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
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.
I love these books, hate her reading it
The story is captivating, and while ive already read them i wanted to have them as audio books
Frankly anyone who didnt rush. Stephen Fry or Derek Jacobi would be good, but there are many good readers, Tavia sadly for me is not one
Loved the book
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.
Thus was a new series for me. An iv got to say that I loved it. It kept me creep from. The start all way till the end. I would an am going to reckermain this book to friends and family. Thank you
After a slow build up and a meandering through past themes settled into a pleasant if unspectacular tale. Good narration helps this story by adding just a touch of "Special" to add enough lift to nudge me into getting the next in the series.
"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!
"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.
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.
"Schooled in Magic"
Very good story. Well written. Well narrated. Easy to listen to. Well worth a credit. I just bought book 2.
"Childish writing and recycled plot"
Reading this book feels like reading a homework assignment by a seventh grader. The writer hasn't even mastered the skill of not repeating the same descriptions too frequently. Don't waste your time, I couldn't get past the first thirty minutes of the audio.
"A chore to get through"
Look, the overall story here still intrigues me, and I really wish that the performance and writing style were good enough that I could make it past the 2.5 hour mark, but they're not, and I can't. The voices she uses for other characters actually aren't half bad, but her general narration voice/voice of the main character is just obnoxious. It's very grating. As for the writing style, I can normally handle overly descriptive as long as we don't get into "Dostoyevsky taking a whole chapter just to describe a tavern" territory, but what I can't handle the main character wondering something about the world and the way it works and then saying "I'll just ask someone later". This device is employed at least 25 times in the first 6 chapters alone. Pacing is a real problem here. You'll get serious whiplash trying to keep up with it. You'll start making some good progress story wise, and then BAM! Fifteen minutes describing the beginning of one tutoring session and the working of one spell, then halfway through figuring out the second she starts talking about the last few months of training. It just skips months of training in one sentence! I had to stop and check that the app didn't randomly skip a chapter! My point is, for me, it was a very jarring read (or listen, rather), but if that stuff doesn't bother you, there could be a really interesting STORY in there somewhere.
TL;DR: bad narration/writing style, interesting story concept. Listen at own risk. Advise using free credit, not money.
"KEEP GOING! The last 2/3 is MUCH better."
When I first started this book the beginning seemed rushed and unpolished. Then as I get a little further it seemed WAY too similar to harry potter. BUT I['m glad I kept going. That was just the beginning setting the stage part of the book. After that the author seemed to find his stride and their own voice. The last half was way better then the first. And the 2nd book was even better. I have to give it only 3 stars for the Story but in reality it's like 2 stars for the first third and 4 stars for the last 2/3.
So get the book. Get past the beginning and you will be happy. I'd recommend to the author rewriting the beginning some. I'd imagine many of the bad reviews are from people who got ticked off at the beginning and didn't want to keep going. But I've finished the 2nd book now and I'm so glad I kept going.
"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
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.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.