Novice is a decent follow up to Magicians Guild, but it does have it's flaws. Most notably in the bullying that Sonea experiences from the entire class. This particular plot has been used and reused in so many 'school of magic' plots that it's almost a cliche and while the plot makes sense in this case, a ludicrous amount of time is spent on it. In a book that deals with trying to figure out the bad guy's secrets and a serial killer, an inordinate amount of page time is devoted to Sonea getting her books stolen, notes destroyed, teachers being willingly blind etc. Unfortunately this constant focus on this plot kinda hurts the narrative. There's a feeling that much more is going on, but we're stuck watching Sonea be all hurt and bullied. Imagine Harry Potter 1 without the search for the philosopher's stone and more bullying and you have this book.
The other major plot is the revelations about Dannyl's sexuality which is unnecessarily dragged out and rendered completely boring by the end of it.
Despite what appears to be a bunch of negatives, I did enjoy enough of this book to continue with the series. The narratives between, Akkarin, Lorlen and Rothen are a joy to read and the hints of a larger world saves the book in my eyes.