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The School of Hard Knocks

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A plot is being hatched at Mountaintop Academy, a plot that threatens the lives of Emily and her friends... and the integrity of the Allied Lands. In a desperate bid to uncover the secrets of Mountaintop, and recover her stolen notes, Emily goes undercover into Mountaintop, a mission that may cost her everything...


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A plot is being hatched at Mountaintop Academy, a plot that threatens the lives of Emily and her friends... and the integrity of the Allied Lands. In a desperate bid to uncover the secrets of Mountaintop, and recover her stolen notes, Emily goes undercover into Mountaintop, a mission that may cost her everything...

30 review for The School of Hard Knocks

  1. 4 out of 5

    Per Gunnar

    The books in the Schooled in Magic series continues to be very enjoyable reading, at least for me. In this instalment Emily makes another trip outside of Whitehall but unlike the other such trips she is actually continuing her schooling, as an undercover student to Mountaintop, another school in the Allied Lands. In one sense this book gives a bit of an alternate view of magic schooling in the Allied Lands in the sense that the way Mountaintop goes about it is rather different from Whitehall. esp The books in the Schooled in Magic series continues to be very enjoyable reading, at least for me. In this instalment Emily makes another trip outside of Whitehall but unlike the other such trips she is actually continuing her schooling, as an undercover student to Mountaintop, another school in the Allied Lands. In one sense this book gives a bit of an alternate view of magic schooling in the Allied Lands in the sense that the way Mountaintop goes about it is rather different from Whitehall. especially perhaps in terms of the social and authoritarian structures and ways at the two schools. It was quite fun to read about Emily’s new experiences and how she struggled, adapted and made mistakes. As usual the book is full of interesting characters not to mention a mystery or two. As usual Emily’s curiosity, stubbornness and ignorance about a fair amount of things causes her to wander into quite some adventure and make a few mistakes along the way. I have to say that I was somewhat split at the end since none of the bad guys were really that bad after all. There was a reason they where doing what they were doing and they seemed to rather firmly believe that it was for the best of the Allied Lands. Several of the characters that one would have expected to be some really bad individuals actually came across as rather reasonable a lot of the time. There are really no simple, stereotypic, bad guys (or god guys) in this book. The ending was not really what I expected I have to say. The secret of Mountaintop was quite nasty indeed. However, at the very end of the book Mr. Nuttall performs some equally nasty cruelty towards the readers by dropping a last minute huge loose thread in the readers lap. Arrrgggghhhhhh !!!!! Dammit, I would have bought the next one anyway. You just made the wait a lot more painful Mr. Nuttall :-)

  2. 4 out of 5

    Megan G

    These books continue to frustrate me with repetitive set up, lengthy internal digressions by the main character, and distracting modern pop culture references. That said, I keep reading them. Like popcorn, I just cannot stop. So clearly they are enjoyable, even if I am consistently exasperated by the main character Emily's oblivious blundering through the Nameless World and her continued poorly advised decisions. Part of that may be to generate content, but all of it seems to annoy me. However, These books continue to frustrate me with repetitive set up, lengthy internal digressions by the main character, and distracting modern pop culture references. That said, I keep reading them. Like popcorn, I just cannot stop. So clearly they are enjoyable, even if I am consistently exasperated by the main character Emily's oblivious blundering through the Nameless World and her continued poorly advised decisions. Part of that may be to generate content, but all of it seems to annoy me. However, I am now reading book 6 and I don't really anticipate that I will stop reading them, considering I finished this one in one sitting. TL;DR: I am frustrated by the characters, but I enjoy the world and living in it mentally for 6 hours at a time that I can't stop reading these books.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Logan Shipp

    best one so far Love this series and this one is by far the best yet. The moment I reached about halfway through and read about the only mundane that could take on magicians I had to stop and just laugh for a good while. It's great to see Emily transform from who she was just arriving in Whitehall into someone who isn't afraid to fight for what she believes is right and have the knowledge to do something about it. As always, can't wait for the next book. best one so far Love this series and this one is by far the best yet. The moment I reached about halfway through and read about the only mundane that could take on magicians I had to stop and just laugh for a good while. It's great to see Emily transform from who she was just arriving in Whitehall into someone who isn't afraid to fight for what she believes is right and have the knowledge to do something about it. As always, can't wait for the next book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Chrissy Stoll

    Wow! Mountaintop was VERY different from Whitehall. I loved the different setting and the different types of magic explored. Can't wait for book #6! Wow! Mountaintop was VERY different from Whitehall. I loved the different setting and the different types of magic explored. Can't wait for book #6!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Hollyberye

