Don t read this.Please please please, for the love of all things holy, don t read this book if you re an innocent child who thinks that unicorn poop would be the answer to global warming and world peace.I have read a lot of kinky books some I m proud as hell to admit that I read it and some made me wonder why am I so gullible but never in my whole life has I been scandalized with a book Orgy Sex in public Menage BDSMI wouldn t bat an eyelash reading those things Beheading Amputation and gory scenesI crave those.But this..this book just shocked the living hell out of me That s exactly my face while I was reading a certain chapter.Oh, don t worry The author s way of writing is good, the main character is a badass, and you wouldn t even know what s coming next.But what s in this book would still make the last shred of innocence shrivel up.I know that innocent people are as rare as a pink unicorn and I don t wanna be accused of corrupting those who are considered the world s last hope to decency So angel, don t read this.But if you re a rebellious shit and still decided to read this book, then come find me and we ll talk about this over some coffee and pizza. R Lee Smith s books are always are revelation for me She messes with your head, makes you question your own sanity and moral compass, and wraps it all up in a delicious plot so you aren t able to stop reading until you reach the last sentence.If you read and loved Heat, The Scholomance is for you In a way it reminded me of Anne Bishop s UF series as the otherness of R Lee Smith s monsters is pure perfection.I found out about Miss Smith through rave reviews of Heat and Last Hour of Gann on Dear Author If you know Dear Author, you know that they don t rave about books very often So I was intrigued, and then bam these two books made my top reads of 2013 they were so mind blowingly good.Mara, the main heroine of this book is a natural born mind reader, a sociopath and a perfect antihero Throughout her childhood she has been a very strange child and had only one friend, Connie When Connie found out about Mara s talent she got obsessed with having a power of her own which led her to learning about The Scholomance a mythical demonic school situated in mountains of Transylvania One day Connie disappeared, and two years later Mara received a letter from Connie saying that The Scholomance is not what it seemed and please, will she come and get her out At this point Mara is an independent young woman travelling around the globe doing something illegal with her talent and getting paid big money for it She doesn t have feelings or attachments, but memory of Connie is the only warm feeling that sustains her She gets into the school and it s brutal, sadistic and horrifying But she is a talented gal, she doesn t feel the same things most people feel and she doesn t have same motivations, so she is flying through the ranks while searching for Connie.This is a twisted tale, very harsh and dark It f cks with your head, folks, but the journey is worth it and the ending is incredible I don t even want to give you any details but this is great horror story with a side of dark romance and monsters who don t hide under the guise of humanity Very much recommended if you are brave enough to read it I LOVED it Bye bye, book Doom and oblivion are you Because Welcome to the Scholomance This isn t a nursery school It attracts the most depraved humans Shoving fellow applicants off a Romanian cliff increases the odds of admittance Tuition is affordable too That is, if your life has little value This is a trippy but effective shock suspense horror about a psychic girl on the hunt for her missing friend, her best, her only friend The sick sympathy this book extends to its heartless anti hero, Mara, separates it millions of worlds away from the traditional hero villain horror fantasy Often, it s inappropriately sensual in a beastly eel penis kind of way Sometimes, it s overwrought in a repetitive kind of way And once in a while, it s shockingly touching RLS uses the densely mysterious plot to create a tucked away world packed with unforgiving rules, sadistic magic, and terrifying demons with myriad attributes, such as quills, horns, countless eyes, and overlong arms that cling to the memory even if you don t want them to This exploration into the darkest, filthiest tunnels of the demons mountain is just as easily a study of the suppressed depth of Mara s true identity With her knife cut white eyes, she wades through a savage student body and a pompous clergy of demon Masters, panning their nonsensical and frightening truths Bold, even for a horror novel, it s a touch slow in the middle, but its mission glows like a beacon throughout Find her friend Get the hell out of Dodge Engrossing, different, and very long, this book is poised to reach a narrower audience with its horrific, creepy crawly tour of the rectum like passages of the Scholomance, which are vast, dark and skin slithering alive, by the way It s not a gore fest, but you might feel like taking a shower when you re finished And in the same spirit as RLS Heat, you might fall in love with the cruel monsters against your best judgement Really, it s hard to dislike a book in which the fearsome demon consistently asks, Shall I disrobe Here we go, fair warning first It s dark It s nasty It makes you cringe sometimes I didn t but I m wired differently so the basic rules don t apply to me My mother would probably drag me to the priest just for reading this book and liking it so damn much, even my kindle is tired of how many times it was read Sorry, I stand corrected, better make that a monastery, to become a nun or perhaps a mental hospital for cases without cure, rather than just to a priest.As a side note, have