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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Bobby Ether and the Academy by R. Scott Boyer

I had mixed feelings about Bobby Ether and the Academy.  The main character, Bobby, is 14 and has just discovered that he has special magical abilities.  Within an hour, he has manifested his ability, been sorta kidnapped twice, loses his parents, and is sent to live at a special boarding school for kids with these special abilities.  And that's only the first chapter!

My mixed feelings started with the cover.  I know that you're not supposed to judge a book by it's cover, but look at it--would you guess middle school or high school for that cover?  I would have totally put that cover firmly in the middle grades category.  Turns out this book is 100% high school:  it's got quite a bit of length to it, the main character is 14 and in high school, and there is a scattering of "damns" and "hells" throughout.

My mixed feelings continued with the pacing of events.  As I've mentioned, a LOT happens very quickly.  And the pace never lets up at all.  This would probably be a great reluctant reader recommendation.  The reader cannot zone while reading this page-turner, or they'll miss some of the action.  No lengthy scenic descriptions here!  Bobby Ether and the Academy is character- and action-driven all the way.  However, while lots of action can be very appealing to some, for me it fell a little flat.  I started to feel like the author had a list of two dozen plot points to bring up, and then went back down the list resolving them in the second half of the book.  I can't put my finger exactly on any given moment, but there was a point where the book started to feel formulaic for me, which distracted a bit from connecting to the characters.

Bobby Ether and the Academy is a great readalike recommendation book.  I could definitely see myself recommending it to a youngish teen who has finished the Harry Potter series and is looking for their next read.  The older main character, tougher plot points (Bobby's loss of his parents and some other family secrets), and slight use of language make this a good "what do I read next?" book.  And after the exciting, action-packed finale to the book, I had to go visit the author's website to make sure that there's a sequel!  (There is:  Bobby Ether and the Temple of Eternity.)

I will also say that the magical elements were well done in this book.  I had no trouble believing in how they worked, and they fit nicely into the greater story.

Overall, not a bad book.  Not a great go-tell-all-the-people-to-read-it-now book either.  Definitely not one to judge by it's cover.


Tynga is a 32 years old mom of two, from Montreal, working as a lab technician in an hospital specialized in heart disease. In her free time, she enjoys reading all things Paranormal and photography.

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