Series: Pennyroyal Academy #1
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers on October 7th 2014
Number of Pages: 320
Genres: Adventure, Fairy Tale, Fantasy, Middle Grade
Purchase: At Amazon
Pennyroyal Academy: Seeking bold, courageous youths to become tomorrow's princesses and knights….Come one, come all!
A girl from the forest arrives in a bustling kingdom with no name and no idea why she is there, only to find herself at the center of a world at war. She enlists at Pennyroyal Academy, where princesses and knights are trained to battle the two great menaces of the day: witches and dragons. There, given the name “Evie,” she must endure a harsh training regimen under the steel glare of her Fairy Drillsergeant, while also navigating an entirely new world of friends and enemies. As Evie learns what it truly means to be a princess, she realizes surprising things about herself and her family, about human compassion and inhuman cruelty. And with the witch forces moving nearer, she discovers that the war between princesses and witches is much more personal than she could ever have imagined.
There are dragons in this book! As well as witches, knights and princesses. Only, these princesses are unlike what you’re used to. Princesses in this book are not the daughters of Kings and Queens. They are from all levels of birth, from the poorest peasant girl right up to actual royalty.
So what makes them princesses? Courage. Compassion. Humility. Kindness. And… the fact that they exist to defeat evil witches.
There is a small element of romance, but it’s more like background to the central storyline of Evie finding out who she really is, and trying to make it through the Academy to become a princess. I didn’t much like what happened to the dragons in the book. It was believable, and fit the book. But I think there could have been a different and better way to get the same thing across.
There were a number of funny moments in the book. It greatly amused me that one of the princesses-to-be is actually a… boy!
The ending was disappointing though. Most of the book was suck-you-in good, and didn’t have the over-used and cliched feeling you sometimes get in middle grade. And then we get to the end of the book and are smacked with cliche. It still worked, just not as well as it could have. It didn’t fit the feel of the rest of the book.
Despite that, I still enjoyed it and want to read the next one as well.