A College of Magics, by Caroline Stevermer

>> Friday, June 29, 2007

TITLE: A College of Magics
AUTHOR: Caroline Stevermer

PAGES: 380

SETTING: Alternate reality
TYPE: Young adult fantasy
SERIES: Not that I know of

REASON FOR READING: I've heard great things about it and... it's a little embarrassing, but... waiting for Harry Potter here, so a book about a school for magic seemed like a good way to make the wait seem shorter.

Teenager Faris Nallaneen is the heir to the small northern dukedom of Galazon. Too young still to claim her title, her despotic Uncle Brinker has ruled in her place. Now he demands she be sent to Greenlaw College. For her benefit he insists. To keep her out of the way, more like it!

But Greenlaw is not just any school-as Faris and her new best friend Jane discover. At Greenlaw students major in . . . magic.But it's not all fun and games. When Faris makes an enemy of classmate Menary of Aravill, life could get downright . . . deadly.
MY THOUGHTS: The book has been lying on my bedside table untouched for a month, so I think I should just go official on the DNF and put it away, back in the TBR.

The fact that it's going back on the TBR and not on the To Trade box will tell you that I didn't hate it, just couldn't get into it. Might have been my mood, might have been that Stevermer's style doesn't click with me right now. Whatever it is, I'd be willing to give it another shot in a couple of years and see if I feel any differently.

The main reason I had a hard time mustering any interest in continuing reading was that I felt very distant from the characters. Even though the action was narrated from her POV (though not in 1st person), I'm still not quite sure who Faris was, exactly. I know some of her history and I know she intensely dislikes her uncle, but I never got to feel this. As for her feelings on the day-to-day happenings and the people at Greenlaw College, I only ever caught some glimpses of them. She felt too self-contained, too opaque, and not like any teenager I've ever known.

Same thing for her classmates and friends at school. I barely had a sense of who they were, and therefore I could never really understand their actions and motivations. All their interactions felt highly stilted.

As for the day-to-day happenings at Greenlaw College that I refered to above, they lacked wow factor. This is supposed to be a school that turns out witches, and yet nothing the least exciting happens, ever.

Eh, well, maybe it's all so suble it's going -whoosh!- right over my head. That's kind of how at felt at some moments, as if there were things going on between the lines that I just wasn't getting. Makes for a highly frustrating read, I'm afraid.

MY GRADE: That official DNF.


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