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Academy Mass Market Paperback – 1 Jul 2008


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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 391 pages
  • Publisher: Signet Book (1 July 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451224671
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451224675
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 2.6 x 17.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 221,605 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lawyeraau HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 22 Aug 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I am a big fan of Bentley Little, as he is truly one of the most intriguing horror novelists around, With his penchant for taking the mundane and weaving it into a no holds-barred horror story, he has little equal in the genre.

That being said, this latest offering by the author is set in a high school that has undergone a transformation. It has gone from being a district school to being an independent charter school, and therein lies the rub. Newly independent, the principal takes independency to new heights. Unfettered and unrestrained, everyday concepts of discipline, learning, and loyalty take on new meaning. The teachers, as well as the students, slowly succumb, one by one, to this novel and horrific approach to education. As they do, the school becomes a very scary place indeed, with survival just a hope in one's heart.

As with all Bentley novels, there are some truly horrifying and shocking moments throughout. Though it is somewhat formulaic and has the usual pitfalls that are seemingly the norm with Bentley's novels, such as subplots that go nowhere, unresolved plot issues, and a race to the finish line at the end, it is the journey that is enjoyable, more so than the arrival at one's destination. So, fasten your seatbelts, as it will be a somewhat bumpy ride. Still, as one gets off this rollercoaster, one can be sure that one would willingly clamber aboard again.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Tony F. Ally on 24 Aug 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
every page of this novel oozes it,s deadly charm like a fine glass of champagne laced with arsenic.bentley has delvered yet another classic which chills the blood but makes us roar with laughter at the same time. pure genius. one classic example,the cheerleaders are asked to take off their panteys because the heavy under garments are ruining their co-ordination, then they are asked to kick high when they are dancing.bentley has charmed us all for many years, he is simply the greatest horror author of our generation, this novel seals that fact.
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2 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Ricardo Rebelo on 29 Oct 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I am sick and tired of Bentley Little's social satires poorly masked as horror novels.

I don't want to know about home owners association, giant stores that crush small businesses, insurance companies, disgruntled postal workers... and on and on and ON. Enough already! This book is just another way of Little getting back at something that happened to him... No credible story, cardboard characters, all the elements of a very bad novel are here.

What bugs me is that Bentley Little used to be a great writer. The SUMMONING and REVELATION are two of the finest horror novels ever. I love them! Somewhere down the line he has lost it and now the stuff he writes should be in the back page of some social magazine. Not in the horror shelve.

The other thing that bugs me is that I keep buying them (although only reading the first 50 pages or so before I give up in frustration) in hopes that he has somehow gotten back on track. Those hopes are diminishing fast...
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 52 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
At This School, Corporal Punishment Takes on a Whole New Meaning! 19 Aug 2008
By Michael R Gates - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This entry from Bentley Little--the author that horror master Stephen King refers to as "horror's poet laureate"--is a chilling little tale that satirizes the American educational system, vicarious parenting, blind faith, conservative politics, and even military mentality. While some readers will certainly find a few superficial similarities to Little's previous novel UNIVERSITY, this story is actually quite different. Set at a high school rather than at a collegiate institution, THE ACADEMY addresses issues involved with running a secondary school and the school's peripheral institutions and offices. Also, unlike the sentient building of UNIVERSITY, the literal school in THE ACADEMY is not evil per se; rather, it is those operating the school, as well as parents and students that get caught up in the fervor, that become the instruments of a preternatural evil.

As with most of Little's novels, there are genuinely scary moments, and his satirical prose is often as darkly disturbing as it is wryly humorous. Though the story's denouement is a bit less spectacular than it could have been, THE ACADEMY is actually a tight little page-turner that is even better than some of Little's recent works such as DISPATCH and THE POLICY (though it still falls short of surpassing his magnum opus, the brilliant Wal-Mart satire THE STORE).

In THE ACADEMY, fans of Bentley Little will definitely find the horror and dark humor they expect. But even those readers who only occasionally detour into the horror genre can expect a good read.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
SCHOOL DAYS...SCHOOL DAYS...GOOD OLD FASHIONED SCHOOL DAYS... 22 Aug 2008
By Lawyeraau - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a big fan of Bentley Little, as he is truly one of the most intriguing horror novelists around. With his penchant for taking the mundane and weaving it into a no holds-barred horror story, he has little equal in the genre.

That being said, this latest offering by the author is set in a high school that has undergone a transformation. It has gone from being a district school to being an independent charter school, and therein lies the rub. Newly independent, the principal takes independency to new heights. Unfettered and unrestrained, everyday concepts of discipline, learning, and loyalty take on new meaning. The teachers, as well as the students, slowly succumb, one by one, to this novel and horrific approach to education. As they do, the school becomes a very scary place indeed, with survival just a hope in one's heart.

As with all Bentley novels, there are some truly horrifying and shocking moments throughout. Though it is somewhat formulaic and has the usual pitfalls that are seemingly the norm with Bentley's novels, such as subplots that go nowhere, unresolved plot issues, and a race to the finish line at the end, it is the journey that is enjoyable, more so than the arrival at one's destination. So, fasten your seatbelts, as it will be a somewhat bumpy ride. Still, as one gets off this rollercoaster, one can be sure that one would willingly clamber aboard again.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
intelligent entertaining horror tale 7 Aug 2008
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The school district contains many conservative fundamentalists, who demand censoring books, limiting what is taught, and definitely outlawing evolution. Additionally they insist on not wasting money on poor students. When the principal of John Tyler High School applies to convert it to a charter school she sells it to the teachers and parents, promising higher wages and a better education. By a small margin, Tyler HS becomes a charter school.

