18 April 2011

Book Review: Knightley Academy

Title: Knightley Academy
Author: Violet Haberdasher
Publisher/Year: Aladdin / 2010
Date Finished: 21 March 2011
Source/Format: Bought / Print

Buy | Borrow | Accept | Avoid

The Short and Sweet of It
The world is changing: the separation between the classes is the center around which various camps fight. And Henry Grim, a poor orphan, suddenly finds himself in the middle of it as he is accepted to the elite Knightley Academy. In a very Harry Potter-esque story, Haberdasher sets Grim up as the noble underdog destined to save the world.

A Bit of a Ramble
Almost a year ago, I attended the Teen Author Carnival in New York City. Violet Haberdasher sat on one of the panels I attended, and listening to her talk about Knightley Academy really whetted my appetite for the book. What really got my interest was her ready admittance that the book is very much like Harry Potter. Actually the way that conversation went down was more like this:

Questioner: What do you say to people who claim that your book is really similar to Harry Potter?
Haberdasher: I would say thank you. I love Harry Potter and I think it's cool if my story reminds you of it.

Being a giant fan of Harry Potter - and not particularly a purist when it comes to literature - I was intrigued. I liked it that she was perfectly accepting of the comparison. After reading the book, I can definitely see why. The similarities to HP abound in the novel. The characters, the events, the plot line, there is so much that is so like HP that I actually had difficulty reading the story without being continually reminded of Potter. There's even a train compartment scene where the protagonist meets the elitist git of the school. I've read books which reminded me of HP, but never one which seemed to actually emulate specific events and the specific structure in the series. It was strange to say the least.

And yet, I have to admit that I wasn't really bothered by it. I enjoyed the story, I liked the characters, and I am interested to see where things are heading. I ended up giving this an Accept rating though because while I think this is a good story, it's so reminiscent of HP that it feels disingenuous to give it a rating which I tend to reserve for books which excited me with their originality.

This Book Around the Web
If I've missed your review, let me know!

Bookalicio.us; Miss Remmers' Review; Amy Reads;

Question: How do you feel about books that draw heavily on other books?


  1. I've considered reading this, solely because it is supposed to be Harry Potter in disguise (something like that anyway). It might be neat to read something new that's HP-related in some way, even if it's different characters.

  2. While I loved Harry Potter and wish there was more of it, I am not sure I would like to read a book that is so reminiscent of that story. On the other hand, it does sound sort of cool that I could almost get a Potter fix by reading this book for myself, but then you say that it's not really original, so I am back to my original opinion. Thanks for sharing this review. I had heard very little about this book before now.

  3. I don't know. It kind of bothers me that it seems so close in so many ways. I think I would just rather read the original.

  4. This sounds cute, and I do miss Harry Potter! It's be fun to read something similar. I though The Magicians by Lev Grossman, but that one was a bit to dark to be really like Harry Potter.

  5. I actually had Robyn on my blog recently (Robyn is Violet) to talk about Harry Potter inspired fiction. It was a really great post. http://bookalicio.us/2011/02/what-is-harry-potter-inspired-fiction/


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