Jacob Evans doesn’t have very much going for him. His mother’s dead, his father routinely leaves for months at a time, and he hasn’t seen his best friend Emilia in four years. In The Tethering by Megan O’Russell, Jacob doesn’t have much to lose when he’s abruptly pulled into a world filled with magic, a whole new set of rules, and most importantly: his best friend again. What he could definitely do without though is this slowly building war amongst the magical community that he’s about to find himself pulled smack dab in the middle of.
In her debut novel, it’s clear that Megan O’Russell definitely has talent when it comes to writing. The Tethering is a quick and enjoyable read that offers a fresh new take on a magical school. The concept of there being one large magical school and also much smaller schools run by individual clans is an intriguing one and not one I’ve seen before and the characters are, for the most part, individuals who fulfill more than basic trope roles. I particularly liked the talisman concept instead of magic casting being played straight with just wands or else unaided casting. O’Russell builds this magical world as the plot goes along; there’s not much in terms of exposition dumps which is quite nice. That said, there are definitely times where it’s reminiscent of Harry Potter (a motherly red haired witch named Molly?) but it does enough to establish itself that I didn’t really mind.