Now that Lord Fergun has been sent into exile, Sonea is starting her first year as Novice at the Magician's Guild University, under Lord Rothen's guardianship. She's eager to learn, but being a slum girl she knows it won't be easy to be accepted by, not to mention make friends with, her wealthier and nobler classmates from the Houses. However, she far from conceives the depth of their scorn yet. Indeed one of them, Regin, probably because he simply can't stand a mere slum girl outdoing him, will rally the others and gang them up against her, bully her constantly, play pranks on her, repeatedly ambush her to exhaust her strength and destroy her notes. In other words, make her life hell.
In the meantime Lord Dannyl has taken up his new role of Second Guild Ambassador to Elyne. After an adventurous sea voyage, and after sorting out some of his appointed duties in the capital Capia, he finally has some time to himself to investigate Akkarin's journeys. Indeed, Administrator Lorlen, who suspects the High Lord of performing Black Magic, which is forbidden by the Guild's laws, has asked the young magician to retrace Akkarin's footsteps, ten years earlier. Doing so, Dannyl meets Tayend, a scholar who works at the Great Library and has an amazing memory. The handsome lad will aid him in research and they'll become close friends.
This middle novel is very exciting, I just couldn't put it down. All the loveable characters from the first volume are back, with the exception of Cery, whom we almost hear nothing of. Replacing Fergun, Regin is suitably despicable and irritating, and you can really feel Sonea's frustration when she can't find proof enough to expose him. The High Lord, although first depicted as the ultimate invincible villain, becomes more three-dimensional throughout the book, and I'm looking forward to reading the thrid installment to discover what his real motives are.