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The School of Hard Knocks Paperback – May 15, 2015

4.5 out of 5 stars 118 customer reviews
Book 5 of 8 in the Schooled in Magic Series

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 254 pages
  • Publisher: Paladin Timeless Books (May 15, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1606193066
  • ISBN-13: 978-1606193068
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (118 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,215,635 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Brian B on January 12, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This story started out fine. I was happy to see that Emily finally seemed to have matured. After all, she is about nineteen years old, so she should be acting like an adult. However, after a week at mountaintop, she seems to revert back to a naive girl, going with the flow and not bothering to think through the consequences of her actions. True, this may be common among YA novels, but I expect a protagonist like Emily to constantly improve throughout the series as part of their character development. Frankly, a foolish character wouldn't survive very long in dangerous situations. Besides, it's enjoyable to read about a characters improvement and successes.
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Good solid story. Emily plays spy in the rival magic school which has a dark secret. It shows some personal growth from the main character, but most secondary characters remain very thin. Emily shows more maturity, but remains magically relatively weak. This means most of her victories are the result of accident rather then intent. This was cute at first, but as she gets older one hopes to see more victories from planning and strength. After the last book the author seemed to indicate he was planning a long series. While one can understand the desire of an author for such success my experience is that it is a strain on the story line to draw things out too much. I hope that what has been a very good series is not harmed by trying to keep it going too long.
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A solid editon to the Unnamed World. I gave this book four stars due to the fact that Emily seemed to grow less as a character in this novel. While the additon of Mountaintop, Demons, add to the world, there seems little room for Emily as a character. They times when she does that a stand are around issues that Emily has already shown as a character. I agree with an earlier review, that Emily seems to be succeeded by Accident as opposed to Intent. She is a "Child of Destiny" and perhaps this is why she succeeds. We have been told that she has great magic power and potential, but her naivity is starting to wear thin; her lack of confidence and planning seem to say that any wizard that did not take mountaintops oaths could have accomplished the same task. I liked all of the earlier books and I hope the next book shows us a Emily that has more of a backbone, speaks her mind, and has confidence when facing challenges.
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The books in the Schooled in Magic series continues to be very enjoyable reading, at least for me. In this instalment Emily makes another trip outside of Whitehall but unlike the other such trips she is actually continuing her schooling, as an undercover student to Mountaintop, another school in the Allied Lands.

In one sense this book gives a bit of an alternate view of magic schooling in the Allied Lands in the sense that the way Mountaintop goes about it is rather different from Whitehall. especially perhaps in terms of the social and authoritarian structures and ways at the two schools.

It was quite fun to read about Emily’s new experiences and how she struggled, adapted and made mistakes. As usual the book is full of interesting characters not to mention a mystery or two. As usual Emily’s curiosity, stubbornness and ignorance about a fair amount of things causes her to wander into quite some adventure and make a few mistakes along the way.

I have to say that I was somewhat split at the end since none of the bad guys were really that bad after all. There was a reason they where doing what they were doing and they seemed to rather firmly believe that it was for the best of the Allied Lands. Several of the characters that one would have expected to be some really bad individuals actually came across as rather reasonable a lot of the time. There are really no simple, stereotypic, bad guys (or god guys) in this book.

The ending was not really what I expected I have to say. The secret of Mountaintop was quite nasty indeed. However, at the very end of the book Mr. Nuttall performs some equally nasty cruelty towards the readers by dropping a last minute huge loose thread in the readers lap. Arrrgggghhhhhh !!!!!

Dammit, I would have bought the next one anyway. You just made the wait a lot more painful Mr. Nuttall :-)
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I agree: excellent sequel. Hard to put down. Adds depth to the earlier books. Do start with book 1

Let me add to the above what may not be clear from the other reviews. This book is much better written than most of Nuttall's recent military Sci-Fi books. His latest works in that genre (and I am a longtime reader of them) have developed middle age spread. Not many new ideas, not many interesting plot twists. A whole manure pile of political cant.

By contrast, here we have a whole new school of magic with different ideas about how to develop young magicians. A few new characters. Emily continues to learn, develop as a young woman and make some mistakes.

However, the story here is small beans in terms of the overall crises afoot. I'm worried that, like his Corp saga, Nuttall will be tempted to string the Nameless World story out for another dozen books. Resolution of the crises with the necromancers and in the mundane world seem far off. I expect a plot will be set in her barony which will require a separate book. I hope I am wrong.

The little bits of British English that seep through the editors (wrong-footed) are a pleasant bonus.
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