This one was fun, although it took me a while to get into it. I think because it was covering the thoughts and journal entries and doings of so many different characters in brief snippets, I had trouble keeping them straight or caring who was who and doing what at first. The journal entries were curious because half of them written nonsense and one kid wrote in code, as they knew the teachers would read it. It’s set in a gloomy boarding school, on a world parallel to Earth but where magic exists, and witches are heavily persecuted. So much that anyone accused is in fear of their life, and words like magic are used as swears. When the book opens one teacher has received an anonymous note accusing another student of being a witch. He’s sure some of them are, because quite a few students were orphaned when a parent was burned at the stake, for being that. There follows a lot of ins and outs as various students try to figure out who might be a witch, who did the accusing, are some of the teachers witches too? it seems so. There’s all the usual school scuffles, vying for popularity, trying to avoid detention, pulling pranks on each other, etc- but with the added quirk of magic thrown in. Because yes, some of the kids can do magic- but several of them don’t realize it until later on- and it’s quite delightful to see them all come together in the end and realize who has been doing what, and why. Chrestomanci makes a significant appearance in this one, coming in near the end to help set things straight- but not without the kids getting roundly chastised for causing trouble- and I appreciated that this book had an explanation for Chrestomanci’s role because I had forgotten the details of that when I was reading Magicians of Caprona. Laughed out loud quite a few times while reading this, which is great.
Borrowed from the public library.