A school for children with magical abilities. Sounds like Hogwarts, but AUA has its own unique plot with a memorable cast of characters.


The Otherworld is at war. The Academy for the Unbreakable Arts trains warriors. And Kelcie Murphy—a foster child raised in the human world—is dying to attend.

A place at AUA means meeting Scáthach, the legendary trainer of Celtic heroes. It means learning to fight with a sword. It means harnessing her hidden powers and—most importantly—finding out who her parents are, and why they abandoned her in Boston Harbor eight years ago.

When Kelcie tests into the school, she learns that she’s a Saiga, one of the most ancient beings in the Otherworld. Secretive, shunned, and possessed of imposing elemental powers, the Saiga are also kin to the Otherworld’s most infamous traitor.

But Kelcie is a survivor, and she’ll do whatever it takes to find her parents and her place in their world. Even if that means making a few enemies.


This first book in the series covers year one at the Academy in 34 fast paced chapters. Readers get a full understanding of Kelcie’s past, present, and near future. Thankfully, there are no intense cliff hangers. A fresh continuation will occur when book 2 is released.

The third person narration stays close to Kelcie. It all begins at the at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts where she is is kidnapped and sent to a non-human world and a very unique school.

Kelcie is the only student who arrives without any prior knowledge as to why she is there. In order to gain entrance you have to cross a nasty acting bridge or be sent home. Yes, Kelcie makes it as do others. They are assigned to units (called a Fianna) of 4 students. They live together and as a group partake in training and trials to enhance their magical skills.

Fantasy and friendship are intertwined into a winning formula. Of course it doesn’t hurt to have action, danger and mystery thrown in to keep the pages turning. The twist and reveals will keep you reading way past bedtime.

It’s great to have another fantasy series to recommend and Kelcie Murphy and the Academy for the Unbreakable Arts is a welcome addition to the shelves.


Five more Things to Like About: Kelcie Murphy and the Academy of Unbreakable Arts by Erika Lewis

  1. The magical characters are introduced into the world building scenes and doing so makes them more than memorable. There are GRAPPLER EELS; GRINDYLOWS who are pond dwelling,unfriendly creatures—especially to children; SPRIGGANS, a woodland creature from Cornish mythology whose sap has healing powers.; and TROLLS, FAIRIES, and GOBLINS.
  2. Kelcie’s tough nature is equaled by classmate Brona. These two girls see each other in an entirely different way by the end. A marvelous twist.
  3. The other interesting character in my reading was Niall. He is a a sweet young boy who is Kelcie’s first friend. He’s missing one hand but is out to prove he can survive better than anyone else.
  4. Celtic mythology is a fascinating component of the tale.
  5. I was getting a little bit confused with all the new terminology. That is until I discovered in the back pages a handy glossary. You could even read this first as an introduction to the world you are about to enter.


Erika Lewis grew up in Alexandria, Virginia, spent summers with her grandparents in Worcester, Massachusetts, and currently lives in Los Angeles, California. With a passion for storytelling set in magical places, she spends as much time as she can traveling. When she’s not writing, she can generally be found scribbling notes in a blank book while wondering through abandoned buildings, all kinds of museums, and graveyards. A graduate of Vanderbilt University, her list of credits straddles the comics and novel space, including Game of Shadows from Macmillan’s Tor Books, Firebrand and Acursian from Legendary Comics, #Guardian from Awesome Media & Entertainment, and The 49th Key from Heavy Metal Publishing. The Color of Dragons (HarperCollins), her debut novel for young adults, published in Fall 2021. 

Visit her website at

Twitter: @ErikaElyLewis

Facebook: @TheErikaLewis

Instagram: @erikaelylewis

TikTok: @erikalewisauthor

Goodreads: Erika Lewis | Goodreads


I received a copy of the book in exchange for my honest critique. Please comment below!

About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
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11 Responses to KELCIE MURPHY and the ACADEMY for the UNBREAKABLE ARTS

  1. I’ve seen this cover before and have been intrigued. This sounds like a fantasy series I’d like.

  2. This sounds like a story I would really enjoy, nice seeing the Irish mythology references (eg the Fianna) so one for my TBR. Thanks for the review!

  3. Thanks for this review. I received a copy of this book but haven’t had a chance to read it yet. Now, I’m looking forward to it. Sounds like an interesting fantasy.

  4. Sue Heavenrich says:

    Celtic tales spun into a fantasy – cool! Looks like one I need to read.

  5. I have so many fantasy books and so few readers for it that I decided to pass on this one. Great review– I also share your confusion with some fantasy elements!

  6. Love the cover! Checked out the author’s website and now I’m reading her Webtoon, Firebrand, which looks great so far! I’m also very curious about her YA dragon novel that she co-wrote with R. A. Salvatore. This might be a new favourite author!

  7. Andrea Mack says:

    This sounds like it dives into an intriguing other world kids will enjoy!

  8. I love that Erika is incorporates Celtic mythology into her fantasy novel. It’s a great way to present mythology in an exciting way to young people. I plan to check this one out because I am Irish. And I’ve read early Celtic history. The opening reminds me a bit of Keeper of the Lost Cities with the kidnap. Thanks for sharing. Found Karen Yingling’s comment interesting — are middle grade students not interested in fantasy?

  9. carolbaldwin says:

    This definitely sounds like a great book. Celtic mythology is an added bonus!

  10. I like the idea of the Celtic mythology, but fantasy isn’t really my passion. I’m sure a lot of kids will enjoy this though. Thanks for telling me about it.

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