Ophelia Dagger's Reviews > Knightley Academy

Knightley Academy by Violet Haberdasher
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Jul 11, 12

Read in July, 2012

I very rarely delve into YA or children's literature, it's just not my thing - I love literary fiction to the extent I sometimes even shy away from strong genre centric novels. However, having seen the author around YouTube, and thinking that she seemed absolutely delightful, I decided to give it a read.

I thought this book was wonderful. Of course, I'm judging it for what it is, I'm not comparing it to the works David Foster Wallace; it's in the 8-12 year old range at book-stores, but I was immediately reminded of the fun and frivolous engagement involved with reading when I was growing up.

This book is has clearly been written by a lover of Harry Potter, I've heard derisive remarks about "copying" and such other nonsense, but the author openly embraces this, with chapter titles such as "The Boy Who Passed" she has embraced her homage overtly. Besides, we're all familiar with the saying that there are "only seven stories in fiction," let's not shoot Knightly Academy because the surface similarities are easier to align.

This is not Harry Potter, it shares a similar 'feel' to HP, it's a trio of misfits in a Victorian Academy for knights... but the characters are their own (and wonderfully drawn), as is the story. I would say that this is not as rich as HP, but then I am of course looking at it having read 7 HP books, and only this, so I am going to leave that comparison there, and talk about Knightly for Knightly.

I have a very poor gauge for how old children are, I have little knowledge of how an eight year old would interpret this, or indeed a twelve year old, but I would suspect reading this would only be an incredibly enriching and positive experience. The book covers many important issues of acceptance and equality in a basic manner without being condescending.

The writing is very clean and tidy, there is little embellishment but, again, this is a children's book, there is no room for purple prose here. As an adult I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, it was a fun break from what I am used to, and it seemed well accomplished for the genre: it was well paced and it held my interest. I cared about the characters and enjoyed being slowly lead along the gentle twists and turns of the plot. I believe to have been afforded the opportunity to read this book fifteen years ago would have been a truly wonderful experience.

I will certainly be reading the sequel :)
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