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 that the locals believe 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 in to her new world, and the necromancer is still hunting her. If Emily can't stop him, he might bring about the end of days.
©2014 Christopher G. Nuttall (P)2016 Podium Publishing
"Not Harry Potter! AND THAT'S A GOOD THING!"
It's inevitable to compare this book to Harry Potter. They are both in the Magic School Genre and the main character is considered a "Chosen One"
But this title stands on its own due to its smart and independent heroine and the time the author takes to explain the book's magic system and world building.
If you go into this book hoping for a romance, you might be disappointed. As the first book deals more with Emily getting used to the world she's transported to and the new school she's enrolled in.
I particularly enjoy how Emily uses her knowledge of modern technology to make waves in this new magical world.
If you're into characters from our world using their know-how to improve the world they've been transported to, I think you'll like this book.
"All-Around Excellent Book Series, Must Read!"
This book was absolutely captivating, and the series itself is nothing less than excellent. The world of magic created by the author as a backdrop to the story is fascinating and gives a whole different take on magic than most other fantasy authors.
Emily is an average teenage girl with a demeaning and borderline abusive step-father and a mother named Destiny who would rather get drunk than pay any attention to her. More of a loner than most, Emily wonders if she will ever make anything of herself... Until she is kidnapped by demons from another world (in another dimension). The necromancer who summoned her wanted to rid the world of a "Child of Destiny" that would have great influence on the world. Not realizing that he did not specify that she be from "his" world, he intends to sacrifice her to feed his need for power. However, she is rescued at the last minute by a sorcerer named Void.
After discovering that she has been transported to a parallel world, she is even further surprised to discover that magic exists in her new world and that the humans have barely progressed into the middle ages technologically.
Emily also appears to have a strong affinity for magic. Upon realizing this, Void sends her to one of the great magical schools to become a sorcerer herself.
Her magical abilities aside, she makes a great impact on the world by introducing concepts and technologies from her world. Some of these new concepts may even disrupt the current power structure and tip the balance in the war against the necromancers.
Her journey into magical education leads her on several adventures and leaves her with both friends and enemies... and many it's hard to tell who is who.
It is impossible not to compare this book to the popular Harry Potter series... I liked Harry Potter, but this is a completely different type of magical coming-of-age adventure. The magic in this book series is much more tenable and anchored than in the Harry Potter series and the female main character is very realistic and intelligent. The author has also created an entire world around the magical storyline, rather than having it exist in secret in our current world. Really, comparing the two is like comparing apples and broccoli...
The narration for the book was top-notch. 5/5 stars for great character voices and a narration that faded right into the story.
All-in-all this is an amazing book with excellent writing and a great, captivating story. I'd call this one a must-read!
"This series is outstanding!"
I have been anxiously awaiting these books in audible format. The mere fact I'm purchasing every book in the series a second time should be some indication of my opinion on the quality of the tale.
Yes, the book borrows a lot of the world-building from Harry Potter, but the author's goal seems to be to repair some of the flaws he saw in the Potter world, based on some of our protagonist's sarcastic comments about the books. There aren't otherwise many original ideas here.
I found it hard to like our protagonist, Emily. She's neurotic, insecure, and is overly concerned about what others think of her. Her social skills are poor and lacks anything like a sense of humor; anyone who teases her sends her into paroxysms of guilt and despair.
Still, she's smart and has an implausibly good knowledge of history and science for someone still in high school and these are the key to her success, rather than bravery or martial skills.
It's a fine series for mindless entertainment; I listen the stories as I do housework and this one doesn't demand a lot of my attention.
"Not sure what I'm missing..."
Like everyone else who read this book, I am a Harry Potter fan, but I feel this is more of a bad copy than a similarly fantastic series. It's essentially a fantasy of the author's: what if you randomly landed into a fantasy world where you could attend a Hogwarts-esque school to hone your newfound and amazing (and convenient) magical talent? It would be awesome, but then you'd realize you need a believable story and compelling characters behind it.
The characters are especially poorly developed, each seeming a caricature of a bad CW show. My favorite example is her family on Earth: abusive, drunk stepdad and alcoholic, depressive mom - both who care little for her. The author overexaggerates the main character's indifference (happiness?) to leave Earth by continually stating how she has no friends, hangs out at the library so she doesn't have to go home and (my personal favorite) how there are no job opportunities now-a-days so after high school her life will become a raging dumpster fire. There was opportunity to let the reader see a real girl, with real sadness in her life, but instead we are given a literally unbelievable story about how there are never any jobs anymore, anywhere, ever.
Though, my favorite example of my frustration is the commentary about integration of 21st century ideas into medieval times. The main character continually wants to add her ideas about technology and other things to improve the world, which no she can't because she has absolutely no skills because she's 15. But, my favorite example was about Quidditch. She asks a classmate why they don't play sports on broomsticks to which she replies "because they could just knock you off with a spell" and the main character agrees. To which I reply, "you're right, why do we play basketball? You can just punch someone in the face and take the ball." That's why they have rules. Duh.
