Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Review: The Academy Defenders

The Academy Defenders
The Academy Defenders by T.J. Robinson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Fantasy Reading Level: Young Adult

Disclosure: I received a free ebook ARC from Rhemalda (the publishers) in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis: Lincoln Thomas is a typical teenager … or at least, he used to be. But then one day he awoke with the power to slow time, stop bullets mid-flight and turn his enemies into human popsicles. Now he’s a recruit at the Atlas Academy – a top-secret government training facility – learning to use his new powers to become a guardian and protect world leaders from dangerous assassins and evil conspiracies. There’s only one problem – someone’s out to destroy the guardians … and Lincoln. Lincoln and a few fellow recruits are the only ones who can stop him. If they fail, the power of the guardians will be used to crush the very people it now protects

My Thoughts: The main problem I had with the story was how Lincoln just walked away from his family, his life, all his things – everything – apparently without a second thought or concern. Atlas Academy must have major bucks – they provide clothing, food, shelter, computers, books, and each recruit has a private room with their own private bath. Having lived in college dorms, that’s unbelievable luxury! I have to wonder about how laundry is done, for instance; are the recruits responsible for their own laundry, or do they have someone to do that, too? It’s never really mentioned, but then I suppose most people don’t really care about those sorts of things. However, that said, I ended up loving the overall story.

Atlas Academy is very different from Hogwarts, but I still see some parallels with the Harry Potter world, especially the competition between the dorms at the annual Challenge. However, in Hogwarts no physical training is done at all – everything is by magic – whereas Atlas Academy heavily stresses physical training. I found the similarities and differences to be quite fascinating. I especially enjoyed the creatures, once they entered the story – I’d love to know what the panther-things were supposed to be; I’ve never heard of anything like what they are described to be.

There were a lot of characters, and I understand Robinson’s decision to keep things simple and just not get into some of them; at the same time, too often scenes felt unfinished because there were only one or two people mentioned by name or description and it felt like the rest of the crowd were store mannequins or something. I felt like either the scope should have been further diminished, to allow more of a focus on the people that were introduced, or further expanded to allow more information about some of the other people around them. But as that may be, the ones that were focused on were quite well-developed – plenty of mysteries and secrets yet to discover, but at least we had a feeling about who they were.

So, while my feelings on some aspects were mixed, overall I quite enjoyed the story and I think young adult and adult readers will both find something to love in this book. Fans of Harry Potter should like it, despite its differences; I personally liked it because of its differences. A great coming-of-age adventure fantasy.

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  1. Replies
    1. Oh, yeah, it was really quite good. I'll definitely be on the lookout for the rest of the series!


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