Academy Obscura: The Flame Within by Cassia Briar

Academy Obscura: The Culling Year

By: Cassia Briar
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Pages: 240
Series: Academy Obscura #1
Publisher: Wednesday Ink LLC
Published on: September 10, 2019
Academy Obscura: The Flame Within by Cassia Briar

At Academy Obscura the price for failing freshman year is death.Caprice Sorrentino grew up in the foster system. The summer after her eighteenth birthday, she gets a letter from a woman claiming to be her grandmother. Intrigued, Caprice travels cross country to visit this new-found relative. But there's something odd about grandma. She's a witch.

As the summer comes to an end, Caprice is forced to enroll in Academy Obscura. But she doesn't fit in with the ultra sexy witches, vampires, fae, werewolves, and shifters that attend this supernatural college. She doesn't show any signs of having magical abilities either. And failure leads down one road...death.

But maybe, with the help of Jaxon, Angel, and Liam, she will have a chance at surviving.

This is a reverse harem romance, featuring a sexy witch, werewolf, and fae.

Also by this author: The Culling Year - Winter Term (Academy Obscura, #2), Academy Obscura: The Searing Trials, Ignite: A Prequel Novella (Academy Obscura, #0)

I received this book for free from Author Gifted in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Find the Author: Website, Goodreads, Amazon


Update: As you see from the book cover the author is J.J. Krzemien. The author has changed their pen name to Cassia Briar and the covers have changed as well.


In this day and age many people wish they were special. By special I don’t mean having green eyes or red hair. I mean something that sets them apart, something that is a bit magical, or supernatural. It could be the books that we grew up with or the movies we watched as teens and young adults. Either way it has become part of our culture and really engrained into our subconscious. That hope of getting a letter on our birthday, or having a owl come to us. Believing in something is never wrong. I think this story actually touches on this a bit, in a twisted yet logical way.


Caprice is a 18 year old foster child looking forward to going to college with her best friend on the East Coast. They have everything planned until one night when they decide to attend a college party. I mean what could go wrong other than some underage drinking and maybe making out with someone you don’t know. Well for Caprice is started to not only unravel her life a day at a time. It also opens her eyes to things that are at times better left unseen.


When a guy tries to essentially mind control Caprice and her best friend something happens to the man that has never happened before. Caprice is able to essentially push herself out of the mind control. What this means for Caprice is an assault doesn’t happen. Her friend, while sleepy, is okay. What it means for her future however is much more complicated and in some ways sad.


Upon arriving back at her foster parent’s house she is delivered a letter that starts in motion what the book is all about, a school for those with abilities. Those abilities range from witches to shapeshifters and vampires. However this isn’t your ordinary school, in fact as the title suggests the first year is the culling year. The culling year is where is the student does not perform well enough they are removed from the school, and much more.


Caprice is special but also trouble, in that she creates or finds trouble in all situations. While not technically having a curse on her head, she has a curse on her head. This is also a sort of love story, in a sense, but it isn’t your one on one, no this is a type of reverse Harem, where instead of a guy with multiple partners, you have a young woman who attracts men, much to the dismay of many.


Without giving too much away, which is hard because the books secrets are what makes it a story, I do not want to be in Caprice’s shoes. At all, I mean yeah hot guys falling all over me wouldn’t be horrible. Not all guys are equal, and in Caprice’s situation, her affinity may be her undoing.


I have read a lot of books, and this is actually the first with the combination that this book has. Now saying that I haven’t read a great deal of harem books. I have read a great deal of shifter books. It being unique also led to I liking it. There are questions I have and some of the situations didn’t make clear sense. I hope descriptions for certain elements have explanations in the next book. I would like to see the story flesh out a bit more in the next book.


With that said, I really enjoyed this book and will be reading more from author. This isn’t just an academy story, it is also a story about life, about love, and about death. It is also about age old grudges and what happens when the child isn’t who they are suppose to bed. The world this book is in, is just a step away from ours. Meaning that we see the individuals, we interact with them, but there is something more under the surface that humans wouldn’t see.


The personalities and descriptions of the characters and locations are vivid enough to draw you in. You will lose yourself in the story, I know that I did. I can’t wait for the next book in the series to find out exactly what happens to Caprice. Also, I want to know what happens in the entire world. Sometimes a supernatural world has real world ramifications.




About Cassia Briar

I write paranormal romance. Right now I'm focusing on the Academy Obscura series. The last book is being written right now!

My next project is trilogy set in the Academy Obscura world, but not at school. It's inspired by themes from Beauty and the Beast. And it will be a reverse harem!

If you've read my books, feel free to add them to a list on here in the Listopia section. Doing so helps other readers find them. Thank you, you're awesome!

She has five cats, a hunky hubby, and lives in the woods near Portland, Oregon.

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