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Edally Academy: the Angry Aetherist by Lyn Thorne-Alder

A tale of steampunk & boarding school. 

Getting into the legendary Empress Edaledalende Academy of Higher Learning at Ileltedez took Tairiekie years of study and hard work. Now that she’s here – with dozens of other kids who’ve also worked hard and studied harder – it’s going to take more than that to stay in school.

Now, if only people would stop distracting her with interesting challenges like the missing Instructor Talmizhaab or their device . . . 

Note: Edally Academy: the Angry Aetherist is unfinished, with no recent updates.  It contains some graphic violence.


A serialized novel, with no recent updates

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Listed: Sep 27, 2014

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So much worldbuilding, so little time

By D. D. Webb, author of The Gods are Bastards

Oct 7, 2014: Edally Academy follows Tairiekie (I had to tab back to the page to be sure I was spelling it correctly) as she enrolls at the eponymous Academy, the most prestigious school of its sort in her world. All Taikie wants is to study engineering and make her parents proud, but in this fiercely competitive school, the politics of day-to-day survival are enough to distract anyone from their academic goals, and it doesn’t help at all that some of those politics touch on the fundamental forces—the aether—that move her world and define its sciences. Getting good grades means a certain amount of manipulating the system, and that may require Taikie and her friends to delve into the secrets of the universe . . . 

The best thing about Edally Academy is also the worst thing: the worldbuilding. The universe is incredibly deep and detailed, consistent and believable . . . and the entire first part of the story—much of what’s been posted at the time of this review—revolves around exploring it, with additional materials available to study on the site. Generally speaking, the author does a good job of plunking Taikie (and the readers) down into the universe rather than ranting off a list of names, dates and customs, but the sheer depth of the material thus explored means that not a lot actually happens during these first chapters, and the whole thing flirts with breaching the rule of "show, don’t tell." Characters come, say a few lines, and depart, and I’m left feeling I didn’t get to know them as well as I did whatever they were put there to teach me about Edally Academy and its universe.

By and large, though, the writing is better than solid, with a snappy turn of phrase and surprisingly insightful philosophical depths that keep it interesting. It can be a little overwhelming getting settled in the setting; I think the author’s purpose would have been better served by leaving some of those details out. Still, once the meat of the story begins moving, it is intriguing and promising right away.

Edally Academy is still in its early stages, but I’ll be following along with interest to see where it goes.

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