“Aerin Renning is a scarred fugitive, Dane Madousin a rebellious son of privilege. On the surface, they have nothing in common. But the two most competitive freshmen at Academy 7 share an undiscovered bond. Both harbor a dangerous secret that threatens their own destruction. And while their safety depends on their staying apart, the two are inexplicably drawn to each other. Even as unknown forces conspire to separate them, their competition turns to friendship, and their friendship to romance. Now not only their lives—but their hearts—are at stake. To survive, the two must unite all their knowledge, skills, and gifts to uncover a secret bigger than either could have imagined. A secret as big as the entire universe...”
~Description taken from Goodreads
I’m going to start off by saying that I’m prejudiced against sci-fi novels. I don’t really know why, considering I’ve never had a bad experience with one. I guess I just don’t like the “idea” of them. In any case, if I had known Academy 7 was sci-fi I would have never picked it up. I’m glad I didn’t, because it really was a pleasure reading it.
Academy 7 is split between the perspectives of Aerin and Dane, two incredibly intelligent students who come from two very different backgrounds. Aerin is an escapee slave from the planet Vizhan and must hide her past in order to keep her place at the academy. As a reader I immediately bonded with her and couldn’t wait for the passages with her narrative to come up.
Unfortunately, I can’t say I felt the same connection with Dane. Although the two characters are represented equally in word count, the emotional impact behind them is not at all the same. You find out early on that Dane has suffered abuse from his father, but the author never allows you to truly empathize with him. It’s like there’s a wall between the reader and Dane that just doesn’t exist for Aerin. Given how easy it is to care for Aerin, I think it might just be that the author is inexperienced in fleshing out male characters.
The novel itself is fast moving -I plowed through it in a couple of hours- and the plot itself is built well. The information how Aerein and Dane are connected through their parents is revealed at an appropriate rate, although I was never truly anxious to read more. Academy 7 is a quick, pleasant read and I’d recommend it to someone who’s looking for some light summer reading.