REVIEW: Discern by Andrea Pearson

Discern Book Cover Discern
Katon University
Andrea Pearson
Young Adult
294

Nicole Williams is an Arete—a fourth child with magical abilities—yet no matter how hard she tries, she can’t Channel her power. In fact, she seems to be the only student at Katon University who fails at magic.

That doesn’t stop magic from finding her. It starts with possessed books and cursed spiders before moving quickly to freaky shadows and magical currents. Nicole turns to her best friend for help, along with fellow student Austin Young, who is considered by all a magical rarity. He also happens to be the hottest guy on campus and just might be interested in her.

Nicole soon finds herself competing to be included on a university-led expedition to Arches National Park. She is determined to show everyone, but mostly herself, that she does belong. Yet, to qualify for the trip, she must produce at least a speck of Wind magic, and that appears to be impossible.

As the competition progresses, Nicole wonders if she’s making the right choice—especially when she learns that the strange fossils they’ll be studying in Arches might not be as dead as everyone thinks.

I received a copy of Discern by Andrea Pearson in exchange for a review and my honest opinion. 

Discern was set in a universe just like ours, except that the fourth child born to a family is born an Arete – born with magical powers. It was a fascinating concept, and immediately intrigued me. Arete’s begin to show their power at around age sixteen, and can choose to attend magical universities where they can hone their focus. Their hair will change colour, to mark which power they possess.

Nicole is an Arete, and in Discern begins her studies at Katon University. Newly blonde, and with wind power, Nicole struggles to focus her magic at all, but that doesn’t stop her from being drawn into danger as magical objects keep appearing in her bag, and her professor leads an expedition to investigate a series of disappearances at an ancient site. Instead of a study trip, the expedition turns into a fight for survival.

I loved the premise of this book, and the characters. The idea was fascinating, and I was keen to learn more about the history of Aretes, and how they fit into the world. I also wanted to know more about the mythology surrounding the creatures that Nicole and her friends battle on their expedition. However, Pearson stopped short of providing that information. I’m not sure whether more will become clear as the series progresses, but I sure hope so! Without those details, the story felt a little forced – Nicole was thrown headlong into a whirlwind series of events, but as the reader, I didn’t really feel like everything fit together.

This book played on my mind for days after I finished reading it. Despite the holes in the world building, I’m excited to read the next instalment, with the hope that Pearson settles in and the sequel is more meaty.

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