So I didn't like the book. Try "Name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss. Those books have a wizarding school, amazing writing and character development, as well as some innovative ideas.
"Charming alt-world magic school story."
Overall, I think this book is quite good. I have no problems with the book, but did notice I was not FULLY captivated the entire time I read it which is why I give it a 4/5.
Things that the book did extremely well -
Humans from earth travelling to other magical worlds is a fun concept but generally falls into one difficult issue: how to characterize the MC on earth while not developing any lingering attachments that would create plot holes. The author succeeds excellently in succinctly delivering the MC's character explanation and a solid reason why MC would not need/want to return to earth.
Generally, the advantages of alt-world MC's are derived from unrealistic depth of knowledge of earth technology. The MC constantly mentions these things but does not have any ridiculous insights in industrialization of a medieval society.
Also, I particularly loved all her interactions with her princess friend - the author makes a point to compare cultural values and the effects magic may have on otherwise one-sided moral choices.
Pretty solid book, I suggest a read
"Schooled in Magic"
Very good story. Well written. Well narrated. Easy to listen to. Well worth a credit. I just bought book 2.
Tavia Gilbert does a great job of differentiating the characters and brining he story to life. I hope she narrates the entire series
Some people have compared the book to harry potter (even the main character does at a times. Some even saying it’s a rip-off. However It is really not any more then every space opera book is a rip-off after all most space operas happen at least part in space, and normally have a hero fighting an arch enemy. The same holds here the primary location for the first book is a boarding school for teaching magic, the Protagonist does not know about magic on arrival thus this leads to other similarities. But it is not a rip-off. This work is distinct and worthwhile in its own right with its own unique concepts, world building and story arch (and to be honest with much, much smarter students and teachers). I highly recommend it.
Yet as it does have a similar environment as Harry Potter; So just as if you like one space opera book you will likely enjoy others. If you liked Harry Potter you will likely enjoy this book.
"Intrigued enough to keep reading..."
Mild Spoilers ahead...
I have mixed feelings about this. Considering there are 10 books in this series, it might be too early for me to be overly judgmental about this. I am not typically a harsh critic in this genre. I love magic fantasy. There's simply no way not to see this as a rather blatant Harry Potter rip off. If you're a HP fan then this will either annoy you or endear you. For me it was a little of both. It is possible to craft a story about a school of magic without ripping off JK Rowling. A good example is The Magicians series by Lev Grossman, which I adore. I will try not to draw too much comparison between this book and that one though because Nuttall would not fair well at all if I were to hold his writing to that standard. Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy this and I'm planning to dive into book two immediately because I'm intrigued enough at this point that I really want to know what happens with Emily next. But the writer has a few habits that I'm not fond of. He drastically over uses the term "snorted" for one. Let's talk some specifics...
Emily is very likable. Her character is sweet and caring and smart and she's a great strong female lead. The magic system used is clever and believable. I love the concept of mana and it's very reminiscent of role playing or of video game RPG. I enjoyed the detailed explanation of how spell craft works built upon spell components. The world building isn't bad either. The writer took the time to explain politics and relate that to the story in a way that truly matters.
It steals from J.K. Rowling big time, right down to the grand master, the relationships between students and teachers, the school's defenses, the magical creatures classes, Marshal Magic parallels Defense Against the Dark Arts, Shadye parallels Voldemort, and many more blatant examples. The writing is a little bit lacking in that I wasn't nearly as captivated or drawn in as I would have liked. The battles were not as awesome as I would have liked. There was some sense of inconsistency with the aptitude of magical abilities. One minute Emily is a naive first year student who barely escapes capture by bumbling captors and just a few chapters later she's conquering a skilled necromancer in single combat by summing a black hole pocket dimension. It also felt a little too cute for me at times when I wanted it to be darker. I didn't really like Alassa at all. I wanted more character development from her roommates. I was also a bit disappointed in the grand master. I wanted way more badassery from him.
Overall though I did enjoy the story. I'm intrigued by Void. I hope to hear more about him in the next book. If you like magic fantasy fiction and you're willing to look past it being a poor man's Harry Potter, then I would recommend it.
"Please make the other books"
I really enjoyed this book a lot and can not wait until the rest are made into audio books.
I loved this book, and would recommend to anyone who loves a great magical story paired with a fabulous female lead. Towards the end I couldn't leave it, and listened at every opportunity. The end didn't disappoint and will definitely be putting the next 2 books in my library.
I think this is a mix of all the best stories I have read, Harry Potter, Lord of the rings, shannara, amongst others.
Tavia brought the characters to life, her voice changes were brilliant.
Not a particular moment but I did like the gradual development of Emily's character and strength.
"Average book, narrator seams to be going through an anxiety attack"
The book is quite poor and generic. Autor explains everything to you using the narrator instead of using plot and character interactions so it gets tedious.
The narrator sounds like she's a kid on the 1st Disney visit, a mix of excitement and anxiety.
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