Book info

A Scholar Of Magics (2006)

A Scholar of Magics (2006)
Rating
3.73 of 5 Votes: 4
ISBN
0765353466 (ISBN13: 9780765353467)
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English
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publisher
starscape
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A Scholar Of Magics (2006)
A Scholar Of Magics (2006)

About book: This story picks up a few months after A College of Magics left off. In an alternate England of 1908 (Titanic beat her own trans-Atlantic record), Samuel Lambert, an American sharpshooter from the Wild West has been recruited by Glasscastle University, a top college of magic in England. The fellows of Glasscastle want to test Lambert's accuracy of aim in order prepare a top-secret project. Lambert feels at home there. He loves the calm and peace of Glasscastle, especially the evening chanting of the wards, but he knows Glasscastle isn't for the likes of him. For one thing, he doesn't know the first thing about magic and for another, he doesn't have the right background. Still, he is enjoying his time spent wandering the paths of Glasscastle and admiring the architecture; he even finds the Provost's wife charming for all she tries to read his fortune in tea leaves and by other methods Lambert finds silly. Six months into Lambert's visit, Provost Robert Brailsford's youngest sister Jane arrives unexpectedly. Lambert doesn't know what to make of Jane. She seems the serious, school ma'm type but then she bursts out with outrageous comments that reveal her sense of humor. She also insists on driving a motor car and treats Lambert and his friend Nicholas Fell to a wild ride. Nicholas Fell, the absent-minded professor, has a destiny to fulfill and Jane has come to ensure that he stops resisting his fate. When a stranger walks through the gates of Glasscastle and breaks into Fell's study, Lambert wonders whether someone else is after his friend and why. Lambert shares his suspicions with Robert Brailsford and the next thing he knows Robert has disappeared. Then Fell disappears and no one will believe Lambert that Fell hasn't just gone off on his own to pursue his studies in peace. Together, Lambert and Jane head off to in the motor car to find Robert and Fell and stumble upon the secret behind the mysterious disappearances. Lambert learns first hand just what the mysterious Agincourt project is. This is Lambert's story and almost a coming of-age book combined with an exciting plot. This sequel is much better than the first book. The properties of magic are still a bit muddy but Jane explains that Greenlaw magic is highly personal and individual so I guess that's why College of Magics was so confusing. Lambert is the main character of the story and I liked him a lot. He has a good sense of humor and he's an honorable man. He's an unusual type of character and it's fun to read about someone different. I absolutely love Jane. I enjoyed her as Farris's friend in College of Magics and adore her in this book. She's smart, witty, brave and daring. I love her quirky sense of humor and the way she can look serious and sound ridiculous at the same time. I also love that she has the ability to mock the Fellows to their faces without them knowing about it. She's a really strong and fun heroine and she and Lambert have great chemistry. The story veers off in a rather wild direction with a fairy tale about a lustful shape changer that seemingly has nothing to do with the plot and is a bit mature for younger teens. There's also a lot of mathematical discussion which makes my head hurt. I know that's stereotypical of me to say but I really am terrible at math and I hate it. The end of the plot is a little rushed and confusing and I wasn't thrilled with the final action but there's a possibility for another sequel where we might learn more about what happens to the characters. Even if you didn't like College of Magics, read this sequel!

I find it hard to articulate why certain books give me pleasure, without resorting to annoying superlatives (too much like the friend who, in trying to get you to love their favorite rock group, keeps turning up the volume, sure that that will suddenly convince you) or falling back on the helpless hand wave and "It's just, you know, like, really good."Has anyone else that sense with some books, that it is their book? I can admire a variety of books. Some I'll never read again—one experience was enough—though I came away impressed by many aspects of what is highly regarded in most circles as a brilliant book. Some I reread all the time, and yet to characterize this one as a comfort book doesn't quite seem to fit, either. The emotional payoff of a comfort book is usually its highest charm, and the emotional payoff here is actually quite modest, deferring to the intellectual payoff, surrounded by, oh, sparks and sunlit shards of the numinous.I love the characters, with their quiet observance of beauty, their appreciation of not just books and conversation but food and the sky and music and the passing absurdities of the world. I would love to spend time with these characters.I love how the colleges evoke the complete life of the mind. I first noticed this when reading about Greenlaw, in A College of Magics. Stevermer reminded me of writings from medieval nuns, from various women who had found a complete community with only their gender. Sex isn't missed, or even compensated for, it's irrelevant: the life of the intellect, and the company of other women, makes up the good life. The counterpart is here in the men's Glasscastle College.I love the witty asides, the references to books and music and events of the time—and the subtle ways in which some of these have changed. Like, the Titanic making yet another uneventful voyage across the ocean.II love the magical discussions, as people work out changing paradigms, and mathematics, and how the universe works. I love the notion of the wardens, and I absolutely adored what the McGuffin of the story did. And how it was all resolved. And that the ending was not a conventional one at all, but deeply satisfying just the same.
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Reviews
Hollowspine
This story took place in England and revolved around the further adventures of Jane Brailsford, Faris' classmate at Greenlaw and current mathematics professor at this same institution. She meets up with American gunslinger Samuel Lambert and adventure ensues. I actually think I liked this book better than the first one. Jane was my favorite character in the previous novel and I was glad that the story revolved around her this time. It's interesting how in both books the author obviously wanted to entice the reader with romance, but as in the last book, only gave small hints. Compared to this book, however, Faris' antics with Tyrian were wild, why they embraced with abandoned and kissed more than once! In contrast, Jane, is a perfect lady and in her most passionate moments perhaps gives a shoulder squeeze. It was also quite amusing to discover the reason behind Jane and Lambert's immunity to the weapon. The book was very sweet and silly at times, but also had a fairly serious plot, with many twists and turns, in fact, it occasionally got a bit confusing. There were so many different, yet similar, university chaps to remember that I would sometimes confuse them. Except for Fell, who was perhaps my favorite character in the story.I also enjoyed the fact that there was an American character introduced. Unlike some authors (cough...J.K. Rowling...cough) Stevermer is not too narrow minded and petty to include people of any nationality in her stories.
heidi
Who doesn't love a good fish out of water story?Take one prototypical American westerner, and drop him in Victorian academia. It's the story equivalent of Diet Coke and Mentos. The result is explosive, fizzy, and impossible not to giggle at.Samuel and Jane are an excellent combination, and together, you believe they can do anything. Jane brings all the suave, and Samuel brings a surprising array of talents.Although set in the same universe as A College of Magics, the magical structure is both similar and different in ways that seem oddly real-world to me. I have always thought that if there were magic, it wouldn't be very homogenously applied across physical and cultural barriers. This book seems true to that theory.Read if: You love a good period romp, and some interesting and unusual magical worldbuilding. You are my sister.Skip if: You are looking for something thoughtful and analytical. You are only in it for the romance.Also read:A College of Magics Naturally, you should read this one, too. I don't think order matters too much.Territory For Western magic and differences in magical inflection.
Maura
very very good. exactly what i hoped it would be -- a good fantasy adventure story set partially in a university setting. but it's also got some things i didn't expect -- like a touch of the Wild West! it's a sequel to A College of Magics which i read aaaaaaaaaages ago and remember nothing about except that it also was a very good fantasy story set in a university. it would have been nice to have more vivid memories of what some characters had done in the past, but really, it didn't detract from my enjoyment of this book at all. i highly recommend it and hope that the author has more to come in this series.
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