Emily is a teenage girl pulled from our world into a world of magic and mystery by a necromancer who intends to sacrifice her to the dark gods. Rescued in the nick of time by an enigmatic sorcerer, she discovers that she possesses magical powers and must go to Whitehall School to learn how to master them. There, she learns the locals believe that she is a "Child of Destiny," someone whose choices might save or damn their world ... a title that earns her both friends and enemies. A stranger in a very strange land, she may never fit into her new world.
...and the necromancer is still hunting her. If Emily can't stop him, he might bring about the end of days.
I read part of Christopher Nuttall’s Royal Sorceress series and stopped with the second book because I found them too grim. However, I absolutely love his 24 book School in Magic series. The books are about a young woman grabbed from our modern technological world and transported to a planet of swords and sorcery and forced to grow up there. The books in the series can be mystery, adventure, murder mystery, horror, war, etc. and a little romance as the the protagonist, Emily, matures. Each time I start a new book in the series it becomes increasingly hard to put down until I’ve finished it. However, I am a person who loves spoilers and if the book slows down I won’t hesitate to peek at the end before continuing where I left off. A handful of books in the series did encourage me to peek.
Like Emily in his Schooled in Magic series, Mr. Nuttall is clearly a student of history. Readers should be aware that feudal society is brutal and life expectancy is short. True magicians or sorcerers in such a world have enormous advantages, which is lucky for Emily as a student sorceress. It’s also her knowledge of her home world’s history that helps her in her new home. Emily is not a Mary Sue. She takes what she knows of Earth’s history and what she learns on the Nameless World to get herself out of trouble. The author is clearly aware of the principle of Chekov’s gun. When he mentions something early in the book it will be built on later. That is true for the series as well.
I was a professional editor when I was Mr. Nuttall’s age. My older colleagues at the time said they could not read a book for enjoyment without itching to grab a red pen or pencil and start editing. Thankfully, the impulse has weakened for me so I can ignore occasionally typos. It’s possible the author will look back on these works and wince. In any case, I do have a few observations:
If there is anything slightly incredible is Emily’s depth of knowledge of BOTH history and modern pop culture for an introverted 16-year-old girl. She spent her time at school or the local library to stay away from her abusive stepfather. That explains why she is so well read but where did her knowledge of popular movie and television come from? Also, another problem with the pop culture references is that they can age rapidly and become meaningless to future readers.
Emily is a stranger in a strange land. She uses common English metaphors that would have little meaning to her friends and acquaintances except perhaps in context sometimes. I think it wasn’t until the last book in the series that someone actually asked her what she meant when it should really have been happening all along. Or at least more people looking at her strangely.
Finally, I’ve read many books by women authors and I don’t believe any made me so conscious of a pair of attributes of female anatomy. It is not the frequency but how one uses a word, especially if it’s a loaded word, that matters.
Regardless, I loved Christopher Nuttall’s world building and his tales of Emily’s adventures. I highly recommend this series and fully intend to purchase many of the new stories he plans to tell of Emily and her friends in the Nameless World. Bravo!
Schooled in magic
At first this book seems adorable. Strong female character who begins to change the world, wether they want her to or not. Constant references to dr who and HArry Potter books. Author loves history and the character, Emily, seems to have a doctorate in earth history. However I became tired of the man bashing. I have read two of the books and the author seems to be leading down the path of typical young adult authors these days. Homosexuality is introduced early and constantly discussed throughout the book. Author states that men believe Woman are good for nothing but marriage and babies and Royal men are useless. The main character is uncomfortable being around boys who might look at her chest. I checked out the last book and it brings in girls crushes on other girls. I am not sure what happens in the middle. But not every reader wants to read about the world being better off without happy man woman relations. It’s just getting old. This could have been interesting.