Tuesday, June 8, 2010
by Violet Haberdasher
All Henry knows is life as an orphaned servant boy at the Midsummer School, bullied by the privileged sons of aristocracy. But all that changes when Henry is the first commoner to pass the entrance exam for the prestigious Knightley Academy, where he will be trained as a modern-day knight alongside the cleverest and bravest fourteen-year-olds in the country.
Henry and his roomates, two other students from decidedly un-Knightley backgrounds, are not exactly greeted with open arms by their classmates. In fact, it soon becomes apparent that someone is going to great lengths to sabotage the trio's chances at becoming knights. But Henry soon learns that there is more at stake here than his future at Knightley, and only he can sound the alarm. Is anyone going to believe a former servant on the brink of expulsion? (description taken from Amazon.com)
I devoured this book...and then I sighed with happiness. It is very reminiscent of Harry Potter. To clarify, it is not one of the carbon copy wizard books that came out just after the whole wizarding explosion in MG/YA. What it has is the feeling that Rowling was able to evoke in her readers.
Yes, there is an orphan, some downtrodden, looked poorly upon friends, a slight romantic tension, and the struggle to fight for what's right...manners, valiance, fighting oppression, tyranny, and discrimination.
What makes this book special is that you are drawn into a new world with fantastic, well drawn characters. Henry, Frankie, and even his school nemesis, Valmont are mutli-faceted characters that grow and support each other right in front of the reader's eyes. The narrator's voice is also really funny, sarcastic, and similar to Lemony Snicket.
Another thing I loved was the blend of modern and medieval. This is what I would refer to as steampunk without the sci-fi feel. This book is set in "modern" times, yet there are still knights in society. They are detectives, police officers, and more, but they are KNIGHTS. Awesome!
If you've been missing something since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out, ending an era, you need to try this new series!!