Genre: SciFi, Young Adult
With a past too terrible to speak of, and a bleak, lonely future ahead of her, Aerin Renning is shocked to find she has earned a place at the most exclusive school in the universe. Aerin excels at Academy 7 in all but debate, where Dane Madousin?son of one of the most powerful men in the Alliance? consistently outtalks her. Fortunately Aerin consistently outwits him at sparring. They are at the top of their class until Dane jeopardizes everything and Aerin is unintentionally dragged down with him. When the pair is given a joint punishment, an unexpected friendship?and romance?begins to form. But Dane and Aerin both harbor dangerous secrets, and the two are linked in ways neither of them could ever have imagined. . . .
First of all, the summary is a tad bit hyped up, the secrets that they learn aren't really that important to anyone but themselves, but that's just a minor issue as I enjoyed this book greatly.
I don't read a lot of true SciFi (as opposed to Dystopian SciFi) though I'm not quite sure why, but I have a huge love for stories that take place in schools like this, so that's what led me to this book in the first place, but I have to admit, I greatly enjoyed the setting for this book and the characters.
Both Aerin and Dane are flawed, not coming from perfect backgrounds and avoided in school for different reasons, but both are smart, excelling at the school as the two top students.
The book is a quick read and there's a lot to it that feels very traditional Young Adult (like before paranormal young adult were popular--contemporary young adult which are almost always coming of age stories). Though set in a fantastical setting, the story is about two characters learning about themselves and their past and growing from it.
HaHA Yvonne, haHA, you did not make it because you are a suck up! I really hope there are sequels to this book (one for each year of school) and I wonder who will be the school queen bee character now that she's gone, or what new challenges in the school await Dane and Aerin.
Anyway, that aside, I really enjoyed how the mystery of Aerin's father was played out. I figured out almost immediately that the "Traitor" had to be her father, but I wanted to know why and how and why did the General take it so personally. I also enjoyed the revelation of why the General is so hard on Dane, it gave him a bit more dimension than just the easily angered father.
The romance crept up rather nicely as well. Neither of them quite focused on "Oh I love them so much I'll die" and it happened rather naturally with the way they had to rely on each other all the time.