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Academy 7 Paperback – Bargain Price, May 14, 2009
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From School Library Journal
Grade 8 Up—In this futuristic tale, two teens with mysterious and difficult pasts meet at the universe's most prestigious and demanding school: Academy 7. Aerin, a foreigner and fugitive slave, knows she does not belong here. Dane, the rebellious younger son of the Alliance's most powerful leader, enrolls partly to thwart his father's control over his life. From the beginning of the school term, Dane's cocky, contrary nature and Aerin's extraordinary combat and computer-savvy land them both in trouble with the school's administrator, a powerful member of the Alliance Council. Aerin, secretive and estranged from nearly all social contact, and Dane, bad-boy, rich-kid heartthrob, are unlikely allies. Each holds a key to information that could cause political repercussions throughout the Alliance, and an uneasy truce develops as they are repeatedly thrown together. The story's pacing, intrigue, and subtly romantic overtones are consistently engaging, but the use of pen and paper and easily hacked computer systems seem anachronistic, and a few futuristic details may need a strong visual imagination. Such effects hardly detract from Osterlund's impressionistic and evocative storytelling style, as the plot moves at light-speed, and the setting and characters are believable. Academy 7 is a satisfying, refreshing portrayal of two smart, desperate, and unhappy young people struggling to make sense of—and better—the world their parents bequeathed them.—Roxanne Myers Spencer, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green END
"The story's pacing, intrigue, and subtly romantic overtones are consistently engaging...satisfying, refreshing." --School Library Journal
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Top customer reviews
What I like about the story is that it's not romance driven. It's not that it's anti romance, it's just not the focus of the story, which is refreshing.
The plot is ok too, with well fleshed out political & social institutions.
I believe that this is a book targeted at teens, which will probably connect with the themes more than I did.
The things that bugged me in my second reading were the selfish natures of the 2 main characters. Yes, they do grow up a bit by the end of the book & become less self centered, but not enough. It didn't
help that I really didn't like them all that much. They seemed to me to be just sympathetic characters that were pretty emotionally damaged.
I had a hard time with the constant rule breaking & weak consequences. It really seemed that the teen's motives, though selfish, justified their breaking the rules (and risking lives & security of data which would put a whole lot of people at risk)
In the end I felt that it encouraged not consulting or working with adults and to do what ever it takes to find out what was important to them.
On the surface, Aerin Renning and Dane Madousin could not be any less alike. Just a couple of months ago, Aerin was a fugitive, an orphan escaping a horrific past in a flawed and failing spaceship. She had no home, no family, and no future. Dane is the rebellious second son of the Alliance's most powerful - and visible - man. He's been given every privilege in life and rejected most of them. But Dane's life has not been as comfortable or as glittering as it appears to outsiders and his father's public mask hides a man who can be cold and cruel. Like Aerin, Dane has dark secrets that he holds close and shares with no one.
As the two highest scorers on the Academy Entrance Exam (given to 16 and 17 year olds throughout the many star systems of the Alliance) Aerin and Dane are amongst those chosen to attend Academy 7, the most prestigious and challenging school in the universe. Despite the disparity in their backgrounds and the extremely competitive nature they share, Aerin and Dane overcome initial mistrust to form an unexpectedly strong friendship, and perhaps something more. But it soon becomes clear that their own closely guarded secrets are not all that threaten Aerin and Dane's growing friendship. The pair find that they are catalysts for the resurrection of old conflicts and bitter rivalries within the Alliance.
This is the second novel I have read by Anne Osterlund (the first was Aurelia) and given how much I enjoyed both, I will make sure to read everything else she writes (in fact, I am eagerly awaiting Exile, the sequel to Aurelia). Ms. Osterlund's plotting is spot-on, her stories move ahead briskly without leaving the reader with a feeling that something important has been missed out or skimmed over. Characters are the most critical part of any novel, the real driving force, and Ms. Osterlund's are carefully developed and presented as fully three-dimensional people. Aerin and Dane are real, with strengths as well as weaknesses and the reader learns enough of their pasts to feel as if he or she truly knows them. I LOVED this book. It's futuristic without getting caught up in techno-geeky details, a coming of age story that manages to avoid emotion-laden angst, and romantic without becoming obsessed with the will they/won't they/when will they questions. In other words, Academy 7 is brilliant - don't miss it.
Dane knows his father, who was away when he got into and left for school, hates Academy 7, presumably because Dane's brother, Paul, was rejected, and tells him to leave once he finds out Dane is there. Instead, Dane decides to go out his way and does something to get himself in trouble, but accidentally involves Aerin. Instead of being expelled, they're forced to work together by the school's principal, who has ulterior motives for their assignment.
I've seen a lot of reviews that say Academy 7 is sci-fi, and it is, but it's not some heavy science fiction world that is nothing like anything we know, with Star Wars type creatures. I'd say it's more of a drama than anything else. I did enjoy the book and how long it took for Dane to warm up to Aerin, and even longer for Aerin to do the same. I'm really sick of this instant droolfest that happens in too many books.
However, I did have a few problems with the book. Every once in a while some of the phrases Osterlund used just of didn't make sense, and I wasn't sure what the character who said it even meant. Also, I would've liked to have seen more of the secondary characters and had them more fleshed out, maybe had more scenes in the classroom or even outside of it, to see what the students did for fun. Same goes for the professors, they were kind of one dimensional, and the "bad girl" of their class wasn't really that bad, she just seemed like a rich snob. I also felt that there wasn't any resolution with one of the characters who should've gotten some kind of comeuppance. Finally, I thought the thing that was used to fill in blanks was a bit of a cop out. I'm not sure how those gaps would have been able to be filled in otherwise and it answered every single question with a bit too much ease (I realize this is a bit vague, but I don't want to give anything away).
Despite the fact that I thought this was a good book that could've been really good, it was a nice and fast read. I usually read paranormal/supernatural YA books and it was a really good change of pace to read one that had a sci-fi bent.
Most recent customer reviews
Set in a futuristic society similar to Earth, Aerin Renning is a seventeen-year-old orphan...Read more