3.5 stars. This is the second book in The Black Mage series. I enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed reading the first book. It was really hard to put down and I found myself staying up into the wee hours of the night to finish it.
While First Year spanned only the first year of Ryiah's mage training, Apprentice covers 4 years. This resulted in some parts feeling rushed, and a lot of time jumps. It felt inconsistent with the pace of the first book. There was more time spent on characters and interactions in First Year. This time around we got less of that and more world building. I would have liked to have seen both. I thought the first half of the book was better paced than the second.
While I mostly liked Ryiah in this book, I will say that I hated the way she treated Ian. The back and forth roller coaster romance stuff got annoying at times, and I feel like it took over the second half of the book too much. The love-hate relationship with Darren continued and I loved that I was kept guessing about him, although I did have him figured out eventually. I just don't think what he did to Ryiah was necessary though, and I don't care what reasoning there was behind it in the book. He could have explained what he was trying to do
Overall I'm enjoying this series a lot and am looking forward to the next two books.