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The International Writers Magazine - Our Tenth Year:

Darke Academy - Secret Lives
by Gabriella Poole
ISBN: 13: 978-0-340-98924-1
Hodderchildrens – Teen (August 2009)
Marcel D'Agneau

There’s moveable feasts and then there’s moveable schools that are also a feast in progress. The Darke Academy is a school with a terrible secret. Smart rich kids study here and all are very good looking and every term someone new arrives to sink or swim in its heady atmosphere.

It’s the school that Cassie Bell gains a scholarship to when it is ensconced in Paris. She is excited. It’s a chance to escape being bullied. She is no pushover however and is pretty with green eyes and pretty good at Math. She hopes she can hold her own in this hothouse biosphere. But when the thrill of arriving in such a special place wears off, Cassie begins to suspect that this gift horse has fangs.

Yes we are in Twilight territory, or to be more exact, one of those typical boarding school stories that used to exist where everyone was jolly good at sports but you usually picked on the fat girl and there was always a midnight feast up on the roof that someone was bound to sneak on. Add vampires to the mix and midnight snacks take on a new twist and hey-ho the school drama is reborn. This time as a mixed school with all the sexual tensions to raise the temperature.

There are mysterious silent students who creep about at night and a select sub-group who seem to run the school called ‘The Few’ we have seen before in many teen high-school movies. Even the title lacks subtlety and I know it is aimed at teens, but perhaps they might read this and graduate to better material. One hopes so.

To be honest I’d like to say I liked this, that it made me laugh or scared or something, but this is neither fresh nor a patch on Stephanie Meyer who is the goddess of all things vampiric. Darke Academy tries to reinvigorate a dead genre by adding blood rituals and invoking dead vampire spirits to take up life inside the fresh young ones. It is all about pretty and shallow teens who pretend they are in an episode of Gossip all the time but have nothing of any substance to say; its tiresome and never feels remotely real. Deadly stuff.
© Marcel D’Agneau September 2009
Marcel is a writer and teacher.

Better to try this series also from Hodder

NIGHT WORLDS by Lisa J Smith
Hodder Children's Books; (Jun 2009);
ISBN: 978-0-340-99663-8

Elle Mackintosh
The quest to become popular, the struggles of growing up, the hatred of the actions of those you love, and the difficulty in getting used to your new found magical powers.

More young fiction


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