From the back cover:
Young Mikan is the newest student at the mysterious and prestigious Alice Academy, where the most talented and powerful students in the country are united, but for what purpose…?
Mikan is officially admitted into Alice Academy, but things still aren’t exactly going smoothly. Natsume still bullies her, her class ranking couldn’t be lower, some of the teachers are outright hostile, and she has been forbidden to contact anyone outside of the school! Will she be able to find true friends at the academy?
Quite a lot happens in this volume and nearly all of it is interesting. Aside from getting more information about the organization of the school—including the importance of star rankings and ability-type classes (which are totally like Hogwarts’ Houses, by the way)—there are more indications that the adults at the Alice Academy are not to be trusted and that for Mikan to come there of her own free will might’ve been a huge mistake, particularly since she’s being watched because of the Alice of Nullification that she possesses.
Mikan is also improving in the likability department. She still has her annoying moments, but she’s at least trying to be more mature. Hotaru helps, too, chastising Mikan when she’s whining about not being able to see her grandfather and reminding her that everyone else there is enduring the same sort of isolation from their families.
My favorite characters are Natsume and Luca at this point, even though the former is almost always behaving violently. I love Luca because he’s conflicted between loyalty to his friend and his attraction to the more upbeat world-view that Mikan offers. Natsume is appealing because he’s been denied any chance at real camaraderie by being labelled “special” and “dangerous” by the school. What’s more, while everyone’s relaxing after a game of dodgeball that Mikan organized, Natsume is tapped by a professor to go out on an “urgent mission,” further denying him any of the simple joys of childhood.
So, yes, it’s getting better and darker, too. Definitely don’t stop with volume one if you’re interested in this series.