It took me a little while to get into this story. Once I got used to the dual narrative presentation, I settled in a little better. By the time I got to the cliff-hanger ending, I was ready to put the second in the series on my RecordedBooks wishlist.
The book is told from two points of view. One is by Sadima, a girl who was born into a world that only barely recognized magic, in fact is was outlawed. Sadima's mother dies at her birth at the hands of a charlatan magician and her father goes into grief stricken silence, leaving Sadima's brother to raise her. Sadima finds she has the ability to speak with animals. She keeps the talent hidden to appease her family, but tales of her abilities reach the ears of Somiss, a wizard trying to resurrect magic at the possible expense of his life. Somiss sends Franklin, his friend and aide in the pursuit of all things magical, to search out Sadima and bring her to him. She goes, , while helping where she can, cooking, cleaning, copying scripts. She begins falling in love with Franklin, knowing it is an ill-fated relationship.
The second is told by a young man, Hahp. He is given to the wizard academy, run by Somiss and Franklin. This part of the story takes place much later in time. I didn't cotton onto this until well into the book.
Magic has been restored, but it is available only to the wealthy and is strictly controlled by wizards within the hermitic academy of magic. Only one of the ten students will graduate -- that student will be the one to survive every test.
This is a YA book for ages 12 and up. I do recommend it for anyone who likes a well-written tale of magic, strength of character, good versus evil, survival of spirit.
Four wizardly beans....