Monday, May 11, 2015

Pennyroyal Academy by M.A. Larson

I first heard about this book on one of the blogs I follow (but I forgot to take down the blog name >< Let me know if it's you!). I thought it sounded awesome, because fairy-tales, and managed to grab a library copy once I got back to Singapore!

Basically, Pennyroyal Academy follows Evie (a nickname for Cadet Eleven), as she trains to become a princess. In this world, the natural enemy of the witch is the princess, and there's pretty tough training for those who wish to be a princess. As a (presumed) commoner and without her memory, Evie is different from the rest of the princess cadets. She hasn't heard of any of the famous princesses, like Cinderella, and she doesn't even know why she wants to be in that school.

To be honest, the first part was a little draggy for me. I didn't really understand the no-name thing - I thought Evie had lost her memory, which in a way she had, but she did have several year's worth of memories with the family she considered hers (obviously, they weren't her real family). The training also seemed rather strange - how does physical activities train someone in love and compassion and all those other qualities? Or is it just a first year thing?

For me, the story started to pick up about halfway through, when she meets her other "sister" again. That twist was one I didn't expect, and it reignited my interest in the story. I more-or-less sped through the end, and found the later half to be enjoyable.

I enjoyed reading about the Princess vs Witch dynamic, and the general background of the world. In fact, the last few pages, when the Warrior Princess vs the Princess-Witch (it's not a spoiler if you don't get the reference, right?) were particularly interesting, and was probably what I liked the best about the book.

There are also a few interesting supporting characters, both students and teachers, and it's a pity that I don't see more of them. The book is Evie-centric, with a large dose of Remington, the boy that saves her in chapter one (or rather, she helps him escape a witch and he brings her to the academy). That romance, I found rather predictable, and didn't really care much for it.

While the book doesn't end on a cliffhanger, I can see that it's probably going to be a series. If I remember about it, I'll probably look for Book 2 when it's out. Overall, this is one of those books that should be read in one sitting; immerse yourself in the world, and the little things that bug you will disappear. At least, that's my experience.

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