Lessons in Etiquette by Christopher G. Nuttall, the second book in the Schooled in Magic series, is a total delight for anyone who enjoys politics and princesses. It is a story of intrigue and magic and decorum, all pleasantly mixed together in the nameless world of Schooled In Magic.
The story opens with our heroine, Emily—a girl from our world who was accidentally yanks into another world by an evil necromancer looking for a Child of Destiny, because her mother was a flower child name Destiny—being proposed to by a fine young man named Jade. Only Emily had only ever thought of Jade as a friend. Her guardian, a mysterious figure named Void, explains to her that since she is now known far and wide as a powerful sorceress, after she defeated the evil necromancer, many offers of marriage may be coming her way.
Emily carefully sidesteps the issue of marriage, kindly telling her friend Jade that she does not think school and marriage mix and she wants to stay in school, only to find herself thrown headfirst into someone else’s marriage woes.
When Emily first came to Whitehall, the magic school that she now calls home, she found herself facing an annoying bully named Princess Alassa. Only, after Emily stood up to her, she discovered that Alyssa was more victim than victimizer. She had been spoiled by her royal teachers and had not been given a chance to bloom.
Now the best of friends, Princess Alassa invites Emily to accompany her on a trip to her home, during which they would be going by carriage through various kingdoms of the allied lands, stopping here and there in castles so that Alassa could meet promising princes.
This promising comedy of manners is abruptly interrupted when an assassin tries to kill Alassa in her bed…or is it Emily the assassin is targeting.
You see, Emily has upset a great many apple carts, so to speak. First, she turned the easily manipulable spoiled princess into a smart, intelligent young lady. Second, she has introduced a number of modern inventions into the more Medieval world, from Arabic letters to steam engines. (The very first thing I ever heard about this series is that Emily arrived in a magic world and promptly invented the bra. A wise move, I am sure, but not one that was causing ramification problems in this particular volume.)
So any number of people—magicians who want to know what she did to the necromancer, ambitions lords who had plans for the old Princess Alassa, and merchants whose lives have been turned upside down—all have reasons to not be too pleased with Emily.
On top of this, Alassa is traveling under the protection of Combat Sorceress Lady Barb, who has a grudge against Emily’s guardian, Void.
Before Emily knows it cockatrice are attacking, traitors are trying to overthrow kingdoms, and, if that was not enough, Emily is expected to join Alassa and her gaggle of princely suitors for a very disturbing hunt.
On top of that, saving her friend and possibly a nation may depend on Emily making some very difficult decisions about the use of certain forbidden magics.
I won’t say more as I don’t want to spoil any of the surprises, but overall, a great deal of fun, during which we get to see much more of the Nameless land than came on stage in the first book.