she sees through the mind control & is less susceptible to the fear, and perhaps even why she is SO forgiving of her friends. It might even be part of what she felt flowing through her at that last bonfire.

  • LaynaGreene November 14, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    bluebetty
    Just finished reading the books. Love your idea to cover all the books of a series! One comment, though. Isn’t it obvious that Spirit’s gift is the one element she was named for – Spirit!? They only mention four elements in the books, and she has no affiliation for any. Obviously, she’s the fifth element in magical lore. It explains how she immediately knows whether to trust someone or not, why she sees through the mind control & is less susceptible to the fear, and perhaps even why she is SO forgiving of her friends. It might even be part of what she felt flowing through her at that last bonfire.

    These were my thoughts EXACTLY. And with the parallels to King Arthur, the whole time I was reading, I was trying to figure out “who” Spirit was. Addie, Loch, and Burke are pretty obvious to me, Muirnin is a little less clear. Hopefully we get more info about Spirit’s magic in the third book, because as was said previously, I don’t think YA readers will hang on through it much longer without knowing that about their protagonist.

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