Book Blog: Mary Quirk and the Secret of Umbrum Hall (Dark Lessons #1) by Anna St. Vincent

Posted by on Oct 2, 2020 in Blog, book blog | 0 comments

I review everything I read and post reviews on Goodreads and LibraryThing. That’s not enough. Good books are meant to be shared. Therefore, I’m spotlighting some of my favorite reads here on my site.

mary quirk

Mary Quirk and the Secret of Umbrum Hall (Dark Lessons #1) by Anna St. Vincent

out now in paperback and ebook; available from B&N and Amazon [affiliate link]

I received a gratis galley of this book for review.

Mary Quirk and the Secret of Umbrum Hall starts off a new YA series in fun fashion. After reading several intense, dark adult books in a row, I had no idea how much I needed THIS book until I was already immersed–and that immersion happened within a few pages of the start. There was just something delightful about an entrance to a magical school found via a portal in a rural Oklahoma farmhouse. Plus, Mary is an easy character to relate to–a goth with family drama she’d rather forget about, and who really wants to get good grades and become better at her fire magic.

The whole cast is great, really. The book follows the familiar trope of the start of the school year with new classes and social dynamics, plus magical twists. One of the many eye-rolling things about Harry Potter (because such comparisons are unavoidable with any magic school novel now) is the whole instant-enemies thing. In Mary Quirk’s world, her schoolmates and teachers are quite nuanced. She is, too. She starts out the book with some very set biases but learns and matures. The magic in the book is fun, as is the gradual exploration of the school grounds. Umbrum Hall is hiding more than one secret, that’s for sure!

I look forward to reading more in this series. This is the cozy YA fantasy escape from reality that I need right now.

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