Book Review: ‘DarkSkull Hall’ by Lisa Cassidy

Title: DarkSkull Hall (The Mage Chronicles Book 1)

Published: 4th December 2016

Publisher: Tate House

Author: Lisa Cassidy


Twitter: @LCass_writes




Dive into the first book of epic young adult fantasy series The Mage Chronicles…

DarkSkull Hall. Secretive, gloomy and wreathed in magic. A place where young men and women with magic are turned into mages… if they survive the training.

When Alyx Egalion is sent there just after her sixteenth birthday, she despairs. Nobody at DarkSkull cares that she’s the daughter of Rionn’s most powerful and wealthy lord, or that she’s practically betrothed to the future king, her best friend Cayr.

Trapped there by her father’s order for a full year, all she wants is to get back home to Cayr and her friends. Yet surviving DarkSkull is no easy task, and unable to access her magic, Alyx has nothing but her growing friendship with a handful of DarkSkull’s other misfits and her own wits to rely on.

And the longer she spends at DarkSkull, the more she discovers about the terrible secrets that hide her true past—secrets that challenge everything she’s ever believed in. Outside DarkSkull, the shadows are gathering and a long held peace begins to crack… could Alyx’s long-buried magic be the one thing that saves them all?

Book 2 of The Mage Chronicles – Taliath – is available at

Book 3 of The Mage Chronicles – Darkmage – is available at



Mystery and magic coming together to create an interesting adventure for Alyx – not that she really wants it. Just give her time though, she’ll soon show everyone just what she can do.

Alyx was separated from her brother and mother at the age of five all in the name of protecting her. From what she has no idea, she just has to trust that her father and his powerful friends (Astor her godfather and the kings lord-mage along with the king himself to name a few) will keep her safe from dangers that circle. The thing is she has no memory of any of this, so it could come back to haunt her and her father. Safe for a time in Rionn maybe but you know is soon to change.

Alyx seems to have had a life of luxury with growing up in Rionn. Doesn’t hurt that her best friend Cayr just happens to be the Prince. Things are changing between them though, playing alone at five is one thing but now they are older people are going to talk. Stolen kisses from newfound declarations should have been the start of something great but when the new lord-mage Casovar comes to town he causes her world to be turned upside down. And that’s not the only thing to worry about with the uneasy truce between Rionn and Shivasa on thin ice. The only way to protect Rionn is to have powerful mages keeping a watchful eye, but new mages have been few and far between.

Seems Alyx has always had the potential to become a mage – not that she knew – as her mother was one and when Casovar sees her he sees potential. To become a mage she needs to be sent to DarkSkull Hall and well if the king has ordered it there is nothing her father can do to stop it. The trip to get there is over land near enemy borders and even with 20 warrior bluecoat guards you know trouble to going to follow them. She’ll give them a year to see if her magic comes out, if not then she can come home, but she needs to at least try. So Alyx, along with a set of twins, Finn and Dawn, are off to DarkSkull Hall. Dawn’s power has awakened so its good odds Finn’s will too, whether they want their gifts is another matter entirely.

The journey there might at first seem to create the most trouble and danger when they get into the disputed area but that will soon be a thing of the past. They get a bit too close to comfort to the Lord of Widow Falls – claimed to be a mad old man – but instead encounter his son Ladan. His men might have got them out of a sticky spot but he has a mysterious air about him. The fact he wishes to go to DarkSkull Hall with them to train causes a bit of concern. What are his true motives? Is he really just trying to protect her? Didn’t take me too long to figure out who he might be, well written all the same.

Now this is a school where titles mean nothing so Alyx is going to have to learn things the hard way. Let’s see how she gets on – not well I’m thinking. Alyx, Dawn and Finn are the new kids on the block and will have to work together to make it through. Let’s see if they can make some new friends, and not enemies, along the way. Master Howell, Brynn and Tarrick would be a good start. Fengel and Galien on the other hand would be a no. Starts to get going a bit more when they are actually at DarkSkull starting their training. Alyx may not think she has magic but I’m guessing it’s going to come out in a big way just in the nick of time. Bullies are one thing but are they the only threat that’s coming her way? Who is really on her side and who is looking out for themselves? With memories taken I wonder if she can create a spell to get them back. They could fill in a lot of blanks.

Funny how much she changed but didn’t realize until she went home. What she liked to do and talk/gossip about now bores her. She just wanted her friends from school. Expect a big blow out with her father when she demands some answers. A little slow to start but picks up more when Alyx has been at the school a while. Twists and turns along the way. Secrets and lies mixed with mage magic. The place she doesn’t want to be at might just be the place she’s meant to be to find her true self.

4 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from Tate House Books for my honest review.

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