Peter Green and the Unliving Academy – a Review

Publisher: TCK Publishing

Publication Date: November 20, 2018

Author: Angelina Allsop

First of all, I would like to apologize to TCK for my late review. I’ve had this book in my hands for quite some time but life always got in the way of me finishing it, but, I finally did and below are my thoughts.

I love books for kids and young adults and I was thrilled when TCK asked me to review this particular novel. It sounded so compelling, much like the dark fantasy, A Monster Calls. Those feels I got with Ness’s book hooked me into wanting to read Peter Green and the Unliving Academy.

I learned quickly to not expect feels to transfer from one book to another. That was my fault.

As much as I wanted to dive into this story, I had a difficult time doing so. The opening line grabbed me right away and I was cruising along until page two when we meet the Scottish man with the thick brogue. The way the author wrote his speech yanked me from the pages. All I could think was if I was having that hard of a time reading it, how would young kids read it? It was a small hiccup in the scheme of things, but I wasn’t expecting it so soon into the book. The story did pick up a bit after that but I didn’t find it to be as interesting as the blurb sounded.

Don’t get me wrong. The story is filled with great dead characters. I do have to give the author two thumbs up for creating a cabal of likeable and unlikeable friends and foes for Peter. Some made me smile, others made me cringe, and the diversity and unique personalities were a huge plus for this book.

But the characters weren’t enough for me. At first, the plot line seemed intriguing – 14 year-old Peter Green is dead, and he doesn’t remember how he died. He won’t know that until he graduates from Battisworth’s academy. Even though he accepts this fate, he can’t shake this feeling that he is still supposed to do something important in his foregone living life. All the makings of a great plot, right? Sadly, I felt much of the story dragged on whereas in other places, the story went to quick. The world is very well thought out and interesting, but it was very dark. I felt as if I were metaphorically walking around in shadows all the time with only glimpses of sunlight. Then again, Peter was ‘living’ in Pergatory which explains the dreariness and dreadfulness.

I found the politics of the book intriguing. Peter quickly learns that there is a hierarchy to everything and with the help of his friends, he changes from this frightened, uncertain boy to a young man of strength and fortitude. I did like the growth of his character, though at times I had to remind myself he was 14 and not ten or eleven.

While the book was a quick read (once I got in to it), the storyline didn’t really pick up until the last few chapters. The ending was excellently done and before I knew it, I was closing the book with a satisfying feeling.

Overall, I would give the book 4 stars out of 5. Peter Green and the Unliving Academy is a strange, macabre read. It’s dark and mysterious with touches of humor and a host of interesting monsters – just the right recipe for a book pre-teens will enjoy.

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