Magical School Books

After a lot of new books, I felt it was time to go back and reread something.  I’m still not yet at the mental point necessary for a longer series, but I wanted something more than a standalone.  Plus my brain’s a bit mushy, so something easy.  Which, as we all know, ends up meaning Mercedes Lackey.  And, because Lackey can work in any genre and category and have me enjoy her work, it’s a young adult series.

This is Legacies, the first book in the Shadow Grail series, coauthored by Rosemary Edgehill.  Not only is this a young adult novel, but it’s a magical school novel.  Can it get any more cliche?  Well…yes.  But I’m not going to get into all the details because the series doesn’t start revealing them until next book.

Our protagonist is Spirit White, a fifteen year old girl from rural Indiana.  She’s riding in the car with her sister and parents when suddenly everything goes wrong and the next thing she knows, she’s in extreme pain, about to be operated on.  The next time she’s aware, Spirit finds out that she’s an orphan now, that her family died in the crash, and that her parents had set up a trust with the Oakhusrt Foundation.  Once she recovers from the accident, Spirit is sent up to Oakhurst, outside of Radial, Montana, where she’ll live until she’s 21.

Oakhurst presents itself not as an orphanage, but as an exclusive private boarding school.  For students with magic.  Because every single student there has it, even if they don’t yet know what it is.

And yet…Spirit begins to suspect something’s not quite right about Oakhurst, and not just because it’s a secret magic school in rural Montana.  And she decides to do what she can about it.

I suppose it’s fairly typical for a magic school book.  You have your standard “learning that the world is a bigger place than you knew,” you have friends and enemies to be made, and you have the mystery to solve.  But I have to say, as someone who’s read the whole series multiple times, they do start dropping hints for the major climax in book four quite early.  And a lot of them.  However, it’s easy enough to overlook such clues when the book seems to pass them by.  A lot like how Oakhurst deals with some of the strange occurrences…

From Legacies, we move on to Conspiracies.  Having survived the climax of the first book, Spirit’s friends are finally able to relax and look forward to more normal activities.  However, Spirit herself understands that this was merely the first hurdle, and they’ve a long way to go yet.  She doesn’t yet realize how long it will be, but she won’t allow herself the luxury of denial.

Remember how “ogres are like onions, they have layers”?  Well, Oakhurst has layers too, but the more you peel away, the more you find out you probably didn’t want to know.  Everything begins to change in this second book, and very little for the better.

You can say that Spirit is the main character, and it’s true, and that her circle of friends are the other primary characters, which is also true, but Conspiracies also brings us Elizabeth Walker and her dreams.  And she just unloads it all on Spirit at one point, sounding utterly insane even for someone at a secret magic school in Nowhere, Montana.

And yet…well, there’s more to this series than two books.


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