Length: 291 pages
Summary: Faia’s entire village is wiped out by plague. (She survives since she was in the hills with the sheep.) In her grief, she slags her village with her magic. That much magic use alerts the mages (female magic users) and sajes (male magic users) of Ariss, who send a delegation to meet Faia and ask her to join their school so she can learn to control her magic. Faia isn’t very happy at the school, but she does have a lot of power. Faia’s magic use allowed Fendles (giant, magic, otter-like creatures) back into the world. The mages see Fendles as helpful creatures, but they are killing female magic users to regain their true human form. The mages think the sajes are killing the women and are going to make a first strike against the school. Faia and one of the teachers don’t believe the sajes are at fault and work to protect them.
Final thoughts: This was a perfectly serviceable, not very exciting book. There were lots of standard tropes packed into the book – coming of age, outsider with power, unknown evil, snotty roommate becomes best friend. The division of magic was interesting, with male and female magic users going to separate schools. That separation causes a lot of problems, though, and the Fendles used it to their advantage. Even though the book was only so-so, I’m tempted to read the next book. Faia, the interesting teacher mage, and an unconventional saje are all going off together somewhere. They must have some kinds of interesting adventures, right?
Title comes from: Not an obvious one. The city of Arliss was described as coming out of the mist at one point, and during the magical attack, fire bolts were thrown at the saje school.
Reading challenges fulfilled: book #42 for the year, and an L in my Author Reading the Alphabet Challenge
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