always wondered how did the original word from Romanian, Solomonan to be exact turned into Scholomance No joke I actually always did, ever since toddler me learned her letters and found her love for everything myth legend and ancient In Romanian we call it Solomonan or coala de solomon rie which means well basically Solomonan or School of well solomon rie As far as I know we don t always have a direct translation from or to other languages for some words or terms belonging to the legend myth category Do note though, that it resembles the name of Solomon extremely much So basically, a solomonar is a wizard Closest thing I can think of, that is be assured, I m not writing crap I m a whiz at myths and legends and ancient history, to the sheer exasperation of every kin I have And since my ancestor made up the therm, it s like a wizard who controls rain and clouds And possibly hail and storms Or to be precise the dragons of the storms What can I say Romanians We re inventive as hell when superstitious stuff is involved Especially in Transylvania.Scratch that, make it the entire Balkan area.As a native, I can honestly say that some of the translations from English to Romanian and vice versa made me laugh so hard I spilled coffee on my newly laundered T shirt nothing new here last time I spilled tea on my laptop and I knew exactly where my salary went afterwards The Dancing Goat is not La Dansul Capra, but La Capra Dansatoare or La Capra Dans nd don t get me started on the pronunciation because that s a whole new can of worms Dansul is the noun and it s articulated as in the dance And for people who might get the weird idea to drop by sometimes, Hermannstadt is Sibiu in Romanian Love the city That and Brasov, which are old style and awesome Just don t wear high heels on the cubic stone paved streets in the old centers But no matter, I always prance like an egocentric, well pony when I find Romanian bits thrown in while reading English books.Now, on to the good stuff.The book itself was um epic To say the least For lack of a better word that transcends epic, I ll leave it at that Well, it s no secret that I do have some weird tastes as far as books are concerned If it s gory, catchy and gritty I eat it like the Belgian chocolate stolen good naturedly from my aunt s cupboard Even if R Lee Smith was not one of my top 5 favorite authors of all time, I knew just by reading the blurb of this book that i would love it to heaven and back Make that to hell and back It had everything Yep, it did and then some on top of that The descriptions skyrocketed, the whole world scene was mind blowing in the sense that beyond the fact that it was original, the sheer descriptions and plot gave it a whole new category of awesomeness Mara was than I expected Even if she was not the conventional heroine, I loved her from the very beginning The way this book was written it made me relate to her so badly that by the second half, I was already wholeheartedly supporting her, cheering for her, willing to ignore all of her transgressions and honestly not minding if she killed half the people inside that mountain Not hard to think that considering that humans and demons alike were not exactly lovable creatures More like, put them all in a fictional pit inside the reader s head and watch them suffer.Of all the demons teaching at that school, nicely called Scholomance, I liked Horuseps the most So much, that I would not have minded a lot of things He was charming, sly, cunning and had quite a silver tongue Shortly, just how I like them Of course most of the creatures there had an agenda, but well, what s a good book without some plot twists good enough to launch your imagination into the stratosphere, right Let s move on to the good stuff The sex scenes were well, I d say a few choice words and insert a few gifs over here, but I don t want to be banned Kazuul was a bit of my guilty pleasure to read about And Mara s first meeting with him was equally memorable view spoiler He closed his eyes and opened them again It was not quite a blink His smile never shifted, but his eyes glowed brighter I tired of that game, he told her Perhaps too soon Thy manner is much changed from those I once knew the world has moved on, and thou art new come to it, I think How many years hast thou Why I do not lie with children, no matter how prettily they do beseech me at my bedside After centuries of retirement, you d be robbing the cradle even if I said a hundred, Mara countered So what difference does it make He uttered a low, noncommittal sound and eyed her again, unabashed in his scrutiny And how art thou called, thee of so many years You re the Master here You can call me what you like hide spoiler 2.45 This is a very hard book to review The main reason is the fact that I actually hated the story and strongly disliked the main female protagonist, if such she can be called However, I try never to rate on personal emotions alone, so I have to admit that the author is actually a brilliant wordsmith I would probably appreciate anything written by her, but this story made me feel not human It was cold, cruel, and so disconcertingly disconnected from all that is humanity, that I felt diminished as a human being I experienced such weird emotions by this, that I am not sure I can explain verbally all I feel I had nightmares for days, and it had nothing to do with the killing and gore as such, but by the way that killing and tortures were perceived as normal and every day by all, including our protagonist Things that were startling and hurtful to my soul were just pedestrian in this story So, once , a very, very talented author with a very disturbing to me personally story, reminding me once I should stick with romance novels One thing is for sure