    Just loved this episode in Emily's school training to master the alternative world of magic. The author is gifted at storytelling and plot design. Despite this being the fifth, he keeps surprising me. I know some reviewers don't care for Emily, but her flaws, doubts, decision making, focus, sometimes wrong, make her more believable and interesting. Nuttall does a better job of describing the various forms of magic and making them believable than any fantasy writer I have encountered. My sole obje Just loved this episode in Emily's school training to master the alternative world of magic. The author is gifted at storytelling and plot design. Despite this being the fifth, he keeps surprising me. I know some reviewers don't care for Emily, but her flaws, doubts, decision making, focus, sometimes wrong, make her more believable and interesting. Nuttall does a better job of describing the various forms of magic and making them believable than any fantasy writer I have encountered. My sole objection to the series is the persistent use of spankings...I realize, however, that I am imposing my own standards and prejudice against spanking, and really should not for this alternative world.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany

    I was expecting some epic spying scenes here, but it seems that I wouldn't get any here... I honestly really missed the teacher and other characters in Whitehall, it didn't feel right without them... Emily's newest ally/friend/shadow Frida really pissed me off sometimes, she's just too troublesome and couldn't think straight or WHAT plain stupid?!? Ugh... Anyway, of course, Emily won the battle in the end just like the previous books... I couldn't wait till the next book I really miss Whitehall!! I was expecting some epic spying scenes here, but it seems that I wouldn't get any here... I honestly really missed the teacher and other characters in Whitehall, it didn't feel right without them... Emily's newest ally/friend/shadow Frida really pissed me off sometimes, she's just too troublesome and couldn't think straight or WHAT plain stupid?!? Ugh... Anyway, of course, Emily won the battle in the end just like the previous books... I couldn't wait till the next book I really miss Whitehall!! Let's we all move on guys~

  7. 4 out of 5

    Margaret

    Book Five School of Hard Knocks has Emily transferring to Mountaintop, another magical school from which her roommate Lin had transferred in Emily's Second Year. Mountaintop certainly does things differently, even if overall both Whitehall and Mountaintop cover roughly the same curriculum. I really enjoyed the getting to see how a rival wizard school operates. And the change of scene really helped keep my interest in the series as strong as ever! Book Five School of Hard Knocks has Emily transferring to Mountaintop, another magical school from which her roommate Lin had transferred in Emily's Second Year. Mountaintop certainly does things differently, even if overall both Whitehall and Mountaintop cover roughly the same curriculum. I really enjoyed the getting to see how a rival wizard school operates. And the change of scene really helped keep my interest in the series as strong as ever!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Robert

    I still have occasional problems believing the motivation of some of the characters at times, and I have problems with the random philosophical-political observations, not all of which I can agree with. That said, I am thoroughly sold on this series, which is quite long and yet every book is different. The previous volume was interesting, but slow paced. This one moves much faster and there is more action.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Dale Thomas

    Not one of the better books in the series. Not from a plot point of view, just frustrating. Whenever something significant happens, emily is too tired to deal with it and so the story drags on for multiple chapters until it is dealt with, or not touched on again. Ultimately she spends most of the book too tired to deal with any problems and so everuthing is dragged out as much as possible, resulting in incredible frustration.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ty Nyrin

    So this isn’t a review per’se I’ve read from Schooled in Magic to Mirror Image And it just occurred to me that Void has told Emily a little about his family, adopted her as his only family, and given her a ring with his family crest on it, excetra and so on...... But does anyone know what his family name was? (Christopher Nuttall doesn’t have any kind of fan-based contact Info)

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ruby Ridge

    Not quite up to the very high standards of the preceding books in the series but still a great read. I guess this is setting things up for later on in the series. Looking forward to getting back to Whitehall and familiar territory but understand the need for this book. Still loving and recommending both the series and the author.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ronny

    Another quick read, even if there are things that annoy me, the story flows easily and you keep wanting to know what happens next. A new setting (again), with some surprises and some rather predictable story elements. I'd write more, but I'd rather keep reading book 6 Another quick read, even if there are things that annoy me, the story flows easily and you keep wanting to know what happens next. A new setting (again), with some surprises and some rather predictable story elements. I'd write more, but I'd rather keep reading book 6

  13. 4 out of 5

    Christian Jeffress

    Fun Definitely another great read and a great addition to the series. I like that Emily is a flawed character still tries her best in this new and complex world she finds herself in. Looking forward to the next book.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Virginia Murphy

    New adventures Emily continues to both succeed and fail her way thru more adventures. Learning more about the differences between the world of her birth and the one she is growing to love. Hard knocks indeed.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Shereen Lang

    Wow! This series just keeps getting better.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    So far this is my favourite book out of the series

  17. 5 out of 5

    Helen

    A page turning venture into a very different learning situation.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Stoneturk

    Great read I really like this series of books poor Emily she does have a rough time of it, but worth reading

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rosina Rushen

    Wow This is a great continuation to this series. Twists and turns with an unexpected plot. I just hope the series will get better.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl Smith

    Good reading! I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it and this author. Everything I have read that he has written O have not been able to put down.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Delaney

    Wow I have enjoyed reading this series so much. I love the twists and turns the book takes as I read. I can’t wait to read the next book!!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ianrh

