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Knightley Academy Paperback – March 8, 2011
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From School Library Journal
Grade 8 Up—Haberdasher introduces readers to an alternate history in which a treaty among the nations of the Britonian Isles has made combat training illegal at Knightley Academy. Though electricity is commonplace, horse-drawn carriages are far more frequently used than cars, and weapons technology remains at the level of swords and polearms. Servant boy Henry Grim is the first commoner to be admitted to the elite academy, which trains police, detectives, and other protectors of the public. Negotiating his way through his classes is the least of Henry's worries, however. Someone doesn't want commoners at Knightley and is working hard to sabotage Henry and two other misfits. Add a brewing tension in the Nordlands, and the political sphere of Henry's world becomes far larger than the orphan boy ever believed possible. Beginning with a self-conscious narrator in the style of J. M. Barrie or Lemony Snicket, the story progresses with the same kind of school-story mystery that worked so well in the "Harry Potter" novels. However, there is no magic here—just classical knightly studies and political commentary written on a level that even reluctant readers should find accessible. The characters, particularly Henry and his early nemesis, Valmont, are well drawn. Henry's outcast roommates and the unconventional daughter of the headmaster are also appealing. Clearly set up as the beginning of a series, the book should do well with some "Harry Potter" readers, but is unlikely to have the same widespread appeal.—Alana Joli Abbott, James Blackstone Memorial Library, Branford, CT
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Henry Grim is an orphaned servant who studies in secret, hoping to rise above his station. He gets his chance when he is allowed to sit for the Knightley Academy entrance exam and becomes the first commoner admitted. This prestigious school once trained knights for combat, but combat was outlawed when the Longsword Treaty brought peace to the Britonian Isles. If Henry excels, Knightley could open its doors to commoners for good, but vicious sabotage threatens his triumph. On the hunt to identify his saboteurs, Henry discovers a plot to break the treaty and start a war. Haberdasher embraces the Harry Potter comparison with in-jokes, but this series debut doesn’t rise above the comparison. Knightley Academy has disappointingly little to do with actual knights-in-training; it is more like an elite boarding school, and what knights do in this alternate history is unclear. Yet Henry and his outcast friends are an appealing group with great chemistry, and it’s easy to enjoy their fast-paced adventures as they navigate classes and thwart bullies. Grades 4-8. --Krista Hutley --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top customer reviews
I thought Henry was an interesting character - bright, honest, loyal. His friends who represented a religious minority and an ethnic minority were well-drawn characters too with distinct personalities outside of their minorities. They also befriend the daughter of the Headmaster whose actions underscore the fact the women are second class citizens in the society. Even though the characters' basic descriptions were stereotypical - the poor servant boy, the Jewish student, the Indian student, and the rebellious girl - they had other unique and interesting character traits.
I hope that there will be sequels as the large problem with the neighboring country was not resolved. Our characters' problem was resolved. They have managed to stay in the Knightley Academy.
Recommended for middle grade and young adult readers who are fans of boarding schools, adventures, and historical fiction.
Initially, you might think that Knightley Academy by Violet Haberdasher, is just another Harry Potter knock-off. There's an orphaned boy gaining access to a special school, who is mentored by adults who want him to succeed. A teacher who seems to dislike said boy on sight, a nemisis much like the pointed-chin Malfoy. Even the way the story is written is reminiscent of Harry Potter. However, that's where the similarities end.
While the stories do share a lot of similar elements, they are not the same. The idea of a young, unfortunate boy finding out that he's special in some way (or in this case, attending a special school), finding friends in unlikely places and over coming a difficult situation - against all odds - is not a new idea. It's been written and rewritten for years. It's the execution of the idea that makes a story stand out.
I'd venture to say that Knightley Academy can stand on it's own. There were times when I found the prose a little awkward and the situations a little unrealistic. One of the conflicts in the story was related to a political treaty and politics is a main theme that runs through the entire narrative and sometimes reads a bit dry. As the story progresses, it comes into its own, and even though it started slow, the end had me rooting for Henry.
While I wouldn't call it original, I think that it is a fun read for young readers. I'm looking forward to seeing how this story develops.
Fortunately, author Violet Haberdasher makes this story her own. There's no magic here. Knightley Academy trains modern-day knights, who will become the nation's leaders, police, detectives, royal guards and the like. There are plenty of lively characters, likable and not, one of the best being the bright, rebellious daughter of the headmaster. There's also a menacing, warlike country just north of England, the Nordlands, that's intolerant of religious, ethnic and racial minorities and forbids education for girls.
On the whole, it's a well-told, entertaining story that's hard to put down, and, like the Potter series, it has a cheerful, upbeat tone despite all the obstacles that Henry and his friends confront. There's a happy ending, but enough loose ends are left for the promised sequel, which I am eagerly awaiting.
Violet Haberdasher has filled the pages of Knightley Academy with the most interesting plot line. We've all read books with different types of schools, but this one is to be a knight - which is quite epic. It was so much fun to read. I really had no idea what to expect when I started, but I loved what I found.
The cast of characters in Knightley Academy was an awesome bunch, you loved them all right away! I loved Frankie - she's the girl who's been kicked out of three different schools and doesn't want to learn all the ladylike things such as embroidery. She was so spunky and determined. Professor Stratford was such a nice person, and you just loved him. Henry was so good - you kept waiting for him to finally lower himself to the level of those who disrespect him, but he didn't.
I would highly suggest this book to everyone. It's a fast read with fun story woven throughout the pages. You come to love the character and the stories they bring nearly right away.
Most recent customer reviews
Rohan was my fav character because he reminds me of myself.
Henry Grim:has two main friends one who chooses to follow the rules,one who doesn't...Read more