though, if the author was trying to create a story which would stick with you, mission accomplished I will never forget this one This is much like the other Smith books an incredibly elaborate, tall tale with wonderful worldbuilding There was a decidedly strong heroine, and two rather engaging heroes both vying for her in what wasn t really a love triangle.Yet while I have to start out with a full 5 I quickly and irreparably had to deduct 2 for something I find loathsome and extremely unerotic to read angry sex And this book had practically nothing but angry sex except for two instances of cheating sex I noticed that above all the US American culture appears to be fascinated with angry sex and sex per se and for itself, but nothing could be less erotic for me I never slept with anyone I was angry with ever It didn t even remotely cross my mind to do so I don t intend to ever do it either The very thought makes me want to puke and curls my toes in distaste So, while there was the usual, copious amount of sex in this book that you find with this author, I actively disliked reading these angry sex scenes.Still, the worldbuilding was a blast, the last revelation a real revelation and punch, and the whole an entertaining journey For once the romance in this was no romance for me, though, and the sex largely distasteful. I loved Heat and read on a blog that The Scholomance had the same feel to it but it lacked the humanity factor needed to make me feel for the characters This seems a pointless criticism since many of the characters aren t human, and their demon nature is explicitly depicted on purpose, but without any emotional pull I didn t find myself caring whether the main character died at the end or even on the next page Mara is a sociopath and devoid of any feeling, even physical pain, and is so all powerful that she s impossible to relate to in any way other than breathing The side characters meant to add humility and humanity aren t featured as POV and thus they too lose their relatability when shown through Mara s eyes I think Smith has a wonderful way of slowly unraveling rich plot devices and keeping the reader hooked even when there s nothing the reader can pinpoint as the hook I found myself reading to the last page because the writing is excellent even if the book was missing the heart and soul i ve read in Heat and The Care and Feeding of Griffins Smith can play with demons and aliens and world bending until I m knee deep in creep, I love her style, just as long as she brings it back to human level every now and then, like she did using the characters of Taryn and Lindaria Mara just wasn t the best lead to make this novel come to life, but it wasn t a total train wreck. Librarian S Note This Is A Newly Revised Cover Image For This Book Provided By The Author ASIN BVJHHQOFor Centuries, There Has Been A Legend Of A Hidden School Where Magic Is Taught By The Demons Who Dwell There To Anyone Who Seeks Them Out, But They Ask A Terrible Price Anyone Who Reaches The Door Of The Scholomance May Enter, But The Devil Takes Every Tenth Student Who Tries To LeaveA Hidden School Demonic Masters An Inescapable Fate For One Out Of Every Ten Graduates But Connie Would Do Anything To Have The Magic Her Best Friend Was Born WithAnd Mara Would Do Anything To Get Connie Back The Scholomance is a secret school where magic is taught by demons to those who enter The students are at the mercy of the demons and must obey their rules Mara s only friend, after being out of touch for years, sent her a letter which said she needed to be saved from the school Mara decided to save her, which really was quite OOC for her to do.The demons were pathetic and spineless I was expecting them to be badass and evil They didn t resemble humans, which was about the only thing that made them remotely creepy They had magic but didn t use it much, and it wasn t cool anyway Kazuul was the ruler of the demons All you need to know about him is this Okay so he didn t cry but close enough The rest of the demons weren t much better Mara was a heartless bitch She only cared about herself I really think the only reason she decided to save Connie was so she could feel better about herself The standards she held other people to didn t apply to her Other people could do horrible things, and it was amoral when she did something abhorred, it was completely justified She used everybody, but people were drawn to her like flies to shit I ve never read a book before where I was hoping the whole time that the main character would be punished or suffer horribly she was despicable.I felt so disconnected from the story and characters in general Some fucked up stuff happened, but I wasn t disturbed or bothered in the least The passages may as well have been talking about arranging flowers for all of the emotions they aroused Sexy times are always a good thing, but I didn t care about those scenes either Sex was used as a tool, a means to an end no emotion was involved The plot was shit Twists never came, and the book was way too fucking long not to have any twists Everything I thought would happen did The characters were transparent, so it was easy as hell to figure out what was going on The special snowflake trope is one of my most hated tropes ever Mara was special Magic came naturally to her She was desired by everyone no matter how she acted She was so special that she was never punished for anything even when she broke many of the rules It really got on my nerves because if there was ever a character undeserving of being special it was her It wasn t all bad I was into it for the first half of the book Then it got boring and repetitive The writing was good It was a great idea for a story, but I didn t give a shit enough to actually like it.