    Enjoyable series, well written and holds interest

  23. 4 out of 5

    David Murray

    Still delivering the goods, loving the character development. I will be looking at Christopher's other book series after I finish this one! Still delivering the goods, loving the character development. I will be looking at Christopher's other book series after I finish this one!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jay Collins

    Much like the others, If you like the others you will like this one, if you hate the other you will hate this one.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Renae Parker

    Buda bop Beep beeep booop ah ah. Beep beep ooop ah ah. And that means I love you. 4 3 2 1

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rick Stuckwisch

    Fascinating, captivating series. With this fifth book, I would say, it has definitely come into its own. It's not flawless, to be sure. It's a bit abrupt in a few places, and, as with many e-books, the occasional typos are irritating. Nevertheless, I'm increasingly impressed with the author's worldbuilding, and with his knack for reflecting upon multiple aspects of life and society within the course and scope of his narrative. With this installment, that scope has broadened, and various new thre Fascinating, captivating series. With this fifth book, I would say, it has definitely come into its own. It's not flawless, to be sure. It's a bit abrupt in a few places, and, as with many e-books, the occasional typos are irritating. Nevertheless, I'm increasingly impressed with the author's worldbuilding, and with his knack for reflecting upon multiple aspects of life and society within the course and scope of his narrative. With this installment, that scope has broadened, and various new threads have been added to and integrated into an already intricate storyline. Marvelous. My only complaint at this point is that I now have to wait for the next book in the series, and apparently there'll be at least two more installments after it, over the next year or two.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Stuart Macmartin

    Another compelling read, if with a few flaws. Continuity error: wasn't the staff destroyed? Maybe this was a new one. Maybe I misunderstood, but I didn't think the first book used a pocket dimension, although it certainly used something similar, and why would it have been allowed to be created? Or was it outside the wards? Again repeating a few thoughts unnecessarily. A few editing errors (missing the word "to" and some auto-incorrects). They should have been up front about the possibility of re Another compelling read, if with a few flaws. Continuity error: wasn't the staff destroyed? Maybe this was a new one. Maybe I misunderstood, but I didn't think the first book used a pocket dimension, although it certainly used something similar, and why would it have been allowed to be created? Or was it outside the wards? Again repeating a few thoughts unnecessarily. A few editing errors (missing the word "to" and some auto-incorrects). They should have been up front about the possibility of repeating a year. Her choice at the end was suggested to her by implication but she didn't know that? The extension to the behaviour of multiverse was a leap of faith, not something obvious. And "hell" and "God" are out of place. So lots of little distractions but overall a satisfying story.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Andy Free

    Wow! This series just keeps getting better. This is by far the best book on magic I have ever read, and, yes, I have read all of the Harry Potter books too. Author Nuttall has put some very creative and clever thought into what it REALLY would be like for a young girl transported from Earth to a world of magic. There are lots of unexpected insights here that will keep you interested and turning the pages. Nuttall's characterization, plot building, and writing style are nearly flawless. Plain and Wow! This series just keeps getting better. This is by far the best book on magic I have ever read, and, yes, I have read all of the Harry Potter books too. Author Nuttall has put some very creative and clever thought into what it REALLY would be like for a young girl transported from Earth to a world of magic. There are lots of unexpected insights here that will keep you interested and turning the pages. Nuttall's characterization, plot building, and writing style are nearly flawless. Plain and simple - if you like fantasy and magic and intelligent, fun writing about these topics with a great storyline, READ THIS BOOK and READ THIS SERIES. You won't be disappointed! For me as an author, Nuttall is an inspiration too - so for me I get multiple benefits as a reader and as a writer.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kjirstin

    I was actually a little disappointed that Emily didn't return to Whitehall for this book. It was very interesting to explore one of the other magic schools, and understand more about the world Emily is a part of, but I missed the friendlier environment of her home school. The mysteries that she works to uncover are fascinating, however, and one can see her growing up and learning more as a person. I was actually a little disappointed that Emily didn't return to Whitehall for this book. It was very interesting to explore one of the other magic schools, and understand more about the world Emily is a part of, but I missed the friendlier environment of her home school. The mysteries that she works to uncover are fascinating, however, and one can see her growing up and learning more as a person.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Linda Cavanaugh

    Emily the Spy Unlike many serials, this author has created a world roast enough and with enough unknowns, to keep the stories interesting. In this book, Emily is "kidnapped" by a rival school. Except the Whitehall master figured they might try that, and, together with Lady Barb, prepare her for a most unusual "semester abroad." Emily, being Emily, manages to turn the new school upside-down, uncovering the diabolical plotting of several of the staff. A fun read. Emily the Spy Unlike many serials, this author has created a world roast enough and with enough unknowns, to keep the stories interesting. In this book, Emily is "kidnapped" by a rival school. Except the Whitehall master figured they might try that, and, together with Lady Barb, prepare her for a most unusual "semester abroad." Emily, being Emily, manages to turn the new school upside-down, uncovering the diabolical plotting of several of the staff. A fun read.

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