Mike's Reviews > Poseidon's Academy

Poseidon's Academy by Sarah A Vogler
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bookshelves: netgalley, ya

Effectively a YA supers story with a skin of Greek myth. The Greek gods were killed in a war with their human slaves centuries ago, and their powers distributed themselves across the human population, so you can be, for example, a Demeter and have the power to grow plants, or a Heracles and be really strong.

The good: It's a fresh premise for a supers novel, and gives the opportunity to drop plenty of Greek mythic stuff, including all kinds of marvellous monsters. There's strong sensawunda in the underwater school filled with beauty and magic.

The bad: there are inevitable Harry Potter echoes whenever you have a magical school, but there are a few too many of them here: acceptance letter, magical plates that fill with whatever food you want in the dining hall, dorm rooms off a common room, staff with names like Madam Mendem (who is the school healer) and Guinevere Grayson. There's also a Sky High moment near the beginning, when the main character's best friend joins her on the roof by having a tree grow and deposit her there. I haven't read Percy Jackson, so I don't know if the parallels there are also too frequent and obvious; it wouldn't surprise me.

There are two Convenient Eavesdrops that are essential to the plot. Two! Now, I realize that in YA, it's difficult to get the kids knowledge of the aduts' plots without a plot device like this, but I still always roll my eyes and think of Five Go Mad in Dorset every time a plucky kid happens to be somewhere and overhear "Rhubarb, rhubarb, secret plans..." And when it happens twice, it's even worse.

Coincidence and poor decision-making pretty much drive the plot, in fact. Even though at the end we're led to believe that key parts of it were orchestrated by the plotters, an important plot token is picked up through a series of events which the plotters couldn't really have influenced. There's not a lot of protagonism from the characters much of the time, and they get off too lightly when they break the rules and endanger their own and each other's lives. There are rather too many in the core cast, and I found myself struggling to remember who had which powers.

There's a very early flashback, introduced by "Her mind flashed back to...". If you're flashing back that early, you're starting in the wrong place.

In the pre-release version I read from Netgalley, there were also a number of awkwardly or incorrectly phrased sentences, which hopefully will be fixed up before publication. A few of them gave hilarious mental images because the literal meaning of the words just hadn't been thought through.

One of the tests I apply to books that have some good and some not-so-good elements is: would I read a sequel? In this case, I think the answer is "no". While there are some well-staged moments and some bravery and determination from the characters, and it's a decently fresh premise, overall the plot is too expected and too reliant on coincidence, and the characters don't develop much depth or individuality. Combined with mediocre sentence-level writing, this adds up to a score of three stars.
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Reading Progress

January 16, 2019 – Shelved
January 16, 2019 – Shelved as: netgalley
January 16, 2019 – Shelved as: ya
January 17, 2019 – Started Reading
January 20, 2019 – Finished Reading

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