Rebecca Halls' Instrument of War was published by Elsewhen Press in a digital edition in June 2017 and a paperback edition was published in September 2017.

Information about Rebecca Hall:

Rebecca started writing when she was supposed to be studying for her exams at Otago University but somehow passed anyway, eventually graduating with a decorative piece of paper. She moved to the UK to pursue a career in publishing and after a couple of mishaps ended up in Edinburgh and sold Instrument of Peace to Elsewhen Press, which is not quite the career she had in mind. The career she did have in mind was along more editorial lines which is why she is now a volunteer at Inspired Quill and a freelance copy-editor for everyone else. She also has a blog which she infrequently remembers to update, where those mysterious things known as short stories can be found.

Even after three years, she is baffled by the fact that the British use miles, pints and 1p coins but things like pineapple lumps, black forest chocolate and L&P have not caught on. Rebecca would like to make it very clear that she is a Kiwi and absolutely NOT an Australian (or South African) and she will do almost anything for chocolate.

Click here to visit her official website.

Information about Instrument of War:

The second book in the Symphony of the Cursed series

The Angels are coming!

Mitch would like to forget that the last year ever happened, but that doesn’t seem likely with Little Red Riding Hood now teaching Teratology. The vampire isn’t quite as terrifying as he first thought, but she’s not the only monster at the Academy. The Fallen are spying on everyone, the new Principal is an angel and there’s an enchanting new exchange student with Faerie blood.

Angry and nervous of the angels surrounding him, Mitch tries to put the pieces together. He knows that Hayley is the Archangel Gabriel. He knows that she can determine the course of the Eternity War. He also knows that the Fallen will do anything to hide Gabriel from the Host – even allowing an innocent girl to be kidnapped.

Instrument of War continues from Instrument of Peace, the first book in the Symphony of the Cursed series, as Mitch, Hayley and Nikola return for their final year in the International Academy of Magic at Lake Moawhango in New Zealand.


Rebecca Hall's debut novel, Instrument of Peace, was a pleasant surprise for me, because it took the well-known magic school setting and turned it into something new and fascinating. Because I liked it, I was excited about Instrument of War and wanted to read it. I'm glad to say that it's just as good and fast-paced as the previous novel. It's an entertaining reading experience for those who love exciting and fast-paced YA fantasy fiction.

Instrument of War is a well written sequel for Instrument of Peace (it's an excellent continuation of the Symphony of the Cursed trilogy). Readers who are familiar with the previous novel will feel immediately at home with the story and will be delighted to immerse themselves in it, because the author delivers a good story.

As many readers may have noticed, YA fantasy has become increasingly popular during the recent years and many novels are being written and published each year. I consider Rebecca Hall's Instrument of Peace and Instrument of War to be excellent additions to the YA fantasy fiction genre, because the author uses classic elements in a fresh and modern way.

This novel and its predecessor have elements that remind me a bit of Kim Newman's The Secrets of Drearcliff Grange School, because it's something slightly different. It also reminds me of other modern YA fantasy novels, because it's a story about a magic school, but due to its original contents it's not your normal kind of a story.

If there are readers out there who wonder if this novel will live up to its predecessor, I can say that it does and it even surpasses it on certain levels. The author wonderfully maintains tension and excitement in this novel and goes boldly forward with the story. It's possible that readers may also wonder if this novel can be read as a standalone novel. I can say to these readers that you may be able to enjoy it as a standalone novel, but I strongly recommend taking a look at the previous novel first, because it contains a lot of background information.

Here's a bit of information about the story:

- Just like in the first novel, the events take place at the Academy of magic near Mount Ruapehu and Lake Moawhango where the telepatchic lake lizard Taniwha lives.

- Mitch and Callum have returned to the Academy. Mitch meets Hayley by the shore of Lake Moawhango. He also meets other students who have come back to the Academy. Mitch knows that problems with the Twisted Curse are over. However, that is not the end of the problems, because the angels have come and that means trouble...

- Soon Mitch tries to put all the pieces together. He knows that Hayley is the reincarnation of the Archangel Gabriel and is aware that she can determine the course of The Eternity War...

