A meth dealer. A prostitute. A serial killer.
Anywhere else, they’d be vermin. At the Mandel Academy, they’re called prodigies. The most exclusive school in New York City has been training young criminals for over a century. Only the most ruthless students are allowed to graduate. The rest disappear.
Flick, a teenage pickpocket, has risen to the top of his class. But then Mandel recruits a fierce new competitor who also happens to be Flick’s old flame. They’ve been told only one of them will make it out of the Mandel Academy. Will they find a way to save each other—or will the school destroy them both?
You know what I find annoying? I mean besides a whole bunch of stuff. I find it annoying when the main character is introduced to something that should be and is deemed “impossible”. Yeah. And then they freak out. Certain sentences keep being repeated through these novels.
Typically: “It couldn’t be true! Could it?”
Or: “Impossible. It was impossible! I mean—…”
When the people introducing the idea have not given any proof yet: “They had no proof.”
When the people introducing the idea provide proof: “I couldn’t believe it, but…they have given proof. I had to believe it. so-and-so was real.”
See what I’m saying? It’s hard to find balance, is my main point. Finding balance between showing off your literary talents and overdoing it. Finding balance between making an annoying character and a realistic character. Finding balance between providing an awe-inspiring magical world and a stupid world. You get the gist.
Kirsten Miller has a good sense of balance. The main reason why I’m saying that is because of Flick. First of all, he actually sounded like a guy. A real guy. His struggles and personality made me laugh and cry. (Not literally, but mentally). Second of all, he was a really cool guy. Lastly, he didn’t build on the “oh yeah, I have a terrible past and I’m so depressed thing.”
Then there’s the story-line, pacing and plotting. All ridiculously well-done. I was very impressed and I thought that the way Kirsten Miller really showed off the horrific standpoints of Mandel Academy was really clever. I don’t know how to explain it exactly… I mean–I picked this book off the shelf at my library and thought it had a decent blurb and a cool cover. Good enough for me, I thought. The Mandel Academy is just so…much more than I thought it would be. Kirsten Miller displayed every aspect of it in a great way.
As for the thriller and suspense elements to this, I have no complaints. The situations were realistic, crazy and very believable. The twists in the story… I never expected Joi to come along and give Flick that huge kick he needed right when he was at his most powerful. I liked Joi in the beginning, but I hadn’t considered that she would come back at him and show how amazing she really was.
Needless to say, this book really surprised me. I thought the villain was beautifully horrific and I genuinely cared about Flick and Joi. One of the things I hate most in a book is bad characters. One of the things I love most in a book is amazing characters. BOOM. Kristen brought, at the very least, amazing characters to the table. I loved the dialogue and humor of the story as well. 4.5 stars. Recommended for people who loved Max Cassidy by Paul Adam and Legend by Marie Lu.
pg count for the hardback: 434