26 October 2011

The Academy by T.P. Boje

Have you ever wondered where you go when you die? Meghan is 16 when it happens to her. She wakes up on a flying steamboat on her way to a school run by Angels in a white marble castle. On the boat she meets Mick who has been dead for more than a hundred years but still looks like he is a teenager. He helps her through the difficult beginning at the new school in a new world filled with heavenly magic. One day some of Meghan's roommates find a mirror in the cellar of the school and they persuade her to go through it with them - well knowing it is strictly against the rules of the school. Meghan ends up back on earth where she meets Jason. But Jason is in danger and Meghan knows something important. Soon she is forced to choose between the two worlds. The one she belongs to now, and the one she left.

I received this copy in exchange for an honest review.

A great story, but not my cup of tea.  The idea was original overall, but the writing distracted me.  The main character, Meghan, wasn't really compelling to me.  I feel as if it could have been improved had the characters had more original arcs and the writing sharpened up a bit.

The idea was great—going to a school for the dead. A bit like Harry Potter (J.K. Rowling) mixed with Elsewhere (Gabrielle Zevin).  Some of it was cliché, but I liked how they learned about not having to walk on solid ground—how they could just float.  Cool powers, but personally, I think it would suck to die and have to go to school to learn how to be dead.  I mean, dying is a great school excuse.

The writing style was what got me.  There was a lot of telling and very little showing. It sounded like a journal, and probably would have come off a bit better had it been formatted and presented as such.  And I kept getting snapped out of the world by the dialogue.  Very stilted and predictable.  If the dialogue had been snappier and more character-specific, I probably wouldn't have been so distracted.

Meghan wasn't what I would call an ideal main character—she came off very 2D.  I didn't feel compelled to really care about what happened to her.  While I prefer snappy characters that are brimming with angst, Meghan had a lot of potential for a humble, quick-witted character favorite.  She just…fell flat for me.  The stakes she dealt with weren't very high.

So.  Great idea, but the writing could be better and the characters deepened a bit.

Book Info:

  • pages – paperback, 266
  • published – September 2011
  • publisher – self
  • genre – paranormal
  • received via – author :)
  • rating – 3/5
  • series – Afterlife
    • The Academy
    • Serenity (coming October 2011)