Work Experience is the fourth book in the Schooled In Magic series by Christopher G. Nuttall, and it covers Emily’s second summer in the Nameless World.
Emily has now settled into her new home enough to gain a few friends and a title. Lady Barb, who initially disapproved of her, is now her advisor and a fast friend. The combat sorcerer is spending her summer traveling through the Cairngorm Mountains, providing medical care to the poor inhabitants of those hills. She invites Emily to come along.
What promised to be a relaxing summer as Lady Barb’s assistant takes a dark turn when more than one village reports missing children. Something seems to be nabbing kids from a large area. Whatever it is, it bodes ill.
A prince is missing, too, only he turns out to have left under his own power. Emily discovers and chases him, only to come face to face with a death viper, the bright blue snake that is so deadly that even touching it can cause someone to lose their arm. As the deadly beast falls on Emily, she can only think of one way to save herself.
She casts the spell to bond with a familiar.
And it works! Since familiars cannot harm their owners, Emily is immune from the effects of the deadly snake. As the snake is deadly to everyone else, however, she turns it into a golden bracelet when she does not have time to interact with it. But having a super deadly snake concealed as a bracelet is a super-cool secret weapon!
Emily and Lady Barb continue their trek all the while searching for more information about the fate of the stolen children. In one rather cool scene, they camp out at night, and Emily witnesses some of the strange, unusual magical creatures that live in the mountains. I really liked that scene. It was both creepy and interesting the way a nature documentary is interesting.
But then Lady Barb goes missing…
And it is up to Emily to save the day—or die trying!
One of my favorite parts of this novel is the magic system. Watching Emily follow up on her ideas about pocket dimensions from the previous book, getting better at them, figuring things out about them, and then using it effectively toward the end is really enjoyable. I love the fact that you can understand what she is doing well enough to follow ways in which the magic might be used cleverly.
After the appalling lack of Void in the third book in this series, I have decided to end each review with a brief update, for those dying to know, on the state of Voidness in each book. For those less familiar with the series, Void is the mysterious Lone Power who is Emily’s official guardian and whom many believe to be Emily’s father. (Since Emily does not want the world to know that she came from our earth, she does not correct them.)
I am happy to say that Void does appear in this book. In fact, he appears right near the beginning. This is a great relief for those suffering from Void withdrawal after the last book.
It is a very short appearance, and, frankly, I could have done with more. But we readers must learn to let a little Void carry us a long way.
Finally, as Mr. Nuttall is quite ill, prayers for his quick recovery are very much welcomed.