Saturday, March 10, 2012

THE ACADEMIE by Susanne Dunlap

The Academie
Susanne Dunlap

Rating: C-
Release Date: 4/10/12
Synopsis from
Eliza Monroe—daughter of the future president of the United States—is devastated when her mother decides to send her to boarding school outside of Paris. But the young American teen is quickly reconciled to the idea when—ooh, la-la!—she discovers who her fellow pupils will be: Hortense de Beauharnais, daughter of Josephine Bonaparte; and Caroline Bonaparte, youngest sister of the famous French general. It doesn't take long for Eliza to figure out that the two French girls are mortal enemies—and that she's about to get caught in the middle of their schemes. 

Loosely drawn from history, Eliza Monroe's imagined coming of age provides a scintillating glimpse into the lives, loves, and hopes of three young women during one of the most volatile periods in French history. 

My thoughts on the book:
This book didn't impress me as much as I was hoping it would. The descriptions of the setting were fantastic, and I couldn't help but feel that I was in Enlightenment Era France. The plot was decent, and the pacing was quick moving for the first half, but the last half dragged a bit. The characters, on the other hand, were not so great.

The character of Eliza, who was one of the three narrators, was extremely annoying. I felt like I was reading a narration from the Kibbles N Bits puppy. I don't know if any of you remember that commercial, but there's this little puppy who jumps around following this older dog, basically hero-worshiping the older dog. He's all overly excited and yelling about Kibbles N Bits. Anyway, Eliza reminded me of that. There were so many exclamation points that I wanted to remove that key from Dunlap's keyboard. Seriously, I didn't know they had crack in 1799, but apparently Eliza had smoked some. Bad stuff.

Hortense and Madeleine weren't as annoying, and I personally wish that Hortense had narrated the entire thing. It would have been a much more enjoyable story had it all been told from her perspective. Madeleine didn't stand out to me or fall short. She simply was there. Hortense shined, though. She was an extremely interesting character, and I would have liked more of her and less of Eliza. Much, much less of Eliza.

The switch in narration didn't do much for the story. It just made me feel scattered and gave me a break from Eliza's overly-excited rambling. It didn't drive the plot in any way, and as far as I could see, it didn't even aid in the plot that much. Madeleine served to move the action forward a bit, but other than that, the three narrators weren't needed. I'm pretty sure the action could have been moved forward without having Madeleine as a narrator. I'm not sure why Dunlap decided to have three narrators. It really didn't work for this story, though.

The ending was a big disappointment for me. The last half of the book really dragged along. The first half of the book flew by because it was focused on describing the time period. The second half, when all of the exciting stuff was supposed to take place, just fell flat. I didn't feel any suspense, and the characters didn't grow that much in the end. I prefer a lot of character development in the novels I read.

Overall, I'd recommend checking this book out from the library before buying it. Historical fiction buffs will probably eat this one up. I'm a big character person, though, so I'm not 100% sold on this book.

Want to pre-order The Academie?


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  2. ive heard mixed reviews about this book, ill probably pass it at the meantime. thanks for an honest review. awesome,



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