Schooled in Magic – Book Review
Good news – I have gained more employment. Bad news – I will have even less time for reading and writing reviews. Thus I anticipate this is going to be my last post for a while.
Schooled in Magic is the first in a fantasy series by Christopher Nuttall. Our female protagonist, Emily, has a tragic sort of life when she is pulled into another world rife with necromancers, danger and magic. When it is discovered she also has sorceress potential, Emily is sent off to the prestigious Whitehall School.
The story is fine, the writing is sufficient and the characters are okay. This I realize is hardly a stellar review. Well, the book lacked that hook to engage my attention and perhaps I was not in the right mood for that style of book.
The plot was not the most interesting and is far from original. When we are introduced to Emily, we learn she leads the most sad of sad lives. She is a tragic high school student with nearly no friends. Teased and bullied by other students and verbally abused by her stepfather, Emily retreats into books. While I too love literature and libraries, I did not need my mother to fail as a parent for me to enjoy them. Emily’s mother not only married an abusive second husband (after the first one vanishes – I bet I can guess where he went!), but she remains in this abusive relationship. And while I recognize people do behave in this manner – it is becoming a bit of trope in the world of fantasy. At least it feels that way to me.
Then suddenly, Emily is whisked away to another world where a necromancer plans on sacrificing her life because she is the Child of Destiny (her mother’s name is Destiny). While the book does try to play with this idea – even Emily recognizes she cannot be the person prophesized – the story also falls back to Emily being super special. You’re a Wizard Harry Emily! I suppose I should have known from the title of the book that much of it would revolve around Emily learning magic in a world reminiscent of Harry Potter – if more students died and the magic was a bit meaner. Harry Potter at high school I suppose. Even the teachers are meaner.
I appreciated the rather pragmatic view of the main character who is willing to sell the ideas of our world to this new land (with its more medieval structure). However, it was difficult for the American heroine to sell me on how there is no classism in the US. Yeah, for pointing out how the social structure of the past was bad. Sadly the presentation of such information was not interesting, and it was presented by a character whose home world is far from perfect.
Anyway, for a younger audience, I think this book would be more interesting. And perhaps the series picks up over time. For me it was mediocre, which was a bit sad as I actually paid for this book. But as I mentioned earlier, I may just not have been in the mood for the story. At this point I would give it 3 out of 5 stars. Nothing offensive but nothing noteworthy.