I love both fantasy and mystery novels, so when I heard about this book, I was interested and excited to read it. However, I was very quickly disappointed.
First of all, the characters. Amari was rather rude throughout the book, and she ultimately became an extremely annoying character who failed to accept her mistakes. She constantly used her race as an excuse, and often accused people of being racist. For example, I nearly stopped reading the book after the opening scene. When Amari shoved a student in the school hallway, she was angry that she was being punished. It was implied that this was not the first time she had physically attacked another student, so I thought that having her scholarship taken away was a suitable punishment, especially since the principal said that she would typically have been expelled. Amari thought otherwise.
A few of the other characters felt a bit flat, but there were a few that stood out to me as decent characters. For example, Elsie, Amari's roommate and an amazing scientist, and Dylan, a magician boy who helped Amari strengthen her powers. Elsie was very kind, which was nice to see after having encountered countless rude characters. Dylan was very helpful and understanding, and he grew to become my favorite character... which led to a very disappointing ending. When he turned into a villain at the end, I wasn't surprised (it had been foreshadowed earlier in the book) but I was angry. It felt rushed, out of character, and insignificant to the plot. The ending would have worked just as well if he had betrayed the antagonists and realized the good he could do with the protagonists. (He was also the one to defeat the main villains, but Amari received the credit for it at the end.)
In terms of other characters, I really enjoyed the talking elevators. Most of them had more personality than the human characters, and they always made me smile or laugh. I won't hesitate to say that they were one of the best parts of the book.
Second of all, the plot. I already mentioned the strange, out-of-place ending and the angering opening scene, but there was another major part of the plot that made this book a disappointment. I found myself getting bored throughout the story. There were often large amounts of information given all at once. I've seen this done well in other books, but in this one it was boring and often unimportant to the main storyline.
Finally, the message. This book talked a lot about race and racism. Throughout the novel, I found myself becoming either angry, upset, or insulted by some of the things that happened. I was mad that Amari used her race as an excuse. I was upset that the message of racism seemed to take over certain parts of the plot. Most of all, I was insulted by the fact that most of the white characters were portrayed as either rude, racist, or evil. This book fought racism with racism, and it disgusts me.
Overall, I give this book two stars for the humor, the parts of the plot that were actually decent, and the few tolerable characters. I would not recommend this book. However, I would be willing to read the second book to see if the series can redeem itself.