- Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Starscape (Aug. 18 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0765342197
- ISBN-13: 978-0765342195
- Product Dimensions: 2.8 x 2.8 x 2.8 cm
- Shipping Weight: 118 g
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #876,224 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
A School for Sorcery Mass Market Paperback – Aug 18 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
The teenage heroine of Sabin's 1992 Gryphon Award winner, Tria Tesserell, a country-mouse first-year student at the Lesley Simonton School for the Magically Gifted, is faced with three onerous tasks: befriending her unprincipled and talented roommate, Lina, learning to tame and use her own considerable magical powers and rescuing her love interest from the clutches of second-years Oryon and Kress and their demonic thralls. To make things worse, the faculty have made a deal to stay out of the conflict with Oryon and Kress, leaving Tria armed only with a few tentative friendships and what little she can remember from her sleep-inducing classes. As she and her fellow students-most of whom are little more than plot points with names-go from classroom to school dance to interdimensional corridor, they encounter a number of genuinely interesting concepts and creatures; but Sabin seems determined to fit everything into one book (in a break from recent trends, she ties off every possible loose end, leaving no room for sequels) and the most intriguing aspects of the school end up sadly undeveloped. The story has its charms, but it's so easy to follow and predict that the plot twists don't and the surprise ending isn't. The 12-and-under set will appreciate the uncomplicated tale, snippets of magical boarding-school life and happy ending, but only if they've yet to encounter J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books, which outclass this one by a substantial margin.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“[A] most enjoyable book!” ―Joan Aiken
“This is a most enjoyable book! It belongs to a genre of stories I adored when I was young; books such as A Girl of Limberlost and Anne of Green Gables. Tria, the heroine of A School for Sorcery, is faced with an outsized tussle: her elegant, spiteful roommate has a habit of turning into a black panther at times of stress, a hostile male student summons fearsome entities known as the Dire Women, and the whole sorcery course looks as if it will come to a cataclysmic end until Tria manages to call upon unexpected reserves of power. This is an elegant, complicated story, at times running into parallel action to perplex the pursuing reader. E. Rose Sabin is a writer to look out for.” ―Joan Aiken, author of The Wolves of Willoughby Chase
“J. K. Rowling introduced us to the charms and secrets of Hogwarts; now E. Rose Sabin opens up a school for teens who posses equal talents. A School for Sorcery is an excellent study of teens and magic in a very unusual school.” ―Andre Norton, SFWA Grand MasterSee all Product description
Top Customer Reviews
Tria Tesserell is a 16-year-old farmer's daughter who has always known that she had had some magic gifts. Unfortunately, because of her close minded father, she has been forced to keep her powers hidden. But when she gets accepted to the Lesley Simonton School for the Magically Gifted she is thrilled. She won't have to keep her powers hidden any longer. But her enthusiasm is diminished when she actually gets to the campus. The buildings are crumbling, the hallway seems to be covered in a thick layer of dust and grime, and the food is old and stale. Tria gets in trouble right away when one of her powers she never knew she possessed works without her even knowing it. To top it off Tria's new roommate is a witch in more ways than one. Tria feels as if she can never learn to love this school. And just when she start's getting used to it and things start looking up a darker more sinister evil takes into play. Oryon, a second year student, has summoned an evil source that has kidnapped two of Tria's fellow students and friends. It looks like Tria is the only one that can save them, but she doesn't even know how.
I was unsure whether to give this book 4 stars of 5. There were many good qualities. The author manages to take a familiar scene (a magic school) and take it in a completely different direction. The characters are amusing and sometimes scary. And the emphasis in this book is more on ethical magic than breaking the rules for the greater good (like in Harry Potter). Still there are a few plot holes. Because there are so many characters many of them get introduced and seem like they will become large parts in the books. Instead they merely vanish about halfway through the book. But beyond that this book is great. I hope to see more works of fantasy from E. Rose Sabin, maybe in this world. I recommend it to fans of JK Rowling and Diane Wynne Jones.
Tria Tesserell has always had magical gifts, but living in a small village with a strict father and cowed mother has never given her room to exercise those gifts. So she is thrilled to go to the Lesley Simonton School for the Magically Gifted. Until she arrives, that is -- there are few students, grimy buildings, tiny rooms and stern teachers. Tria breaks an important rule (folding time) within a few hours of arriving, and her roommate is Lina, a charmingly nasty panther-girl who proceeds to make life difficult -- and not just for Tria.
But the two girls have to put their differences aside on the night of a formal dance. There, a pair of male students, Oryon and Kress, bring in beautiful masked women -- who reveal themselves to be demonic Dire Women. The Dire Women snatch up a pair of young boys and escape the school. The Headmistress is unable to stop Oryon or bring back the boys -- and it falls to Tria and her pals to bring them back.
"School For Sorcery" has an adequate plot, adequate writing, adequate characters, and adequate dialogue. The key word there is "adequate." has a lot of the standard boarding-school characters and problems. As a result, it ends up retreading a lot of the same territory as the Harry Potter and "College of Magics" books. The universe that Sabin writes is also rather undefined. Is this fictional world an alternate universe or a separate fantasy world? It's never entirely clear.
The writing is fairly standard, ranging from extremely descriptive to painfully stark, and it lacks the lushness of Emily Drake's writing, or the entertaining zip of Diana Wynne-Jones'. There seems to be a bit of an anti-male streak, as virtually all the men are ineffectual, bigoted or evil. The dialogue is a bit of a problem; it's often more than a little stilted (hasn't anyone in this book ever heard of contractions?) and this becomes especially distracting during dramatic moments. And some readers may not be keen on the heroines summoning a demonic Dire Woman in a rather sinister ritual that involves animal sacrifice and a pentagram.
Tria herself is a fairly ordinary heroine. There is nothing to really set her apart or make her special, except for her rather vaguely-defined powers. Nubba will gain more sympathy from readers, between her hysterical fits and teasing from her classmates. Other girls such as Kathyn and Taner don't reaklly display any individual characteristics aside from "angry sister" and "tough warrior-woman"; they don't detract from the plot, but they don't add to it either. Oryon at first seems like a promising villain, but he quickly descends into blatant mustache-twirling.
If you're an older Harry Potter fan waiting for the next book, you won't find what you crave in this rather lackluster first novel. It has all the trappings of a ripping good fantasy, but never rises high enough to be better than "okay."
Over time, Tria adjusts and even has a date for the mid-winder festival. That happy occasion turns to tragedy when her enemy Oryon uses his considerable powers to send Tria date and his friend into the realm of the Dire Women, dark spirits who dwell in another dimension. Tria has a lot of power but she fears she won't be able to learn how to use it in time to save her friends.
E. Rose Sabin is a gifted storyteller whose debut novel will appeal to the J.K. Rowling crowd, as this novel is a teenage Potter-like tale. The protagonist is a thoroughly likable young woman who makes mistakes and learns from them. Her adventures in the school and her interactions with other students make for fascinating reading. It is hoped that this is only the first novel in what could be a great series.
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