Most helpful critical review
This School gets a "C" in my book
on February 2, 2004
The title is quick to draw eager Harry Potter fans to its place on a bookshelf, and the whimsical cover may appear quirky and magical, but for fans of other "schools of sorcery", this novel may be disapointing.
A School for Sorcery focuses on an alternate universe based on late 19th century Europe where magic is common. Sabin's characters are original enough, but somewhat undefined; their pasts, though hinted at, are never discussed. Going in depth into an exciting magical world, what Rowling did so well with Harry Potter, Sabin fails to do with School; the reader is left completely in the dark mysterious land.
It begins as Tria and her mother secretly send Tria to Simonton School for the Magically Gifted, for Tria's rare magic to be trained. Her father scorns her gift, and Tria's mother is forced to spend all her savings to pay for tuition. When Tria arrives, the school appears to be in disrepair; everything is dusty and old, and much different than the broshure. The food is bad, her vain roommate randomly turns into a panther, and mysterious students Oryan and Kress have a deadly scheme. Now she must save her love Wilce from the clutches of the Dire Women within a year or Oryan will take over the school and all the students will suffer.
This book teaches an artful lesson about looking beyond the obvious and what's on the inside. Sabin should be acknowledged for her beautiful use of imagery and symbolism, however, the book contained flaws as well. Tria is a strong heroine, but younger readers will not be able to appreciate the intricate plot that brings out these qualities. The plot is both thrilling and darkly brilliant, as Tria discovers herself and her magical powers.
This book is a good read for someone who reads a great deal; for those who like a good book only once in a while, keep searching. I reccomend books such as Ella Enchanted(Levine), Witch Week(Wynne Jones), or Dragon's Milk (Fletcher) instead.Nevertheless, fantasy fans of Anne of Green Gables would appreciate this novel as would avid readers. Its paperback edition makes it affordable enough that you can read it and pass it on to a friend.
So, 3 stars for originality (despite the whole Harry-Potter-but-not thing) in the plot and characters, and the other two left off for lack of character development and interest. Happy Reading!