E. Rose Sabin, Author . Tor $17.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-7653-0289-2

The teenage heroine of Sabin's 1992 Gryphon Award winner, Tria Tesserell, a country-mouse first-year student at the Lesley Simonton School for the Magically Gifted, is faced with three onerous tasks: befriending her unprincipled and talented roommate, Lina, learning to tame and use her own considerable magical powers and rescuing her love interest from the clutches of second-years Oryon and Kress and their demonic thralls. To make things worse, the faculty have made a deal to stay out of the conflict with Oryon and Kress, leaving Tria armed only with a few tentative friendships and what little she can remember from her sleep-inducing classes. As she and her fellow students—most of whom are little more than plot points with names—go from classroom to school dance to interdimensional corridor, they encounter a number of genuinely interesting concepts and creatures; but Sabin seems determined to fit everything into one book (in a break from recent trends, she ties off every possible loose end, leaving no room for sequels) and the most intriguing aspects of the school end up sadly undeveloped. The story has its charms, but it's so easy to follow and predict that the plot twists don't and the surprise ending isn't. The 12-and-under set will appreciate the uncomplicated tale, snippets of magical boarding-school life and happy ending, but only if they've yet to encounter J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books, which outclass this one by a substantial margin. (Sept. 12)

Reviewed on: 09/09/2002
Release date: 09/01/2002
Mass Market Paperbound - 320 pages - 978-0-7653-4219-5
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-7569-5132-0
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 978-0-312-70817-7
Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-4299-8025-8
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