Tor, Sept 2002, 19.95, 315 pp.
Tria has resigned herself to working on a farm and marrying a farmer but thanks to the machinations of her mother she is going to the Simonton School for the Magically Gifted. When she first arrives she is very disappointed because it is a run down place with few students. Her roommate is a selfish, conniving and untrustworthy minx who gets out of work duty and sets one boy against another.
Over time, Tria adjusts and even has a date for the mid-winder festival. That happy occasion turns to tragedy when her enemy Oryon uses his considerable powers to send Tria date and his friend into the realm of the Dire Women, dark spirits who dwell in another dimension. Tria has a lot of power but she fears she won't be able to learn how to use it in time to save her friends.
E. Rose Sabin is a gifted storyteller whose debut novel will appeal to the J.K. Rowling crowd, as this novel is a teenage Potter-like tale. The protagonist is a thoroughly likable young woman who makes mistakes and learns from them. Her adventures in the school and her interactions with other students make for fascinating reading. It is hoped that this is only the first novel in what could be a great series.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner