Sunday, February 7, 2010

Academy 7

Osterlund, Anne. Academy 7. New York: Speak-Penguin Group, 2009. Print
[Book cover credit:]

Aerin Renning is picked up by the Envoy, an Alliance ship, when her own proves to be working only well enough to help her escape her planet, but not well enough to take her to another one. Now, because of the kindness of the Envoy's captain, she is on her way to the most prestigious school in the Alliance, Academy 7, where she'll have to compete with the other students, academically, for the right to stay without the benefit of the a formal Alliance education up to this point. And without letting anyone figure out that she's not an Alliance citizen and has no right to be there in the first place.

I LOVED Academy 7. While a lot of this love may spring from the fact that this book is neither dystopian nor paranormal, just science fiction in a United Federation of Planets sort of way, it also tells a really great story. Osterlund manages to introduce us into this new world (which includes lots of "worlds") without a lot of exposition or traditional world building. We get to learn about the Alliance, its history and its downfalls along with Aerin, who spends a lot of time in the library in order to keep up with her classmates.

And then there's Dane, Aerin's rival in just about every class. Their relationship takes a long time to evolve, especially since they are both hiding BIG SECRETS from one another, even after they move from enemies to friends. Without switching back and forth between Dane and Aerin's POV, we manage to get a real feel for each of their personalities and back stories (all hail the return of the omniscient narrator!) while they maneuver through trying to figure out what they can trust each other with. Their relationship is clearly the main focus of most of the book, just in a sci-fi setting, but every once in a while things become very tech savvy or very space age (the ending is ridiculously unexpected and awesome on both counts). I think this balance will appeal to readers of the less swoony paranormals out there and budding (or closet) sci-fi fans.

Book source: I bought it.

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