Book Review: Dark is Her Nature

With great power comes greater mayhem…

Alison is a teen Drow with a past that’s been erased by the murder of her mother and the betrayal of her father.

Well, someone’s going to have to train the girl to use her powers wisely.

Good thing there’s a boarding school created to do just that.

High school is hard. Facing mountains of homework, that cute wizard, mean girl cliques, and mastering magic alone is nearly unbearable.

Enter her new best friend, Izzy. Izzy has a past that could get someone killed.

Too bad she can’t remember a thing.

She’s a teenager with no idea who she is or what the power is growing inside her.

Becoming fast friends is a no brainer. Better to tackle the trials and tests awaiting them together.

Especially when they involve dark magic, malevolent forces, and a lost dragon egg.

Welcome to the School of Necessary Magic. Not since Hogwarts has learning been this magical…or dangerous.

Goodreads Link: Dark is Her Nature (The School of Necessary Magic #1)
Author: Judith Berens
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy (Academy)
Rating: 4/5 stars

This was a quick, fun read. Although I’ve mentioned that I’m not a fan of Harry Potter, I love books about magic schools, and this one has a lot of the entertaining parts of a magic school story. There are magical creatures and plants, different types of powers, lessons in spells and other magic, mysterious pasts, bullies, and students trying to uncover secrets that their teachers haven’t told them yet.

It’s part of an established world, but I haven’t read any of the other books to know the world or characters. However, it was easy to start here because it gives just enough information to know the context of the past. It mainly focuses on two girls, Alison and Izzy. Although the blurb starts with Alison, it’s actually Izzy we see first, when she gets attacked along with her parents. Alison comes in a few chapters later when the school year starts.

There is a lot of head-hopping in this story that made it a little difficult to follow sometimes. It’s better when it focuses on one character’s perspective at a time, which it manages to do entirely in some scenes, but other scenes have head-hopping. Also, it seems like some references get the two girls mixed up. Alison is the Drow and Izzy is the Light Elf, but sometimes the narration gives Izzy Drow characteristics, like saying that she goes into a trance instead of sleeping. I wonder if they switched names at one point when the book was being written? Some errors may be caused by the fact that “Judith Berens” is actually the pen name of two different authors, and maybe they had different ideas when writing their parts of the story.

Anyway, I liked both of the girls. Izzy’s lost memories were interesting to see her struggle with and I felt bad for her. I hope she finds out the truth someday. Alison’s Drow powers were also interesting to see as she learned more about them. I don’t know if all Drow are blind and/or able to see magical energy, but I liked reading about how she used her magical sight to compensate for her lack of physical sight.

But for the most part, it’s entertaining and moves along at a quick pace. Instead of describing the whole school year in detail, you get more of the highlights when big things happen. There are lots of hints of things to come in subsequent books, so I’ll be continuing with the series to find out what happens next.

Favorite food: the ice cream sundae social! I loved that the school cafeteria could give them almost any food they wanted, but the ice cream sundaes sounded like the most fun. My first job was in an ice cream parlor, so I love experimenting with different flavors and toppings. A magical cafeteria that could give me endless combinations to try would be like a dream come true.

I recommend this to readers who like light-hearted magic academy stories in a modern Earth setting.


I'm an author, a blogger, and a nerd. I read and write fantasy.