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Welcome To The Academy

By Hejin57, author of Music Masters

Dec 19, 2018: Often times, I find myself hard-pressed to get into dystopian stories, especially if they don’t carry with them some unique premise or way of showing things. So it’s always a pleasure to find something that breaks my preconceptions, even in the simplest way possible.

The following story, simply named Stasis, revolves around a dystopian future of sorts, where humanity has been brought to brink and their population has diminished because of it. To survive this bleak future, people lead incredibly structured and ordered lives, and adolescents are expected to go to something known as the Academy: a neo-school of sorts where they will quite literally learn their place in life.

Our story in particular focuses on female student Randi, already familiar with the Academy and its workings, as well as newly inducted trio Peyton, Olive and Kendall. What begins as a strangely sunny trek into a new school becomes a much more sinister venture as the Academy proves to be more appropriate for the likes of V for Vendetta or 1984.

To make things clear, a lot of of what Stasis does as a story has been seen time and time again, so some might be turned off by the mundane nature of it, especially in the earlier chapters. Its biggest strength, however, lies in the character-driven narrative and writing style. Both are clean and concise, and the author gives you a great feeling of the characters early on, from the nerve-wracked Peyton to the always optimistic Olive, and even with minor characters like Blake and Avery and Peyton’s roommate Scout. Everyone has a clear and distinct voice, and it was thus very easy to keep track of and become attached to the various players in the story.

Not to spoil anything, but the arc centering around Ellis in particular really caught me, in terms of what it revealed about the world and just how bleak and ruined this future is.

In terms of improvement, I think the pacing can be a little slow sometimes, but that’s really just a side-effect of the fact the story relies more on character moments and dialogue than pulse-pounding action.

In the end though, it proves itself to be a great piece of intelligent fiction, definitely inching towards the likes of Orwell, Asimov and Clarke in its own right.

Compelling is the perfect word to describe it, and so, of course it’s a recommended read.

Final score: 4.5/5

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