Strange Things Await

The Virtus Academy Book 1

Fiction - Fantasy - Urban
362 Pages
Reviewed on 09/21/2020
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Jamila A Stone lives in Washington, D.C with her two dogs. Jamila is driven to tell stories without censorship and for the continued creativity in the world of literature. As an African American woman, she understands the lack of opportunity persons of color have to let their artistic creativity be seen on equal platforms, so she created her own publishing company called Black Glory Publishing House. She thinks not just of herself but of the current and future of literature namely increasing the diversity and inclusion within the literary community.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite

Strange Things Await is the first entry in The Virtus Academy series by Jamila A. Stone and a narrative that fans of L. J. Smith novels will adore; it is a spellbinding urban fantasy with likable characters. Virtus Academy is a school for students with supernatural gifts. Natalie King and Alexandra Aurelius are sophomore witches who once were best friends. But a tragic accident destroys their friendship and makes them mortal enemies. A monster on the loose is killing students and the body count keeps increasing. There are those who spread rumors that involve Natalie King and Alexandra Aurelius. As the danger grows and the atmosphere turns to fear, there is a need for unity to fight the danger that stalks Virtus Academy. Can two enemies forgive each other and stand together to fight for the common good?

Strange Things Await is awesome and Jamila A. Stone does a great job with worldbuilding, creating a school that welcomes teenagers with unique skills — witches, vampires, werecats and werewolves, and other gifts. It is a world with its own rules and the characters are students who are faced with normal challenges like anyone their age and in high school faces. I loved the way the characters are developed and the author makes sure they are real and that readers can relate to them. The conflict is strong and it moves the story forward in many ways. Strange Things Await is well-plotted, written in beautiful prose, and featuring characters that I wanted to follow, characters I cared for. It is a fun read, indeed.

Anne-Marie Reynolds

Strange Things Await by Jamila A. Stone is Book 1 of The Virtus Academy Book Series. Virtus Academy is a boarding school with a difference – it's for supernatural students. The social lessons are human ones but the students – a mixture of werecats, werewolves, witches, warlocks, and vampires – must also learn to live peacefully with one another, a tough job when these species are natural enemies. Things are tense but they are about to get worse. Not only does the Academy need to manage a violent feud between Alexandra and Natalie, a pair of Sophomore witches, they also have to contend with a monster who is killing the students. Natalie and Alex, once the best of friends, soon find themselves the targets of some nasty rumors and hearsay and it becomes apparent that there really is safety in numbers. Can the witches repair their relationship in time or will the body count continue to mount up?

Strange Things Await: The Virtus Academy Book 1 by Jamila A Stone is a decent story for those who like supernatural YA fiction. It has a great plot with plenty of action and lots of twists and turns that will keep you reading. The characters are quite complex and there was quite a lot of development to bring them to life. They were typical teenagers with typical banter and problems, apart from the supernatural side, of course, and that made them relatable to the audience the book is aimed at. The story runs relatively smoothly although it does move quite fast in some places, slow in others. It is all go, though, right from the start, and believe me when I say you will want to bang the heads of the two feuding witches together – it will put you in mind of a pair of catty teenagers! Overall, not a bad story. Hopefully, we’ll learn more about the characters, especially the main ones, and their powers in the next book.

Lit Amri

In Strange Things Await (The Virtus Academy, Book 1) by Jamila A. Stone, Virtus Academy is a boarding school for supernaturals; witches, vampires, werewolves, werecats, and other unique students. The combination of teen hormones and special lineages makes the education experience interesting but dangerous at the same time. After the gruesome death of her father, Natalie King finds herself an easy target for others as she’s also the mayor’s daughter. There's also Alexandra Aurelius-a witch who used to be Natalie's friend-who may or may not be her enemy. Between the mysterious deaths in school and feuds between powerful families, ominous events are threatening the precarious peace in the supernatural world.

Jamila A. Stone's Strange Things Await is a modern fantasy focusing on the supernatural races who live and thrive among humans while surviving the dangers of their world. The classic concept of witches, vampires, and werewolves is given a fresh twist in an interesting story premise including the appearances of other fascinating beings that give more depth to contemporary world-building. There are enough dark, suspenseful, and nerve-wracking moments as the plot is more complex than it seems and takes several surprising directions. The protagonists, particularly Nat and Alex, are well-developed, although I would love to see more substantial parts for several secondary characters in the story. The romance development is fast and unpredictable, and deceit is a game that the characters play well regardless of which side they are on. Amidst all the chaotic and deadly feuds, I found Arnold the seer to be the most level-headed character that I could relate to. Overall, The Virtus Academy series has an interesting start and I look forward to reading how the story will be developed further.

Edilyn Trinidad

Jamila A. Stone’s Strange Things Await is a coming of age story about two witches from powerful families. The novel is set in a mesmerizing world of supernatural and powerful beings from witches and werewolves to vampires. It is ripe with action-packed adventures and scenes of romance that will make readers crave more. The main characters, Alex and Nat, each have their own dangerous paths that eventually merge into one spectacular conclusion. With the help of their friends, they attempt to tackle the dangers around them head-on and learn more about themselves in the process. Add powerful clans and ancient bloodlines to the mix and we have an enthralling concoction designed to keep you reading late into the night. This is not your typical supernatural story.

I loved Jamila A. Stone’s Strange Things Await! This is a fantastic story and I was instantly hooked. This page-turner kept me up late reading. The concept of a school where all kinds of supernatural beings are mixed is absolutely exciting. Each character has intriguing and terrifying powers that are still developing. I am curious how they will turn out once they reached their true potential. The story also has a lot of twists that kept me guessing until the end. It was hard to know which side had more power and had the upper hand. I am sure Jamila A. Stone still has more surprises up her sleeve if this is just book one. I can’t wait to read the next book to find out what happens to these characters!

Rabia Tanveer

Strange Things Await is the first novel in The Virtus Academy series by Jamila A. Stone. Inside the Virtus Academy, things are far worse than they are made out to be. Teaching different supernatural species under one roof is not easy, especially when many of them are considered mortal enemies off campus. In the midst of it all, the rivalry between Alexandra, a.k.a. Alex, and Natalie, a.k.a. Nat, is boiling over. The two witches despise each other and are ready to do whatever it takes to bring the other down. However, things are not good at the Virtus Academy. Something dangerous is lurking in the shadows as students are turning up dead. It seems like it is up to Nat and Alex to capture whatever is killing students. But can these two girls put their differences aside to protect everyone else?

Strange Things Await is perfect for young adult readers who enjoy an interesting plot with strong characters. I loved the dichotomy between Nat and Alex. While Nat was a little awkward yet very talented, Alex was charming and confident in her abilities. Jamila A. Stone highlights the highs and lows of each protagonist, which is why I love them. They are human characters with flaws, they have their insecurities and they act like regular people. The author introduces subplots and makes sure nothing distracts readers from the main plot. The narrative runs smoothly, the pace is fast enough to keep things interesting, and details have enough attention to them to make them memorable. This is a killer start to a new series that I know I’m going to love! Incredibly vivid and entertaining.