The Scholomance by R. Lee Smith
Mara is not your ordinary heroine. She is antisocial, reserved, hard as nails and a powerful psychic to boot. Her only real emotional weakness comes in her affection for her best friend since childhood, the only person in Mara’s life who has ever really loved her, Connie. Then Connie disappears and one day Mara gets a letter. In its totality, it reads: ‘South of Altenmunster. West of Lake Teufelsee. Look for the door on Halloween night ONLY. I was wrong about this place. Please come and get me.’
And so, Mara goes to Romania, fully intending to rescue her best friend. And like the Terminator another reviewer compared her to, Mara pursues this single-minded goal with unstoppable devotion, taking the reader on a ofttimes horrific journey through the Devil’s School, a place where only the worst among men go to learn the kinds of magic that only demons teach.
It took me all weekend to read this book, and I did it in true Smith style–totally engrossed from page one, The Scholomance in one hand and a dictionary in the other. Mara was a hard heroine to like. She breaks all the stereotypes, not just of what a heroine should be, but of what a woman should be, too. I loved this story from beginning all the way to twisted end. It is a dark, dark fantasy with erotic undertones that come out in the most awful ways. (Horuseps. OMG. Enough said.) Expect to be fascinated, expect to be aroused, expect to be pushed beyond your comfort zone, and above all, expect the best because this author delivers nothing less. 5 Stars