Saturday, 11 January 2020

Book Review - The Academy by Isabella Kole

The Academy

Three Stars

This is a strange book. Ostensibly it’s the story of a young woman, Karia Daly who is sent to a super-strict academy of higher education in order to study journalism. However, there’s something slightly otherworldly about the whole set-up that is never really addressed.

There are occasional references to magic in the text (such as when she is “magically” bound to a chair prior to punishment) but these are so few and underdeveloped that it’s difficult to tell if they are there on purpose or not.

It’s like the author started off writing spanking-based Harry Potter fanfic and then decided to change it to something set in our Muggle world instead.

There’s very little sex in this book and all the spankings are – on the surface at least – all disciplinary rather than erotic. Which is fine and good and what you’d expect if you’ve chosen to read a book called “The Academy”. What’s annoying though is that almost every single one of those spankings is undeserved.

Karia is repeatedly strapped for things she hasn’t done and occasionally just on the whim of other people. It made me lose respect for the Academy’s Masters (you can be as firm as you like, in my book, but you have to be fair). It also made it difficult to respect Karia who just seems to docilely accept it all.

There is a nascent relationship between Karia and fellow student, Prince Henry. (For a supposedly strict establishment, the Academy does seem to provide an awful lot of freedom for its students to hook up.) This relationship is not the most interesting one in the book. In fact, the story pretty much tediously grinds to a halt whenever Karia goes to visit Prince Henry’s palace. In stark contrast, every scene that contains both Karia and her Discipline Master, Oliver Armstrong, brings the book back to life.

Master Armstrong. Possibly.
This is the first book of a series. It covers Karia’s first academic year so I’m guessing there will be three altogether. “The Academy” leaves the reader with a lot of unanswered questions – particularly regarding the character, history and motivation of Master Armstrong.

Hopefully, the next book will give the guy a lot more screen time. He is the best thing in it.

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