Ursu, Anne

The Troubled Girls of Dragomir Academy

(2) 4-6 Marya has been told that her brother is the important one in the family, destined for a powerful role in Illyria's all-male Sorcerers Guild, protecting the kingdom from the Dread, a curse that wipes out whole towns. When she and her unruly goat ruin her brother's audition for the Guild, it's terrible. But is it so terrible that Marya must be sent away to the unknown Dragomir Academy for Troubled Girls? Apparently so, and willy-nilly she's ensconced in a repressive school whose motto is "character above all" and where obedience, punctuality, and propriety rank as primary virtues. There's much Marya doesn't understand about the Academy, and at first her bumbling explorations into its mysteries are stonewalled by the smooth-talking headmaster. But as she investigates further, she uncovers the drastic measures the state-sanctioned Academy is taking to repress and destroy all female magic—including the students' own. This is an accessible, timely school story with a rather Transylvanian flavor to its fantasy setting, not to mention a creepy realism in its portrayals of a cover-up and the destruction of women's power. Ursu (Breadcrumbs, rev. 1/12; The Lost Girl, rev. 3/19) explores girls' conditioning in timidity and shame in a male-dominated world and, ultimately, envisions a hopeful, female-determined future of magical ability.


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