A Review of Schooled In Magic
First of all, Schooled in Magic is an excellent title.
Some time ago, I read the first couple chapters of Schooled In Magic. I had heard some good things about Christopher G. Nuttall and about this series. I wanted to find out what it was all about.
That first time, the story did not impress me at all. The writing seemed amateurish and repetative. I really liked the premise, but it didn’t seem to be working.
For months afterward, I would wonder why Nuttall’s books were so popular.
Then, I read another books by the same author, and it was excellent. I realized that Schooled In Magic had probably been one of the authors earlier books. So I tried it again, with the decision to judge a little less harshly.
I loved it.
Schooled In Magic is a delightful romp, certain to delight fans of fantasy and ? who give it a fair chance. It is the story of Emily, a girl from modern day earth, who is sucked into a Medieval-like world of magic and monsters by a necromancer who wished to sacrifice a Child of Destiny in order to gain favors with dark powers. The necromancer told his supernatural servants to find him such a being. Unfortunately for the necromancer, they brought him a girl whose mother happened to be named: Destiny.
A mysterious sorcerer named Void rescues Emily just before she is sacrificed, but he cannot put her back. Emily is stuck in this new world. So, she does what any of us would do under the circumstance.
She goes to magic school!
And, being a modern girl, her first question was: “The headmaster, is his name Dumbledore?”
Once at Whitehall, Emily discovers that she is already a bit notorious, apparently people have heard that she is a “Child of Destiny.” They also think she’s Void’s bastard daughter. (I must admit, I have wondered if she is Void’s daughter. Her father disappeared when she was a child and was never seen again. For all we readers know ,he could have vanished into this other world, too. That would certainly explain why Void is so mysterious. But, I digress)
She finds is expected to know all sorts of things she could not possibly know—like what it is polite to say or do, or which spells are safe to use on bullies. School culture allows for students to play pranks on each other, turn each other into rats or frogs, and other such uncomfortable things. But when Emily flings two spells at once back at a bratty princess who is tormenting her, she nearly kills the girl.
The result is: she gets caned. Not a problem she would have faced at home! Also, she is now responsible for helping said bratty princess pass her classes.
This turns out much better than she fears. The princess is spoiled due to having been allowed to have her way, but she is actually a smart young woman. Emily helps her, and the two become close friends. As she listens to her new friends woes, Emily begins to realize that there’s more to a princess’s lot than fine dresses, including very little control over her future husband.
Meanwhile, as a Child of Destiny, she is a possible target from those who fear the changes she might introduce. So the staff at Whitehall enroll Emily in Martial Magic, which might as well be magic boot camp.
So now she not only needs to learn a new language (translation spell helps, but she still needs to learn to read the old script,) and how magic works, she also has to get in physical shape.
Who would have thought that learning magic would not get you out of P.E.?
And fake Child of Destiny or not, she certainly does bring changes! Emily cannot recall the formula for many modern inventions, but she shares what she can remember with her roommate, the daughter of a rich merchant. With ‘s help, seh is able to introduce such ideas as: Arabic numbers, English letters, stirrups, the printing press, and—that most important of modern inventions—the bra.
But none of this prepares her for the dark side of her new life…when the necromancer tracks her down and uses blood magic to control Emily and force her to do lower the wards of Whitehall to allow him and his orc armies. Having someone control you against your will is a horrible thing!
When the necromancer takes over the school, Emily must draw on everything she knows—from our world and this new one—to save the people at Whitehall, who have now become dear to her.
In a way, this book is three stories wrapped in one. The first is the story of Emily, a girl from modern day, who has been thrust into another world, discovers that she has a talent for magic, and goes off to Whitehall, the foremost magic school, where she must negotiate between the unfamiliar culture, bullies, and the malice of the necromancer who summoned her.
The second is about a modern person who is thrust into a Medieval society and determines to use her knowledge to revolutionize the world. Emily’s suggestions create both improvements and chaos throughout society, as things such as easy to read numbers or greater access to books alter the lower classes access to things that once only belonged to the upper classes.
The third story is about a young woman thrust into Martial Magic, which is basically Military Fantasy, with boot camp like exercises, tactical and strategic training, and other story elements often found in military fiction.
I wasn’t sure at first that these three elements could combine to make a satisfactory story, but they do! All three elements weave together to make a story that is both enjoyable and interesting than any one of those might have been by themselves.
I’ve seen each of those ideas before…but not someone putting them all together.
Now, if you are thinking “that’s too much at once for the ramifications to be handled in one novel,” you would be right. Lucky for us readers, the Schooled In Magic series is currently up to 14 ½ books with a new one due out soon. And, so far, there is still plenty to tell about in this fascinating background!
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