Review: Knightley Academy by Violet Haberdasher

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1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
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Title:Knightley Academy
Author:Haberdasher, Violet

From Goodreads: Henry Grim has never been in trouble for borrowing a sword from the headmaster’s private stores. He has never discovered a forbidden room in a foreign castle, or received a death threat over breakfast.

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 roommates, 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 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?

I saw Violet Haberdasher speak about her new book Knightley Academy during the Teen Author Carnival panel. She explained in great detail about Harry Potter inspired fiction but I really had no idea what to expect going into her novel. On an impromptu trip to Strand Books (which I didn’t find as awesome as the hype) I bought the last copy of the book.

I read it in a day and I am still having a bit of trouble disassociating this from the Harry Potter series. I could identify which characters were modeled after those in J.K. Rowling’s books and early on in the book I had figured out who had it in for the commoner boys.

Does this however make it uninteresting? To be honest I am not sure. I am really unsure of how to separate the two and when the author is up front with her intentions and it was very Potteresque. I feel a bit uneducated on how to judge a book that is inspired greatly on another book.

The book was a fun romp through a fun school. I have quite the penchant for boarding school stories and on that note Knightley greatly pleases. I however had to keep telling myself to stop comparing it to Potter. It had a great middle grade feel and as I am usually looking for originality, I am at a loss for how to judge this book or recommend it to you.

It was however almost like J. K. had sat down and written a Knightly tale of her own, I did enjoy the story line. As I figured out the perpetrator early on I am leaning towards giving it a solid three. A fun bit of brain candy, and if you like Potteresque story lines then you will love Violet Haberdasher’s Knightley Academy.

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11 Responses so far

  1. Gravatar

    I haven’t gotten around to picking up a copy of this one yet, but it looks really great.

  2. Gravatar

    From me a solid 3 is not bad at all. I think people who enjoyed Potter should read it!

  3. Gravatar

    I heard her talk at TAC too and I love that she’s so candid about it, but I’m still not sure if I can read this. Some part of me thinks I’d really like to, but another part of me wonders if I’ll be very reactionary because of my feelings toward the Potter series.

  4. Gravatar

    Interesting…I’m not sure what to make of that either. I mean, what is the point in trying to write a book modeled after Harry Potter? If I wanted to revisit how much I love the HP series…I would re-read them, not something else.

    Knightly Academy does sound good, HP issues asside, I’m a big fan of the boarding school setting also.

  5. Gravatar

    I am really interested to read this after hearing her speak about it as well. Your review seems in line with what she was saying – that it is a lot like the Harry Potter series. I do wonder what J.K. Rowlings thinks of it? Anyway, it’s in my pile of books from NYC so I’m looking forward to it!

  6. Gravatar

    I have to say I’m interested in reading this one too. At the risk of sounding condescending, she was just adorable, and that inspired me to pick up the book more than the premise of the story. Then again, who doesn’t like a good boarding school story?

  7. Gravatar

    It seems like it will take a long time for JUV/YA books to get out of Harry Potter’s shadow.

    Many of the books coming out are heavily influenced by Harry Potter’s world or written by people whose first writing experience was in Harry Potter fandom (Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan). It’s always nice to be reminded of another books that echo each other but I find it annoying when the writing relies on the reader having familiarity with other better known, better loved texts.

    It reminds me how every fantasy book written after the Lord of the Rings was J.R.R Tolkien light. Right down to the hobbits themselves.

    However, I love boarding school stories and this one sounds just interesting enough to pick up. Thanks for the honest review.

  8. Gravatar

    Why not judge a book in comparison to another one, especially if the author deliberately set it up to be Potter-esque? Then it seems like she’s asking for the comparison, no?

  9. Gravatar

    I agree! I got great feedback from the author on Facebook I will ask if I can quote her. It really helped me in understanding exactly what she was trying to accomplish.

  10. Gravatar

    [...] I was a bit confused when I reviewed Knightley Academy I have since asked questions of the author about what what Harry Potter Inspired Fiction really is. [...]

  11. Gravatar

    cant wait for book three
    i want to know what happens to our hero and his friends, what little twist will come next in the story
    will there be a new girl in the next book
    how does the relationships change within our happy little group
    will our hero be able to take on his new roll and be able to control the flow of events that are happening around him or will he be crushed and become a pawn in the bigger skim of things.

    will it be out by 2013 anyone know

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