Warning – Spoilers!
A couple of reviewers had issues with Emily getting the blame for the events in the novel. While I understand their feelings, there are some reasonable reasons for her to be blamed by people who only know her by reputation (and, in one case, don’t like her.)
First, Emily is generally assumed to be Void’s daughter. While it is perfectly in character for Void to hide the existence of a daughter from everyone else (obviously, no one heard of Emily before Schooled in Magic) he should have given her a working knowledge of the magical/aristocratic community before sending her to Whitehall. Void’s powerful, but not powerful enough to take the prospect of accidentally starting a vendetta with two powerful families lightly. Ergo, she should have known the dangers.
Second, Emily has spent two and a half years at Whitehall and another four months at Mountaintop, schools that exist to do more than just teach magic. Like the English colleges and universities they were based on, they provide places for the elite to meet and get to know one another before they get into power. (Harvard and Yale serve the same purpose in America.) She might not be friends with anyone outside her circle, but she should at least know the major players and which side they’re on. It’s hard for them to understand why someone sent to those schools wouldn’t take advantage of the opportunity to make contacts among the elite.
Third, Emily is the Baroness of Cockatrice; she isn’t the heir-in-waiting (like Alassa) or an unconfirmed successor (like Alicia). In a feudal society, the ruler is solely responsible for what her people do. (“I was only obeying orders” is a legitimate defence, as it was in the Middle Ages.) It’s natural for people born in such a society to see her as the person who nearly created a disaster, particularly as it was a long-standing custom not to invite both families (and the grown-ups on both sides accepted it, as they didn’t really want to get into an open fight at knife-range.)
In short, they reasoned she should have known and taken steps to avert a potential disaster.
To add to this, Master Grey doesn’t like her, so he took the opportunity to call her out on what (he thinks) was a deliberate attempt to showcase her power or an immensely stupid decision to court disaster.
Lady Barb’s case is a little different. On one hand, she believes Emily (and everyone else her age) needs to learn to be self-reliant, or at least to have the wit to ask for help well ahead of time; on the other hand, she realises (and Emily doesn’t) that Emily is taking her friends, including Barb herself, for granted. She tries to tell Emily this several times through the book. (Hosting the Faire was a good idea, but Emily should have looked into what it meant and arranged for someone to coordinate it well before she completed Third Year at Whitehall.)
YMMV, of course.