4 out of 5 stars.
This book is hard to categorize as either Young Adult or not. Goodreads people have classified it as both, but I will put it down as adult. I think that teens could very easily enjoy it, but I found the content and the feel to be more in line with adult fantasy.
This book heavily reminds me of Patricia C. Wrede’s Cecilia and Kate novels. It is a cross between fantasy and the novels of manners of the late 18th century. The writing tends to be more formal and reminiscent of classical English texts, but still hold a lot of humour. Think very Jane Austen-esque. The writing also tends to concentrate heavily on the plot and dialogue, with less attention paid to internal emotions and internal dialogue than we are used to with modern writing. I found it refreshing and a change of pace from the usual style of prose, without having to give up my beloved fantasy.
Faris is a young woman very close to achieving her majority and gaining control of a small Duchy in Europe. Her (evil?) uncle send her away to a finishing school that just happens to also teach magic. She gains friends and a few enemies, but things start to look more serious when the assassination attempts begin…
I am a huge sucker for these fantasies that take place in a historical context that is so prim and proper. I guess I love the old fashioned charm of reading about calling on fellow nobility and getting fitted for dresses combined with magic spells. This one is really nice because the writing fits in with the time period so well. It is very easy to forget this was written in the 1990’s. Fantastic book for those who want some fantasy that reads a little differently.