Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A College of Magics-Caroline Stevermer

Title: A College of Magics
Author: Caroline Stevermer
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 468
Publication: Starscape, 1994
Source: Bought
Rating:Heart Heart Heart
Teenager Faris Nallaneen is the heir to the small northern dukedom of Galazon. Too young to still 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 me 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.

Caroline Stevermer introduces us to the world of magic in A College of Magics. Faris has been sent to Greenlaw against her will by her Uncle Brinker until her majority when she can rightfully rule Galazon. At first, she tries to find various ways to return home, but as the years pass, Faris finds a home at Greenlaw. That is not the only thing she finds, but she has also found a belief in magic, a subject that is neither explicitly taught or practiced but everyone at Greenlaw majors in.

The way Stevermer incorporates the use of magic in the novel is flawless. The magic system is well thought out, having rewards as well as consequences for the use of magic. Not only do the consequences involve physical handicaps, but also upset the natural balance of the world. I found this extremely interesting since it is discussed throughout the novel.

Faris’s character is strong, well-rounded and thoughtfully written. While she does grow, she also maintains her personality. The various locations that she visits bring about her slow transformation. Even though the book is called, A College of Magics, only about one fourth of the novel actually takes place at Greenlaw. Greenlaw is a subtely present throughout the story, like an undertone to the events.

Overall,I found it a very nice read. It had nice pacing, but some spots were rather slow. It had good world building and excellent character development, but was not quite what I thought it would be. It has been said to be better than Harry Potter, which is probably the reason that I bought it in the first place. I find this to be a slight misrepresentation, since the majority of the first few books of Harry Potter take place at Hogwarts while Faris’s time at Greenlaw does not even take up half of the book. Also, the settings are different as well as the plot lines. So for those of you who are looking for a book similar to Harry Potter, I myself to do recommend it. I do recommend it based on its own merits.


  1. Oo. This is a completely new one to me. Some how I missed it, even with the comparison to Harry Potter. Thank you for sharing this one.

    1. Yes, it is an older book and I have had it for ages. Right on the front is a quote from a critic saying it surpasses Harry Potter, which I am assuming is the reason I bought it. But now that I have read it, it is very hard to compare the two since they split in different directions within different times.