Asuka Taylor, Rosalind Williams, Joan Nielsen, Faye Morgan, and Duncan Oaks receive magical powers from a mysterious benefactor on the day they graduate from high school. He wants them to fight against monsters from another world called Halves, lead by five Generals from the other world's Evil Empire.
The Mysterious Benefactor's reasons for recruiting Child Soldiers to fight against fantastical monsters are unclear; the objectives he gives them, even more so. Between the Halves, the Generals, and the team's internal drama, it's going to be a miracle if everyone makes it out alive.
But hey—preteen anime girls do this all the time. How hard could it be?
This novel provides examples of:
- Action Girl: Each female member of the team which isn't as many as you might think.
- Badass in a Nice Suit: Scout thinks this trope applies to him, which is why he wears a tuxedo everywhere. Duncan gets a better one when he transforms.
- Big Beautiful Woman: Rosalind is better than six feet tall, and Asuka spends a couple paragraphs practically drooling over her.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Joan and Asuka's attraction for each other is exploited by one of the Generals, temporarily sending Joan into full Yandere mode. But that's nothing compared to when the Dopplegangers start showing up...
- By the Power of Grayskull!: The Magical Girls gain a temporary power boost by shouting a Catchphrase which has personal significance.
- The Chosen One: Duncan, maybe. Whether he actually is or not, the trope gets his parents in a lot of trouble when the Evil Queen hears about it.
- Dark Magical Girl: One of the Generals manages to assemble a whole team of them. By creating mind-controlled doppelgangers of the heroes.
- Frilly Upgrade: Activating a Transformation Sequence grants a new wardrobe and a power boost, but only temporarily.
- Gender-Restricted Ability: A quirk of the magic system. When you give people magical powers, the females tend to get offensive powers which are useful in combat; the males, not so much.
- Gender Reveal: Joan. Twice. Once for when she reveals her intersex condition, and again when she finally figures out what that means to her.
- Hermaphrodite: Joan—see Gender Reveal above.
- Hot-Blooded: Rosalind, of all the combat-capable team members, is most willing to charge into a fight. Frequently without her team members nearby. She pays for her recklessness. See The Worf Effect below.
- In the Name of the Moon: By Asuka, almost verbatim, when cosplaying as Sailor Moon. It's the first line of the book.
- Infinite Supplies: Courtesy of Duncan's Magic up and Faye's vast reserves of money.
- Kicking Ass in All Her Finery: When Faye transforms, her normal clothing is replaced by an elaborate ballgown worthy of a Disney Princess.
- The Lad-ette: Rosalind. She's huge, she's strong, she loves basketball like jocks love football, and she's got a hell of a potty mouth.
- Magical Girl Warrior: Most of the team. While he is an important part of the team, Duncan is neither a Warrior nor a Girl.
- Magic Wand: Each of the heroes has a unique magical artifact which functions like this; Faye's artifact is literally a magic wand. Or so she wants everyone to believe.
- The Big Guy: Rosalind towers over everyone in the story except for Kelivor.
- The Chick: Asuka provides the appearance of this trope at first, though she eventually becomes as powerful as the rest of the combat-capable team members. Duncan fulfills the function of this trope at first. Eventually he demonstrates that an ability to heal is just as important to victory as the ability to fight.
- The Gun Slinger: Asuka is eager to use large firearms in a world full of magic. This proves useful in the fight against Grist.
- The One Guy: Duncan. Subverted later in the novel when Joan becomes Jo.
- The Power of Friendship: Faye can see and manipulate the bonds between her teammates if she chooses to. How do you convince four unrelated students to become a Five-Man Band on short notice? Just use your new magical powers to force them to be friends with each other and loyal to you. It's not clear if Faye knows she's doing this or not, but it's definitely happening.
- The Worf Effect: Many times the stakes of the battle are raised by Rosalind being knocked unconscious in the first part of the fight.
- Super Mode: Activated by the Transformation Sequence.
- Transformation Sequence: The whole nine yards, with individualized catchphrases, fancy outfits, crazy powerups, and more. Unfortunately for our heroes, the transformation only lasts a short time before knocking them out. This gets them into trouble a lot, especially Rosalind.
- Yandere: Not under normal circumstances, but Joan and her doppelganger spend a few chapters playing this trope terrifyingly straight.