Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Knightley Academy- Review

Alrighty.  So generally, after reading a book by an author I'm unfamiliar with, I jump online and have a look-see.  This is when astounding things like sequels, come to my attention, or in this case... that an author isn't a real person but a pseudonym.

Here I was, thinking  Knightley Academy was a debut authors first novel.  And I suppose, in a way it is, since Violet Haberdasher only started to exist when this book went to print.
Weird right?
I mean outside of Lemony Snicket how many Middle School authors hide behind a pseudonym?  Anywho, after beating around trying to find a Violet Haberdasher website I finally came  to the realization that Violet Haberdasher (I guess it's kind of a weird name, come to think of it) is really Robyn Schneider.  I also discovered Simon and Schuster (or Robyn Schneider) really aught to update the Knightley Academy site; seriously, I can't pre-order a published book and the extras page says access forbidden until March 9 2010....uh? isn't it August 2010??

Outside of these oddities I can tell you two things, this book is an entertaining read, and although it's not commented on anywhere that I can find it is surely a series, likely 4 books long.

Henry Grim is an orphan working as a servant in an upper class school, studying on the sly, when he is suddenly given the chance of a lifetime.  The prestigious Knightley Academy, for the first time ever, is letting commoners test for entry, and Henry is the first to gain admission.  Along with his three new commoner roommates and the daughter of the Headmaster, Henry spends an exciting yet stressful first year at Knightley.  Can he come out on top? Or will his first year prove to be his last?

Strikingly similar story arc to Harry Potter (orphan Henry, admission to a school he would never dream of attending, a teacher who seems to be plotting against him, a fellow group of outsiders to befriend, a lurking greater threat outside of school), the Knightley Academy is original while being totally unoriginal.  Which is to say I liked it, but there was a familiarity to it that I found disconcerting.  Henry's group of friends are fun, especially Frankie the Headmaster's daughter, and the action is largely enjoyable.  What I would truly like to see in the next books is for Violet/Robyn to pull away from the Harry Potter story arc and build her own non-referencing world.  Honestly, no story which mimics Harry Potter will end up coming out well in the comparison so I wouldn't recommend it.

Since I can't find any further information on her site or the Knightley site about a second book we'll just have to wait and see if I stumble into it down the road.  This has the potential to become a really good story, but I have to say the Harry Potter leanings will have to end to be so.

Knightley Academy, By Violet Haberdasher (Robyn Schneider)
Published by Simon and Schuster, March 2010

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