Title: Poseidon’s Academy
Author: Sarah A. Vogler
Genre: Fantasy, Middle-Grade
Rating: 3 Stars
Getting sucked into a whirlpool, sleeping in monster-infested woods, and battling psycho sea-nymphs was not how Hailey planned to spend her first year of high school. But when you’re the only Zeus in the world, life tends to get a bit complicated…
The Great Battle saw the world changed forever when humans killed the gods and absorbed their powers. One power was coveted above all others: Zeus’s. Thirteen-year-old Hailey Woods is the first Zeus in over a century. Unlike everyone else, she hates her powers because of an ancient prophecy that claims a Zeus will have to save the world someday.
Hailey doesn’t want to save the world. She wants to be a normal teenager, whose biggest dilemma in life is deciding what to eat for lunch, rather than training to become the ultimate weapon. Poseidon’s Academy, an underwater palace where her powers don’t work, was meant to give her that opportunity. But when she arrives, she discovers the sea-nymphs living there are plotting to resurrect the gods, and Hailey must find a way to stop them before they can enact the prophecy.
So much for normal!
WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW
My review of Poseidon’s Academy by Sarah A. Vogler is a bit polarized. Although listed as Young Adult fiction, I assure you that this is very much a middle-grade book. The characters are 13-years-old, despite the fact that they’re on their way to high school. As a middle-grade book, if I were a middle-grade reader, I’d probably love this book. It was full of daring adventure, rule-breaking, and revenge against bullies.
As an adult reader, I do have some bones to pick, though. The editing of this book was lackluster. I came across various misused words, sentences that were incomplete, incorrect punctuation, and misspellings – and that’s taking into account and disregarding cultural differences, as the author is clearly from another country than my own. I found a time or two when the wrong tense was used, common says were butchered, and glaringly when the narrative contradicted itself on the first page. I’d venture to say that any middle-grade readers out there may not notice the majority of these mistakes, but as an editor, I was cringing. It should have been cleaned up.
My next major qualm was the world building – which, again, if I was thirteen, I probably wouldn’t have noticed, but as an adult…. it was full of holes. To be honest, it was just flimsy in general. I wasn’t expecting anything spectacular, but for a book that was firmly rooted in a world very different from our own, a little more depth would have been nice. This was one of those books where the reader is presented with an outlandish world and expected to not question anything the author puts before them – and I find that hard to do. The characters, adults and children alike, lacked depth or any sort of individual characteristics to really make their personalities stand out. The adults often spoke and acted very much like the children – who acted older than they were. It was indistinguishable. Poor decisions and danger were around every corner, and there were no overall consequences…. and yet there was death and gore and torture – which, in combination with the rest of the lack of world-building, just kind of made it all fall apart. It was hard to distinguish the reading age meant for this book, other than the character’s own ages as an indicator.
Did I enjoy the book? Sure. It was cute, I like the concept behind the story, and it was fairly easy to read – which is why I gave this three stars. The book wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either. If you like middle-grade fantasy stories in the vein of Harry Potter, you’ll probably like this book – but if you’re an adult, you probably won’t enjoy it as much as you are meant to.