The Zero Blessing: How Did She Get In?

24 Mar

One of the reviews of The Zero Blessing asked, quite reasonably, how Caitlyn managed to enter Jude’s in the first place. Why wasn’t there an entrance exam? Or even a test for magical ability?

Zero Blessing Cover R2 FOR WEB

The short answer is that there is no entrance exam. Anyone willing to pay the fees (or have their parents pay the fees) can get a place at Jude’s. The general assumption is that anyone can use magic, so it’s really just a matter of practicing and practicing until even the slowest students can use spells. (Or keep failing the exams to move up to the next level, at the end of the first year.) Cat’s father registered her (and her sisters) and no one thought anything of it. They would have been more suspicious if he hadn’t.

Rose was tested for magical ability – it was how she won the scholarship. (If you consider magic to be similar to music, Rose is the untrained talent who could be great with some proper tutoring.) It was assumed that she would pick up all the background knowledge from the other students, which is – to be fair – what happened.

Obviously, there are details I’m not going to go into about how magic works in this world, because they’re major plot points for the next two books. However, if you think about it, you’ll see that Cat’s is actually in a very lucky position – she has both the background knowledge and the training she needs to make use of her true talents. Others like her might well pass unnoticed.


15 Responses to “The Zero Blessing: How Did She Get In?”

  1. FarWalker March 24, 2017 at 4:16 pm #

    There is nothing wrong and it is quite common to have open admission policy’s. The student still has to do the work of course which is always the bottom line. I continue to enjoy your books. Please keep them coming and I will grin along with you. have a great weekend .

  2. An Marie March 24, 2017 at 5:09 pm #

    I actually thought those points came through in the story, but perhaps younger readers or speed readers needed them pointed out more? Anyway it was a very enjoyable read and I’m looking forward to the next ones.

  3. William Ameling March 24, 2017 at 10:35 pm #

    You only have 2 books for 6 and a fraction years of school ( or more, was 7 or 9 years for the school?). So maybe things will get resolved sooner for the series, or else we will see some major skipping in what the series covers of the school’s classes.

    • Kristophr March 26, 2017 at 9:21 pm #

      “Trilogies” usually run five or six books these days.

      The first was a good read. Moar please.

      • chrishanger March 31, 2017 at 3:24 pm #

        It will come


    • chrishanger March 31, 2017 at 3:14 pm #

      I may have the second or third book completely away from the school.


  4. Dani March 24, 2017 at 10:56 pm #

    The review may have been mine.

    It is implied that the main barrier to entry is a very high tuition fee. In practice, this screens for students from established families and students from new money. Not many commoners are going to get in except by the scholarship route.

    Rose’s scholarship is problematic. From what she says about home, it’s not likely that her parents knowingly signed a contract that said “The school may expel the student at will, in which case the family is liable for the tuition”, so Jude’s recruiters may not be entirely honest. There probably is considerable attrition among commoner students. (St. Jude’s doesn’t appear to screen for literacy either, and that’s a difficult hurdle. Rose got lucky there.) There is a good chance that the school will acquire the family, the family holdings, and a high-talent chattel when the commoner student fails. Are scholarships a bit of a scam?

    There are a number of references to commoner students being highly talented, or to people who were not talented enough to gain an education, so evaluation of magical talent is not uncommon.

    • chrishanger March 31, 2017 at 3:15 pm #

      Not really.

      Rose’s scholarship didn’t include ‘can be kicked out at will.’ It said that she could be kicked out for breaking the rules, which she did. It wasn’t fair, as Cat pointed out, but it was legal.


  5. Daniel clark March 24, 2017 at 11:11 pm #

    So I assume we will be seeing more Zeros show up through the series. It also occurs to me that Cat will need to start acquiring political allies and maybe a good place to start if she thinks of this would be to promise objects of power to a certain girl who is likely looking to turf her father from his position promising objects of power when she is ready to make her bid for his position witch could mean the difference between victory or defeat for political alliance would make a good start to cementing her own place as next head of her family.

  6. Pyo March 25, 2017 at 4:06 pm #

    I’d probably speculate more about why the (apparently extremely influential) magical families would allow caveats like not having their children visit during terms etc. That’s basically asking them to develop independence – would they truly want that? Wouldn’t they want such a school closer under their own thumps, perhaps even having tutors “politically” appointed, with, depending family influence, them getting various positions? How does the school manage to maintain its (if not perfect at least reasonable) independence? Someone needs to fund it, and you’d assume it’d be the families.

    On the other hand I can’t say it’s anything that bothered me while reading the book (I was mostly busy figuring out whether I found the age group and the school system and how they interacted believable, but I didn’t come up with a definite answer, eh…).

    • chrishanger March 31, 2017 at 3:19 pm #

      On the other hand, it encourages independence (which the kids will need when they take over from their parents) and allows them to make contacts with the kids who will be significant when they grow up


  7. Kell Harris March 29, 2017 at 7:36 pm #

    After finishing the book I got to say cat’s fathers guilt at the end is not enough. The older sister is practically a beginning psychopath. Or dark wizard in the making and he actually encouraged it or at least didn’t stop it. Neither did the mom. And it’s like they don’t bother with bella. So worried about cat being “useless” they allowed their other children to become terrible. What happens when the older sister becomes a dark wizard? And what logic was it that he allowed his older daughter to abuse his younger daughter? Did he think that cat wouldn’t hate them even if she got powers? Its like sheer stupidity and downright neglect. And sending her to school? Cat was literally in fear for her life. And yet she doesn’t hate or even seem to resent her parents yet. She just has low self estem. hmm I really want her to just once tell them both how she felt all these years and not just just let her parents get away with this.

  8. Jan Mantau April 3, 2017 at 8:51 pm #

    I have enjoyed this book and tried to compare it the whole time with SIM. But except of Cats social skills and book love she’s really a new and complete character, thanks for this!
    I fear the end of the book has one big logic problem: She’s not the most important person in the kingdom, because everyone can make objects of power now. They only need tools longer than the reach of their magic aura, those can’t be too hard to handle.

    • chrishanger April 10, 2017 at 4:51 pm #

      I wouldn’t care to try it

      Mind you, in the long run, something like that might be possible. But not ATM.


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