“Allie Sheridan’s world is falling apart. Her brother’s run away from home. Her parents ignore her. And she’s just been arrested. Again. This time her parents have had enough. They cut her off from her friends and send her away to boarding school, far from her London friends. But at Cimmeria Academy, Allie is soon caught up in the strange activities of a secret group of elite students.” (Goodreads blurb)
I am a massive fan of novels that take place in boarding schools so I was really excited to read this book! However, I’m happy I learned how to cope with disappointment because I wanted to hurl this book at the wall. It gripped me from the beginning, taunting me with sweet promises and whispers of mystery to betray me in the end. I’m still steaming about it two weeks after I finished reading it.
This review contains spoilers!
The plot follows the classic triangle formula of girl out of her comfort zone meeting the strange boy and the charming boy. Insta-attraction is a given and protagonist has a hard time choosing between them two. Some mystery and danger sprinkled on the top and voila!… the YA cake. The plot worked, but the writing and characterisation didn’t work with it, making it flop like a fish on dry land. And what kind of ending is that? Everything made me believe that there was a fantasy element to this book and… it wasn’t! IT WASN’T! It’s like somebody decided it was a good idea to throw a plot twist on the reader; I’m sorry but I didn’t enjoy the joke. The Night School was literally an after school class sort of thing where they trained to become… world influencers? I am still stunned about that twist.
The characters lacked depth, felt uni-dimensional and generally pissed me off. I really liked Allie before she went to Chimera Academy. I didn’t understand what happened to her once she got there she had some sort of personality transplant as she suddenly became docile in 2 seconds flat. I really do not understand how a troubled young person suddenly is able to abide by the rules and behave like the past doesn’t matter; made no sense.
The males providing the angles for the love triangles are sponsored by the brooding Carter, and the charming and awfully rich Sylvain (I see what you did there!). I quite liked Carter, he was always telling her straight, although the miscommunication between them for three-quarters of the book was borderline stupid. I knew they were “it”, but somehow the plot kept maneuvering Allie between Carter and Sylvain; the latter I never liked.
To begin with Sylvain was merely conceited, however he was soon elevated to the statue of almost-rapist. Yup, you read that right. At the whatever ball, Sylvain got Allie drunk, although I strongly believe that he spiked her drink even though he denied it and cornered her into a quiet space. “He kissed her so hard her head hit the wall and she bit her tongue. Tears filler her eyes from the blow. She struggled to get away, her fists pounding at his chest, but it was all a bit hazy and she couldn’t quite remember why she was fighting.” And this goes on and on for two pages until Carter intervenes. What the F*ck?! I didn’t understand why Allie didn’t report him to the headmistress, and why she accepted his apology for almost raping her. She was still not convinced she wasn’t into him. What the flying f**k was that? Why? Attempting rape is not ok! Shall I repeat that? Attempting rape is NOT ok! Just because someone likes you, doesn’t give you the right to touch them against their will, and someone under the influence is not able to consent. Also, writing about a character not reporting rape is also not ok! What kind of message is that? It get even worse as Allie briefly talks with Carter about it and her thoughts are that Carter might believe that she is a slapper (British slang for slut) for almost getting raped, and he just lets her believe that it was her fault when it wasn’t! Worse thing was that Carter knew that Sylvain did this kind of thing in the past to other girls. It pissed me off the way it was dealt with and I cannot forgive it!
If you want to learn more about consent, please click here and watch this short video about Tea and Consent. Share it as well if you’d like!
The writing wasn’t particularly bad, but the book was incredibly long for no good reason. Nothing really happens for almost two thirds of the book and when something happens it makes me want to hurl the book at the wall, so there you go. Why I continued to read it? Because I really wanted to know what was happening.
No, however if you still want to read it after reading the review, please do so and let me know of your opinion. A lot of people liked this book, I didn’t, but that’s ok because we can have our different opinions, can’t we?