This is the beginning of a story that deepens the story arc and offers excitement and several thrilling moments to readers, because the author keeps on building upon what she created in the first novel. I won't write more about the story, because I believe that the less you know about it, the more you'll enjoy it, but I'll write about other things.

It's wonderful that the author writes fluently about the various characters and beings ranging from Angels and Fae to Vampires and Ghouls (even Luficer appears in this novel), because it adds fascination to the story. The cast of characters is delightfully versatile and that's one of the reasons why everything works well, because it allows the author to explore many things.

The characterisation is better than in the first novel, because the author has become more fluent in writing about the characters' feelings, lives and abilities. Mitch is an especially well-created character whose feelings and thoughts are conveyed fluently to readers. I think that many readers will able to relate to him and his feelings, because he's a likeable and surprisingly realistic character. Nikola and Hayley are also interesting characters and the author writes well about them.

One of the most fascinating characters in this novel is Miss Bordeaux, because she's a vampire who teaches Teratology. The author creates a striking vision of a vampire who became a vampire when she was young. I think it's worth mentioning that Miss Bordeaux is not the only vampire in this story, because there are others and they're just as fascinating as her (it was enjoyable to read about Siegfried).

It's great that Rebecca Hall avoids using the most common clichés associated with vampires in YA fiction and has a more entertaining and original approach to them. This means a lot to me, because I'm personally slightly fed up with clichéd YA vampire fiction and the overuse of vampires as plot devices. I think that many readers will enjoy Rebecca Hall's vision of vampires, because in her novels the vampires feel much fresher than in many other novels.

I find the author's vision of the Academy excellent. It's interesting that she has created as believable a vision of a special school as possible. She writes entertainingly about everything that goes on in the school and how students and exchange students study magic and different powers.

The author's way of writing about magic is intriguing, because she effortlessly explores how the characters use their powers and what they can do with them. It's great that she pays attention to the students' education and what they have to do in their classes, because it creates a sense of realism that is required to make the story convincing. The students have to learn to deal with such things as shape-shifting, pyromancy etc, and they also have to take into consideration the limitations of their abilities. I find it intriguing that the author also pays attention to writing about what happens when the students get injured while studying magic, because it adds realism to the story.

When I read this novel, I was intrigued by Cryptobotany and everything that was related to it, because I've always been interested in botany and plants. I also enjoyed reading about how the students felt about the curse and its effects, because some of them still felt a bit uneasy about what had happened.

I admire Rebecca Hall's ability to combine various fantasy elements in an effortless way. I liked it a lot in Instrument of Peace, but now I find it even more intriguing, because she doesn't seem to hold back anything anymore, but delivers a fantastical story with plenty of excitement.

One of the best things about this novel is that the story feels fresh. Although many YA novels have been written about magic schools and angels, this novel stands out due to its interesting story and exotic setting. By placing the story in New Zealand the author adds lots of freshness to it.

Instrument of War is one of those rare novels that will captivate younger readers from the very first chapter and will make them read it in one sitting, because the story is immersive. I'm sure that reading this novel will remind many readers of how much fun and how relaxing reading a good story can be. As many of us are aware, reading a good story is one of the best forms of relaxation.

It was nice to see how much Rebecca Hall has developed since her debut novel, because now she writes more fluently about the happenings and keeps the story flowing in a better way. She has also gained more confidence, which manifests itself as additional depth.

Just like Instrument of Peace, Instrument of War has clearly been written out of love for storytelling. The author has come up with a modern yet old-fashioned story that fascinates readers of all ages and especially those who are willing to immerse themselves in a good story. I'm sure that everyone who reads this novel will look forward to reading the concluding novel, Instrument of Chaos, because the story arc is fascinating.

 If you're looking for something new to read and are interested in YA fantasy, you should consider reading Rebecca Hall's Instrument of War, because it's a good and refreshing take on a magic school genre and well-known fantasy elements. It's exciting and fast-paced entertainment for readers of all ages.

Good, intriguing and well written YA fantasy entertainment!

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