Even before the charter was passed, there were some dark zones in the school in which supernatural phenomena seem to occur. The custodial staff bears witness to such events, but they suddenly disappear as do any teacher who opposed the charter concept and student considered "tainted". The personalities of those remaining at Tyler change dramatically and frighteningly. Punishment becomes norm, but these chastisements make the school seem like a rendition prison. Two teachers Linda and Diane, and students Ed, Brad, and Myla see ghosts and hear voices with no one around. They also notice an eerie fog that shows the past when the school had young children having fun in the playground. The quintet teams up to abort the spell the principal has cast but each of them knows that the faculty and student body will horrifically destroy them if they fail.

Using headlines over what to teach in school, Bentley Little designs an intelligent well written entertaining horror tale that sprinkles the curriculum debate with a paranormal extremist position. The story line is fast-paced yet has multiple levels while throughout providing a cautionary undertone that extremism means exclusiveness by leaving people outside the tent. Besides the principal making the law inside the school; the ghosts remind people of the past, and the disappearances add suspense as readers wonder whether the vanishings are mundane or poltergeist in nature. Fans will relish Mr. Little's enjoyable dissertation on education.

Harriet Klausner
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Not his best 21 Aug 2008
By Richard S. Crawford - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've been a fan of Bentley Little's for years now; whenever I'm in the horror section at Borders, I check to see if there's a new Little book out that I haven't read yet. Some writers have compared Little to King, Straub, Barker, and other greats in the horror fiction field. One blurb on one of his books, from Stephen King, describes Little as "A Master of the Macabre"; and on Little's latest book, The Academy, there's a blurb from King that describes Little as "Horror's poet laureate".

The first book of Bentley Little's book that I read was The Ignored. That book is, in my opinion, Little's best; not only is it a fine horror novel, but I think it could stand on its own as a respectable mainstream novel, with the likes of Upton Sinclair or John Updike. It's the rather hokey supernatural stuff at the end of that novel, in fact, that are its biggest undoing.

Likewise with his 1998 novel, The Store. That novel can be read as a great condemnation of the influence that major "big box" retailers such as WalMart have on small towns in America. It's great satire, another brilliant novel unfortunately done in by overly dramatic supernatural influences at the end.

Most of Little's books are like that: unfettered and unbridled condemnations of large institutions and their dehumanizing effects over regular people. I've never met the man (I did have the opportunity to chat with him online once), but I have this image of Little as a card-holding NRA member, secluded on his property in Arizona and probably voting Libertarian. The dehumanization in Little's books are usually shown as an institutional supernatural horror, which often brings people, particularly those in authority, to their absolute worst, in brutal and quite often sexually explicit ways. In The Association, we get a glimpse of how a home-owner's association can drive a typical homeowner to utter ruin. The Policy shows a family devastated by an evil insurance corporation, sort of Michael Moore meets Freddy Kreuger.

In his more recent books, however, it feels to me that Little is scraping the bottom of the barrel in his search for ways in which he can demonstrate the inhumanizing effects that large institutions can have on people, and his supernatural elements are becoming more and more banal. In Dispatch, which I believe is Little's strongest novel since The Ignored, the "big bad" at the end turns out to be just another misshapen, evil beast. And to be honest, I'm not even sure I got the point of The Vanishing, his 2006 novel.

In his newest novel, The Academy, Little takes on charter schools, and the result is, unfortunately, disappointing. While he handles the trope of a haunted school much more adeptly than Michael Paine did in The Night School, there's still quite a bit that's lacking. The dehumanized victims of the supernatural forces are brutal and vicious in typical Little ways, and in typical Little fashion we witness most of it through the eyes of people who are on the periphery, affected by the forces but not altered by them. But here the causes of the events are given such short shrift that it almost feels like Little uses the novel more as an excuse to showcase brutality and depravity, rather than examine its effects. I went through too many scenes wincing, rather than wondering what was going on. And when the forces behind the events in the novel are finally revealed, I found myself disappointed. It's an interesting villain behind it all, but given so little face time that it's barely seen at all. Most of Little's villains are faceless and operate entirely through intermediaries, but the villain here seems mishandled, even clumsily written.

In general, I enjoy Bentley Little's novels, and I recommend him. The Academy, however, is not his strongest novel, and I can't recommend it to anyone.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
First half = 5 Stars; Second half = 2 Stars 1 Nov 2008
By Prof. CJ - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
For a synopsis, please look at Amazon's blurb & at prior reviews, which have done a fine enough job of summarizing the book's plot that I don't feel I have to reiterate it.

Here's my assessment: I still think Bentley Little's novel THE STORE is one of the best social horror novels ever written, and I thought his novel THE UNIVERSITY was nearly as good. The first half or so of THE ACADEMY was in that league -- unease that was rapidly building into terror as events at post-charter John Tyler High School began to escalate. However, the second half of the book was really disappointing. The "horrors" that occurred weren't much different from what Little has portrayed again and again in other novels (such as taboo-shattering perversions that, if you've read enough Little, you can get desensitized to.) It seems like Little is in kind of a rut, rehashing the same sorts of horrors. And the ending felt very abrupt and cobbled together. Overall, I found it very unsatisfying. Personally, I'd rather have a book with a weaker beginning and stronger ending that vice-versa. THE STORE and THE UNIVERSITY are much better.
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