Kelcie Murphy and the Academy for the Unbreakable Arts by Erika Lewis

Kelcie Murphy and the Academy for the Unbreakable Arts Book Cover


GoodreadsKelcie Murphy and the Academy for the Unbreakable Arts
Series: Kelcie Murphy #1
Age Category: Middle Grade
Source: Library
Published: 2022


Kelcie does not remember her past, only that she was dumped into Boston Harbor as a child. So she is shocked to discover an entryway into the Otherworld and the Academy for the Unbreakable Arts. There, she learns that she is a Saiga and can control the elements. But her kind are not looked upon favorably; a former Saiga betrayed the country and the queen. Still, Kelcie is determined to prove herself because she cannot afford to lose her place at the Academy and, with it, the only friends she has ever known.

Star Divider


Kelcie Murphy and the Academy of the Unbreakable Arts introduces readers to a magical world perfect for fans of Amari and the Night Brothers, Nevermoor, and Percy Jackson. The school of magic is a perennially popular fantasy element, while the addition of Celtic mythology gives the Otherworld a unique flair. Combine a fascinating premise with fast-paced action and a bit of mystery, and the result is a book sure to keep readers glued to the edges of their seats.

As is usual with these types of books, readers will find plenty of familiar tropes. Kelcie, for instance, has a mysterious past since she was abandoned as a child and does not know who her parents are. Clearly they were special, however, and so is she; readers can expect a Chosen One plotline from the start. Add in the portal to another world, a series of tests to be passed to gain acceptance into a world that distrusts her, and a looming war and you have all the elements that typically grip middle grade readers. It might be familiar to adults, but younger readers often find it new, or simply do not mind if it is old.

The one element I did not particularly care for is Kelcie’s sarcasm, but I know I tend to in a minority with that opinion. Writers often use sarcasm to try to suggest that a character is witty or cunning, which I do not agree with. Here, it is at least used more, I think, to indicate Kelcie’s insecurity as well as her bold personality and short temper. The writing does have a distinct Percy Jackson feeling, with all the sassiness, and since that series is so popular, I do not think that it will harm the readership much. (Though that is part of the reason I never connected with the Percy Jackson books!)

On the whole, the Kelcie Murphy series seems poised for success in a market currently flooded with books featuring schools of magic as well as various mythologies. At some point, the market may become oversaturated and readers will tire of this trend. For now, however, the series is at least a solid readalike for fans seeking more books like the ones from Rick Riordan and the Rick Riordan Presents imprint.

4 stars

6 thoughts on “Kelcie Murphy and the Academy for the Unbreakable Arts by Erika Lewis

  1. Rosie Amber says:

    Unless there is something very special about the characters and the plot line of magical school/ chosen one books, I find I always compare them to books like Harry Potter and Percy Jackson.


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