After a brief visit to the Blighted Lands, in hopes of recovering something useful from Shadye’s Dark Fortress, Emily returns to Whitehall for her fourth year, bracing herself for the exams that will determine her future. But as she resumes her education, she discovers that the shadows of the past are hanging over the school. A teacher wants to break her, some of her friends are acting oddly and, worst of all, a boy intends to court her.
But as she struggles to come to terms with her own past, she discovers a plot to kill her and a deadly threat that may destroy the entire school…and a fight she cannot win, but dares not lose.
Mr. Nuttall has done it again. He has written another great book in the Schooled In Magic series. Unsurprisingly the book picks up more or less from where the last one left off. Emily is back in school which is my favourite setting for this series. She is however also making a trip to Shadey’s old fortress to recover what is now considered her belongings. A trip which will have dire consequences for Emily as well as Whitehall. To complicate matters an old “acquaintance”, Master Grey, is charged by the Grandmaster to teach Emily the art of combat. Apart from Emily being quite unhappy about this, Master Grey has an agenda of his own.
As usual this is a well written book which is an enjoyment to read. Emily’s schooling is intermixed with her emotional development, not unsurprisingly the latter being of the rather romantic kind, as well as the progression of a mystery of strange behaviours among a large number of the students and, finally, Master Gray’s secret conspiracy.
The book ends in not one but two climaxes one of them, unfortunately, having somewhat of a tragic outcome. Also not unsurprisingly, by the end of the book Emily has added to her reputation of being someone who’s path should not be crossed in the wrong way.
I finished this book much too quickly. I definitely hope the author can keep the series going. The title of the next book is a wee bit scary since it seems to hint that it is not my kind of story but that will certainly not deter me from picking it up as soon as it comes out. After all, Mr. Nuttall have never truly disappointed me with any of his books.