Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The School for Psychics by K.C. Archer

The School for Psychics by K.C. Archer

First book in the School for Psychics series

1.75 stars

This novel follows Teddy Cannon, a misfit gambler who has been banned from the casinos on the Las Vegas Strip. She can’t kick the habit especially because she owes thousands to a dangerous man threatening her adoptive parents. Teddy has never been proven to be a cheater, but her ability to tell when people are lying has come in handy at the poker table. When Teddy is offered an opportunity to attend a school for psychics, Whitfield, that trains them to be operatives in government fields it seems to good to be true. The challenge Teddy faces is to pass her exams and not get kicked out of the school that can save her from destruction. I honestly didn’t know what to expect going into this novel. It seemed like a fun novel and who doesn’t want to read about a school of psychics? However, this book is bland and not at all what I was expecting. It’s racked full of clichés. Here is an example:
“Haven’t you wondered why you can do things other people can’t?”
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This feels so much like the famous scene in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone that I thought I was reading it for a second.
The dialogue in general within this novel is incredibly mediocre and unless I was told that this was an adult novel I wouldn’t have guessed that because the writing style seems juvenile and clunky. It’s also hard to buy that some of these characters are adults because the things they say are so cringey that I was getting second-hand embarrassment. Archer’s writing style can be very fast, but it can also be slow and I found that there was no good balance between the two. Either I was flying through the pages or forcing myself to carry on. Another problem I had was that there were so many major plot points being introduced past the 50% marker. When I’m reading a novel, I love to have new things introduced, but when new major plots are being added in without hugely impacting the story it becomes frustrating. For instance, there is a whole plot introduced in the spring semester of the story where the class has to solve whether a man killed his girlfriend or not. It was too much and it did nothing for this story. The ending I found to be the hardest to get through and stay entertained. I can’t really put my finger on it, but at a certain point I felt like the story was going nowhere particularly exciting and the plot was detrimental to the characters that I felt like I had to keep reading. I found myself getting a little bored at the climax of what was supposed to be a setup for the sequel.

Whimsical Writing Scale: 2

The main female character is Teddy. I am not a fan of Teddy at all. She is the epitome of a Mary Sue. I haven’t come across many of those lately and I was starting to think that writers were moving from this 2000s writing trope, but nope. Teddy’s power is a one-of-kind psychic ability that is just oh so rare and special. Also, Teddy is selfish. I haven’t read The Magicians by Lev Grossman, but I’ve heard all the characters are unlikable and it made me wonder if Archer was trying to capture this type of character in the similar setting that Grossman used. All I know is that even characters in the novel were calling her out for only going to people to get something to serve herself instead of genuinely caring about the people around her. In fact, I highlighted three quotes of people calling her out on this and did she change? Not really. She claimed she did, but I surely didn’t see that in her actions.

Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: 1

The Villain- I called it from the beginning of the missing blood vials. It was obvious and nobody saw it, which is completely baffling since these are all highly trained government specialists. I just don’t buy that the dean of the school didn’t see what was so stinking obvious and in everyone’s faces. Obviously, if this is the case the government is failing and everyone needs to be fired.

Villain Scale: 2

There is a wide cast of characters. The school is divided into Misfits and Alphas. Teddy and all her friends are misfits because they have never utilized their powers for success and have felt more like outcasts because of them. It makes sense that there would be two types of people who would utilize their powers, but none of the characters really stuck out to me. All of the characters were clichés of their ability. For instance, one of the characters that Teddy has a one-night stand with is a pyrokinetic and he is angsty and emo. Every pyrokinetic in film is angsty except for Charlie from Firestarter who was angry and vengeful and she was the best. Teddy’s roommate can also talk to animals and she is your stereotypical hippie who does yoga in the nude. Molly, an integral character, is a hacker and an empath. She exhibits all the usual hacker clichés, but it is amped up because of her inability to escape everyone else’s emotions. It’s hard to appreciate characters when they all represent an archetype and never expand past what the author presents to us. Then there is Clint, the dean of the school, and he feels like a younger Dumbledore and I just wasn’t buying him. Also, Teddy sleeping with her professor was just awkward and unnecessary.

Character Scale: 1.75

Overall, The School for Psychics had promise, but I wasn’t all that extremely impressed with it. I wish that I had enjoyed this novel more than I did, but this novel just wasn’t for me. I would, however, recommend it to fans of special schools that focuses more on the actual school.

Cover Thoughts: That giant blown up face in the middle of a pretty background ruins this cover for me.

Thank you, Netgalley and Simon & Schuster, for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Have you read The School for Psychics? Do you plan to? What are some of your favorite schools for extraordinary students? Let me know down below in the comments!

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