Tuesday, October 4, 2016
Escape from the Psi Academy by Vincent Scarsella
I've had this one on my 'to read' pile for a bit now, but I moved it up in line because I saw a Facebook post by Scarsella and it made me laugh. I'm honest, but not always logical when it comes to choosing what I'm going to read next.
I don't read a lot on Kindle, because I enjoy the entire experience of the book. Not only that, I'm able to read a hard copy much more quickly due to 'Moooooom!' every five minutes not pulling me across the house. However, when I looked at this book, I figured it was maybe a hundred page and written for fourth graders. Shouldn't take more than an hour or two to breeze through, right? WRONG!
Zero complains from me, but this is nearly 400 pages. This is a full size children's novel. Now, it's not intimidating any more than a Harry Potter book is. In fact, it reads equally as quickly due to Scarsella's storytelling.
I keep going over in my mind how to explain the plot, but it's pretty simple. It's Harry Potter with realism and science. People aren't waving their wands to make things happen. It's a different sort of magic. We have two friends who are considered losers at their school. In their down time, they play a game called Psi Wars, which isn't exactly available to the public. Then things get crazy and they end up being invited to the Psi Academy. There aren't any spoilers here...you can figure that much out from the title!
So, the most controversial part to this book is the common J.K. Rowling jokes. Now, I'm a Harry Potter fan. I have a special needs child. Harry Potter is a part of daily life. I still laughed. Nothing written in the book is attacking in any way. The fact is, one of the characters is not a Harry Potter fan and has a habit of comparing his surroundings to those of Harry. If you look closely, you'll find where Scarsella has made his own little jokes, but they're still hilarious. You CAN read this and enjoy it if you're a Harry Potter fan. I'll be honest, since I'm a bit of a science junkie...I may actually end up liking this series more.
The characters are incredibly well-constructed and full of mystery. We have good guys and bad guys, but from start to finish, there's no way to discern them. We don't know if we're in our character's reality or if it's all dementia. Since I'm not a pre-cog...I have no way of knowing what's coming next and in this land that Scarsella has built, you can't take anything for granted. You'll even find yourself learning some cool basic fringe science concepts.
Though I wouldn't suggest this book for non-readers, I think most kids from fifth or sixth grade up will love it. Even though I have the Kindle copy, I'm putting a hard copy on my 'to buy' list because I want it for my personal library. I might even possibly put it on the shelf above J.K. Rowling ;)
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