It's been a couple of days since I read this, and I still maintain that it deserves my 5 star rating, but...this is not a perfect book. Allow me to elucidate.
To me the synopsis is very misleading, this is not a story about a revolution, it's a story about friendship and love. It reads very much like a typical YA in the ages and actions of our main characters, but the only difference is that instead of 16, we have them at 19 (I think it was). The main girl, Lily, went through commoner, or non-mystical, high school only to go to King Hall and go through more high school. True story. In keeping with the shifter aspect of this story, she'd found her mate already, and therefore, wasn't a virgin which is what I think allowed for the "new adult" classification. Don't let this fool you. There was really no "grown-up" themes here. Not really.
The story is about how Lily goes to the Mys school where her mate is, and after just a few chapters she ends up taking his place as the shifter Prodigy. The Mystics are ruled by a King for each type of mystical ability: shifter, mage, vampire, and elemental. As a forbidden hybrid she feels that should the Kings, or even other prodigies, find out her true nature that they would kill her outright, perhaps even painfully. What happens is that she becomes best friends with these other prodigies, and they stoke an ember of change to come.
Now again, there really isn't much reform that these guy do, and I would say it's fair that they only make it foreseeable that they'll change the status quo once they take the reins from the Kings. The focus of this entire story is the friendship Lily has with the other three. That's it. And I really loved it, but the supposed "revolution" that the synopsis says this story is about was a joke. There was just not enough s/l applied to this aspect, and the end has the big battle (don't be fooled) that I guess shows said revolt, but it ends mid fight scene, and that's the end of book one. Just...pfft, done. It actually made me angry to be left like that. It wasn't smooth, it didn't make any sense, and for Antonio to be the only one who seemed to know WTF was going on, it made even less sense that he wouldn't have shared his intel! Only Ezra's father seemed to have an inkling of what Antonio was saying. The entire strained relations between factions, and mys and comms, was poorly executed. Lily would complain about the shifters need to touch her, and that made no sense since she IS a shifter and wouldn't have thought them annoying for such a thing, and many times she was on the verge of girl hate, oft referring to them negatively when it came to bed partners for her male besties.
With so many things that annoyed me it's odd to feel so much pleasure about this book. I totally understand if someone reading this is confused that I would spend almost the entire review just complaining, but the character story here was just perfect for me. Partly, I know, because I adore shifters/weres, and partly because it was just written with a slow build. I have a major crush on Ezra, and I don't even really like vampires.
Basically I would tell anyone who wanted to read this to definitely check it out, but don't go into it expecting a bunch of fighting and political wrangling. Go into it with the knowledge of it's about a bunch of friends being groomed for their roles as leaders, and you should really enjoy it.