Every flame begins with a spark.
Blackwood Academy was supposed to be a fresh start for Ashline Wilde. A secluded boarding school deep in the heart of California’s redwood forests, three thousand miles from her old life—it sounded like the new beginning she needed after an act of unspeakable violence left a girl in her hometown dead. But Blackwood is far from the peaceful haven Ashline was searching for. Because terrifying, supernatural beasts roam the forests around campus. Because the murderer from Ashline’s hometown—her own sister—has followed her across the country. Because a group of reincarnated gods and goddesses has been mysteriously summoned to Blackwood...and Ashline’s one of them.
Knight's debut novel is an edgy twist on the magical boarding school theme. Ash Wilde, 16, is a Polynesian girl adopted, along with her biological sister, Eve, by an American family. A catfight over a philandering boyfriend ends with a warrant for Eve's arrest and Ash's banishment to Blackwood Academy, 3,000 miles from home. There she meets Ade, Lily, Serena, Raja, and Rolfe, a rainbow coalition of sorts united under the influence of Serena. Each teen has a godlike ability except for Ash, who has only memories of her sister's horrifying rage and strength. Ash would rather play tennis and flirt with park ranger Colt Halliday, but she can't deny her affinity for the strange events and visions associated with Serena. Despite cherry-picking gods and goddesses from around the globe, Knight doesn't delve too deeply into any of the mythology he makes use of, and his heroes feel a little Captain Planet in their studious diversity. Not that it much matters: it's a fun, well-written, and engaging read with a last-sentence twist that suggests a sequel is all but inevitable. Ages 14 up.