Thursday, 2 July 2009

Book review - Academy 7 by Anne Osterlund

Only 50 pupils a year are invited to join the most prestigious school in the universe. Aerin is a wary fugitive, Dane is the son of the most powerful man in the Alliance. Both are at the top of their year, competing with one another. When Dane pulls a prank, Aerin gets caught up in it. Their punishment eventually leads to a truce and then friendship. They have more in common than they could possibly have first guessed. Both have secrets, both understand the limitations and rules of their friendship. Some things they won’t share, not even with each other. But when these secrets threaten to spill out and destroy everything they’ve made for themselves at Academy 7, they have to make a choice. Keep running from their troubles or try to fix the damage done by the previous generation. Their first year is full of danger and they need each other to survive.

Academy 7 is a sci-fi story that doesn’t feel like one. Let me explain: the Alliance is the most powerful group of planets in the universe. All the students come from different planets, a couple of which are described. BUT there are no complex explanations of how space travel began, no descriptions of the inner-workings of a space ship. There’s enough information to tell the story and no extra information to get in the way. There don’t seem to be any aliens, it’s more like colonisation of empty planets occurred years before and these separate planets developed separate cultures.

Aerin and Dane are interesting protagonists. The story is told alternating between their points of view. Both have dark pasts and both are struggling with them. As characters themselves they are smart, complex, and resourceful. Their competitive rivalry has a realistic development to friendship and eventually romance. The principal of Academy 7 was nicely written and the reader gets a lot of insight into her mind for the relatively small amount of time she appears on page.

Overall the plot was quite predictable and it was quite easy to work out what had happened between their parents. The writing was entertaining but not outstandingly beautiful. The only factor that pulled this story out of mediocrity for me was the two main characters and their relationship. I don’t want to come across as too negative about Academy 7 because I did enjoy it, but it’s one that I could stop thinking about as soon as I finished it. It’s good but I didn’t find it outstandingly memorable.

(And I also found Aerin’s name a bit distracting since it reminded me of this Aerin. I’ve never come across another Aerin before)

This is another one I don't think is publishing outside the US at the moment, but you can get it from Amazon.


  1. Your post came up in my Google reader so I came over to read it and I found that you'd MENTIONED ME! Aren't you the sweetest blog friend I have never met? *grin* Seriously, though, I am excited to read this one, but I'm going to check it out from the library.

  2. I'm glad it made you happy. Maybe I'll mention you more often :)
    Borrowing this rather than buying it is a good idea I think.

  3. I've attempted to read sci-fi before and never liked it because of all the stuff you mentioned, the endless descriptions of space and space ships, I just never could get into all of that stuff. So it's nice to know that there are some sci-fi books that don't do that.

    Thanks for the review.

  4. Interesting review. It sounds like it could be a good one for me, as my favourite part of any book is the relationship stuff! It's great to hear all about it - thanks!

  5. I'm reading quite a bit of SF at the moment so I've added this one to my wish list :). Thanks for the review.

  6. Thank you for taking the time to read and post your thoughts on Academy 7! There are also excerpts of the prologue and chapter 1 up on my website if anyone would like to read them before making a decision about reading the book.

    Anne Osterlund

    P.S. I think your interpretation of Aerin & Dane's universe is spot on. I imagine there was a human migration (referred to very obliquely in the poem Aerin recites, Migracion Humana) long ago and the cultures have developed just as you said. Bravo!