Young Adult/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy
This was a combination of the first and second book in the Hood Academy Series.
Published by BHC Press (10th October 2019)
My rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
I received a copy of this book from the publisher, BHC Press, and the author via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
It all started when Mia’s father was murdered in front of her. His throat ripped out by a wolf as she watched, a wolf that strangely left her alive. When she is put into the custody of an estranged Uncle, she figures that things can’t be much worse that what she’s already lived through with an abusive father, right? However, it might be worse. Taken to a secret academy deep in the woods, Mia discovers that things she thought were just fairy tales are real. The academy trains young women to become werewolf hunters, and not just anyone can become a hunter. As Mia soon discovers that things aren’t what they seemed, secrets, lies and revelations abound as she tries to navigate her new life, new friendships, new family, all while still searching for her missing brother. Are werewolves really as bad as she is being taught? What if they’re not?
This was a fast paced, quick, easy and enjoyable read for me. I feel like it was JUST what the Doctor ordered, I felt like I was in a bit of a slump lately, majority of the books I’ve been reading have just been quite, meh. I wondered if maybe it was me, or maybe I just wasn’t picking up the right books. This one really helped pull me out of a funk. It’s a young adult fantasy/horror story that revolves around the character Mia Roberts. She sees her abusive father die in front of her, his throat torn out by a wolf that strangely inspects her, and leaves her be. When the police arrive she finds out that she has an Uncle and she’s now in his custody. This all happens right at the start of the story, there’s also some talk about Mia’s missing brother, Zak. He promised to come back for her, but as yet has not. So I guess you could say that there is a little mystery thrown in for good measure as well.
Once Mia arrives at Hood Academy that is run by her Uncle, she learns that werewolves are a thing, and that she is about to undertake some pretty hectic training because she’s going to be hunting them. I don’t want to give too much away, but I will say this, yes, this book has a load of cliches in it, yes it was very predictable, but you know what? That’s not always a bad thing, sometimes you just want a story that is engaging, enjoyable and you have a feeling that you know how things are going to turn out, well at least, I do anyway. So there was a lot of things that I already knew before Mia had worked it out, and while it frustrated me a little bit that she couldn’t see what was right in front of her, I still really enjoyed the story and absolutely flew through it.
The story was was well written, though some things were super easy to work out before the reveals, as stated above, so if you have a massive problem with this, maybe this book isn’t for you. I feel like there needed to be a bit more secrecy to the mystery aspects of the story, but again, this wasn’t a deal breaker for me. One thing that did irk me a little bit was Mia’s arch nemesis – Felicity. Yes her name was used in the story (obviously) but a lot of the time, in dire circumstances, Mia was referring to her as her “nemesis” or “the redheaded…” which I found a liiiittttlllleee hard to take seriously, but then, our protagonist is only seventeen (I think? Possibly sixteen…) so I can kind of understand the small ‘childish’ nuances that were used in her dialogue. Felicity was a stereotypical mean girl with her gang of mean girl accomplices that didn’t do overly much, they just backed up the taunting and the physical violence put forward by their bitch of a leader. I enjoyed the characters of Lizzie and Adam (I think that was his name!? What is going on with my memory today! Apologies if I’ve got that wrong), they were lovely supporting characters and gave Mia what she had never had and needed more than anything, a safe friendship circle of trust. I did find it a little hard to believe that Mia felt comfortable enough to trust Lizzie so easily after everything she had been through…but then…she is a teenager and teenagers are fickle creatures, so I guess it’s not totally unbelievable.
It appears that this book is actually two books. As part two is headed by script saying “Oath Breaker” which to me denotes a new book. As the copy that I had was combined into one volume, the only thing that I think might have helped would have been to edit out the recap at the beginning of Oath Breaker. It was a little tedious re-reading a rundown of everything that I’ve just read and it really wasn’t needed when the two stories are combined. That’s just me though. It didn’t take away from the story so much, but it did jolt me out of the narrative a bit.
If you’re looking for the next big, complex literature master piece, you’re not going to find that here, but honestly, this was, as said above, a quick, engaging, enjoyable read and was just what I needed. Sometimes you don’t need a masterpiece, sometimes you just need a good story. Mia is a believable teenager with trust issues, and she doesn’t do a heap of dumb teenager character things that you expect from the young adult genre. I’m not gonna lie, she does do some stupid stuff, but hey, she’s a teenager, give her a break. AND! There’s also no love triangle, so if that annoys you, maybe give this one a go.