Friday, 15 May 2015

Secret Lives, by Gabriella Poole

(Darke Academy #1) - 1 star

Despite barely showing anything approaching intelligence, a judgmental and jumped up eavesdropper from a poor background wins a scholarship to a prestigious but ridiculous school, The Darke Academy, where nobody learns anything because the teachers are too busy being intimidated by the clique of beautiful, blatant moustache-twirlers that lord it over the rest of the student body. Despite hating and looking down on the group, Cassie (our asshole-ish eavesdropper) is desperate to become one of them – ostensibly so that she can find out what their deal is, but mostly so she can make sure they know how much better she is than them because of her poor upbringing. There were so many things that made me rage about this book, I may need some counselling as soon as I finish this review.

In case you couldn’t tell, I despised our ‘heroine’, Cassie, and was at a loss to understand how everyone she met was so impressed by her, despite her doing nothing impressive whatsoever. I hated the stupid school, with its moving country every term (what a logistical nightmare that must be) and I hated the stupid ruling clique, The Few, and nearly strained my eye muscles through doing this every time someone called them by that ridiculously pretentious name:

I hated the ‘love triangle’, and thought its execution was particularly poorly done - although at least Richard, the ‘charming’ fop, actually spent some time with Cassie (even if I still couldn’t see any growth of feelings between them) as opposed to Ranjit who seemed to fall head over heels simply through staring at her (and the fact that she’s such a dead ringer for his dead girlfriend didn’t lend him the air of a tragic romantic hero, but that of a creepy weirdo who was about to pull a Vertigo on her).

And worst of all, I despised the ‘reveal’ which was so poorly executed that I’m still not entirely clear on what manner of monster The Few are – sort of vampire-like but feeding on souls, or life, or something equally vague and apparently something to do with some sort of spirit possession? Quite why an entire school would need to be set up to ‘teach’ these beautiful wankers how to be beautiful wankers was lost on me – as was how it was considered prestigious when the rest of the student body, there to be fed upon by The Few, learnt fuck all thanks to the tosspots derailing every lesson.

In case it isn’t staggeringly clear, I spent most of my time wishing that the school would burn to the ground with Cassie and The Few still in it, and if this had been a book instead of being read on my Kindle I’d have happily added it to the fire.

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