Charlie Human's Kill Baxter (2014) is the sequel to one of last year's best debuts - Apocalypse Now Now. The titular Baxter has now embraced (or, at the very least, 'admitted') his magical heritage and the powers that be have insisted that he attend Hexpoort, the school for budding wizardly types. There, Baxter is challenged in three ways: survive his training, survive his fellow students and survive the upcoming magical civil war. It doesn't help that, after thwarting a previous apocalypse, Baxter has earned the enmity of the school bully, who is insistent the he and he alone be in the running for 'Chosen One'. Oh, and his girlfriend kind of hates him.
If there are similarities with Harry Potter, I assure you - they are deliberate, the scene on the train platform is especially pointed. Human's written a wonderfully cutting piece of post-revisionist young adult fantasy, where the mid-century schoolboy story has been booted into the year 2014. The world is a nastily realistic place, with no clear delineation between good and evil and corruption everywhere. Hexpoort is a Hogwarts for a decadent fascist aristocracy - a system where the ruling powers are so desperate for the next generation of child soldiers that they let the students run feral, so long as they remain loyal.