I had so much fun with J.P. Jackson's first book, Daimonion, I couldn't wait to get my hands on this book.
Jackson delivers another horribly good time with Magic or Die. I felt guilty watching all the terrible things James Martin and his students were going through and enjoying every second of it!
James is blackmailed/recruited by CMRD, a government agency with whom he has a traumatic past, to teach a group of exceptional and dangerously gifted magic users how to control their powers. He quickly discovers that not only are the lives of the students in danger, but his as well, and the dark intentions of the CMRD go far beyond their deepest fears.
This is more along the lines of The Magicians rather than Harry Potter- the students are all in their early to mid twenties, and a good thing, since James has a reciprocated fascination with Isaiah, one of the people he is teaching. It gives him a more personal reason to try to get all of them out alive. Every one of the characters has a distinct personality (Ning is my favorite) and they are a blast to read about.
Jackson has definitely grown in his craft. This story flows much more seamlessly and the pacing is excellent. It's a quick, fun read with dark magic, a bitchy villain, and some characters that you can't quite decide whether they are friends or enemies. Pick this one up, and you won't regret it.
I gave this book five stars on Goodreads.