Thursday, June 23, 2011

Academy 7 by Anne Osterlund


Aerin has never had a life of ease.  Raised by her father, he was the only thing she had until an accident shattered her life and sent her into slavery.  She has finally escaped, and is now being sent to a school - the most prestigious school in the universe.  If she can conquer this, she can conquer anything.  If she can be the top of her class, even passing Dane, one of her classmates, she will be satisfied.  And maybe she can discover a little bit more about the past her father never spoke of.

Dane has always had a life of ease.  But his father was never loving, and Dane wishes his mother was still alive.  He's a smart young man, but without any motivation.  When he is accepted into Academy 7, he refuses to tell his father, who is away with the military.  He arrives at the school and is immediately drawn to Aerin, the outspoken girl who is his only rival in the school.  Could they actually be friends?  Can he discover who he is and learn more about his father and mother?

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My thoughts -
Well, I must say - I'm intensely impressed.  Really truly!  Anne Osterlund knows her trade.  She works her words to her advantage:  everything is so neat and precise, but also leaves room for the imagination to work.

I don't read very many sci-fi, futuristic, space travel, or watch many of those movies.  But when I do I love them.  So when I discovered that fantasy author Osterlund, who writes about princesses and frontiers and frilly dresses and horses, had written a futuristic sci-fi that takes place on multiple planets...I had no idea what to expect.  Now that I'm done with it, however, all I can think is, "Dang!  This girl can write it all!!!"

Character notes -
Wow.  These characters are brilliant.  They're not only the top two students in the entire solar system, but the way Osterlund brought them to life was just the neatest thing to see.  All characters were real to me, from the moment I met them.  All were complicated, all were backed with lives lived, and all were added to the story.  They are not formulaic characters.  So, whatever characters you read about in Aurelia and Exile, you'll read something completely different in Academy 7.  Aerin and Dane are NOT Aurelia and Robert.  Thank you Miss Osterlund for gracing us with completely different/original characters - it is a gift to be able to build character the way you do!

Aerin was lovable.  I felt so badly for her and wanted her to be safe and happy.  She made me smile, she made me hope.  The cruelty in her past made me cringe.  I was so proud of her as she accomplished what most others couldn't do.

Dane was wonderful.  I loved seeing him change over time, seeing the gentle side of him come out as he formed a friendship with Aerin.  I had a hard time picturing him at first but before I was half-way through, I could see him in my mind as clear as day.

Story notes -
This story revolves around character development and interactions, but that doesn't take away from excitement and intensity of the events.  Space ships crash and are maneuvered around intense structures, brilliant students engage in physical combat, these same students sneak out of their dorm rooms and find themselves in bigger trouble than imagined...  It's really well plotted and aids the character development, and vice versa.

This story is really fast paced, but there is one aspect that is slow...  The love story!  YES!  No insta-love like the rest of the Young Adult genre and sub-genres.  There's no making out the entire book because they can't be away from each other for two seconds.  It's slow, perfect...  They have to get to know each other first before the love.  They have to realize they'd die for the other person before they become a couple.  It's a perfect pace and fits perfectly - because it went in the right order!  Ha!  Anne, I commend you for this.
I sometimes wish the story had been longer, but then again, not.  Because this is Osterlund's signature.  She writes really intense books, short, sweet, short books that suck you in - and in under 300 pages.

One word/phrase to sum it up (final thoughts) -
The word vast comes to mind when I think of this book, because of the vast world, characters, and story.  It's a big book, despite its small size.  It's vast in life, too, because everyone can relate to it: a lost family member, harsh family conditions, a desire to be free and learn, a love for someone that is so strong you'd give your life for their safety.  And that is what makes a book incredible.
For the parents -  Highly recommended to 13 and up.  A few minor cuss words sprinkled throughout.  Not in obscene ways.  "Damn it!" or "...knock me on my ass..." are about it.

Have you read this book and liked it?  Want to read more by this author?  Read my reviews for Aurelia (book #1) and Exile (book #2).  (Click on the titles.)

Read my other reviews!

9 comments:

  1. Terrific review. I love a book with great characters and I also enjoy sci-fi so this sounds like a book I would really enjoy. Thanks for the review!

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  2. I love your reviews :)

    I don't remember enough to really talk about this book, but I do remembering wishing it was just a little longer. The climax and big reveals felt a little rushed and I wanted to know more about them. I liked it though!

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  3. Ah thank you both! :) Jan - you should definitely give it a try!! Small - I understand where you're coming from, totally. I didn't feel that way myself but I could see where someone else might. :)

    Thanks for the comments!

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  4. Great review> You made me rethink my descission! I read some mixed reviews about it and I decided not to read it. Now I really want to try it! It just sounds too great too pass!

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  5. I heard about this book recently and it sounds fabulous. So do her other two! I bought all three and can't wait to read them, though this one got bundled with a pre-order, so I have to wait for it :(

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  6. It's already on my wishlist. not only I love the cover, but I'm also a fan of anything sci-fi, so this is a must read  for me.

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  7. I read this book years ago, but I have to agree with your statement "It's a big book, despite its small size." It truly is vast and full of detail, and that's the type of book that I fall in love with!

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  8. Great review! I have had this book on my to read list since forever and I am dying to read it :)

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  9. I have seen this book several times at the library, but the blurb is a little confusing. The sci-fi genre is a little new for me, and I can't really handle too much of it, but this one seems like it might be a good one to give a try. Thanks for the review!

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