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on 23 April 2014
***UPDATE***
I do not usually give an author a 2nd chance after a bad first impression, but a friend gave me a nudge to continue with the series.
With book 2 & 3, a great deal of the bits below are answered - and each of the boys develop considerably.

As such, I am changing the review from 3*** to 4****

=-=

There are several things that this book could have done to earn a five-star rating.

Firstly, aside from Sang, all the characters lack depth. Her mother is a 'present-but-absent' mother who locks herself away, and then in equal measure terrifies and abuses her children with impunity. (Cardboard villian!) The father? MIA during the book, and only just alluded to.

Sang's sister is there only as a crutch to get her in trouble, or to help deliver news or a message - again, no real 'feeling' behind the character, and if she were cut from the series then there'd be little to no noticibility on the plot.

Then we get into the boys.

Kota is the most 'defined' - but then, the majority of the interactions in this book happen with Kota.

Some of the other of the 6 boys barely get a look in, and as such, you feel like you're being smothered by a claustrophobic cast of cardboard puppets.

The small blips of conflict really are resolved too easily, and it has a major element of 'escapism' towards it which make this series feel like it's aimed at the rough age of 10-12, rather then the 'kidult' market which is a much more mature and appreciative audience.

To get a 5* review, what would be brilliant is a companion spin-off series featuring one story per boy - and ONLY that boy. That way you actually feel there is depth, character and soul to each boy, rather than a huge cast of supporting characters.

Firstly it's wildly unrealistic just how 'rich' they are. The author throws around Armani suits and brand new iphones as if they were disposable - and it is unfortunate that there isn't more 'social class' issues. Any problems? 'Lets just buy this for Sang. Heck! Let's just BUY a church and turn it into a diner - and let Sang decide how it should mostly look'. Yep. That's the feel to the series.

Hunger Games had a huge supporting cast, but you stopped and felt that each character had depth, feeling, meaning, a purpose.. This series just feels like a badly constructed concoction of '90210 + LJ Smith's 'the circle' series - and it just doesn't 'fit' right.

A great example - the school that she will be attending - it's apparently so unsafe that they fear going out in the halls between classes. What. The. Heck. - and yes, no reason is given, except that it is a rather rough school. (And again, nothing to support it - no security guards, no weapons scanners at the school, nothing.) It just feels forced, rather than flowing as a good story should!

This writer doesn't seem to understand or know what audience she's writing for -
Is it the 'teen angst' market? (Abusive mother)
Is it the 'kidult' market? (Back-to-school/young again)
Is it the 'entangled-ero-romance' market? (Potential 7-way triangle?)
Is it a 'paranormal' (The Academy?)

The best and most memorable line of the entire book is about a t-shirt... says it all really.
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on 14 February 2014
I found this book when Amazon tried to get me to buy the second and third books in the series. Seriously Amazon, if you're going to reccomend a series to me, START AT THE BEGGINING. Is that REALLY so hard?

On to the story in question...The characters are decent for the most part. Sang is a bit dim and she really doesn't seem to understand even the basics of social norms. I know her background is abnormal to say the least, but...it's like she's never stepped outside her front door before or read a book or anything.

I have much bigger problems with the boys to be honest. To be blunt, they feel like they were written as girls and then gender swapped without actually paying attention to the fact that boys and girls act differently. Barring the occassional fight, it's hard to see these guys as guys. They're also a little bland, all muscley without actually having anything different about them. I know they have secrets, but would it kill the author to put in some variety in this group?

That said, the story itself is enjoyable enough and will keep you entertained. But if you didn't buy it...believe me when I say it's nothing special.
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on 19 February 2014
Its rare that when I finish a series of books (I purchased the rest by the way!) I go back and re-read them to see what I've missed. I zoomed through the books so quickly I just had to. I'm not a fan of Twilight but I still really liked these books.

I am loathe to give books 5 star reviews because when I see others with such a review I assume that they're just too good to be true. So lets start with the bad

This series is not generic, if you're not a girl aged 13-30 then you're probably not going to like it. Also there is little emphasis on the plot which revolves around the Academy then the characters.

Now for the good...the best book I've read so far this year. I am a little trapped in the YA fantasy genre so it was nice to branch away from the fantasy for a change. The book also connects on an emotional level making me laugh out loud and frown in many places. Sure the guys and Sang come off a little creepy and weird but that all just adds to the effect as to why, you'll soon see...
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on 1 February 2015
I absolutely love C.l stone and I felt that I had to write a review to let people know how good this series really is. I have finished reading the seventh book in this series-after the first one I was completely hooked- and they just keep getting better. This book is a fantastic start to an excellent series. The main character Sang is so so likeable and I absolutely love all of the guys! This book has an interesting plot and all of the characters are very well developed. I would recommend this book to everyone, especially as it is free. It's such a bargain! You have to buy this book you'll be missing out if you don't!
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on 30 June 2016
fantastic! although didn't give as much details into the varying characters etc but I then went and read the next book.... and now finished book 10! and got a lot more insight into the boys backgrounds and the academy. so just hang on and try the enxt book if your still unsure, a different type of book to my usuals but got me gripped and waiting for book 11 now
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on 17 September 2014
OMG if your anyone who loves romantic, action packed, interesting teen romance, anime ish story's then you will love this book !! A fab start to an amazing series ! But be warned once you start reading you will not stop UNtill you have finished the rest of the series (that's out so far ;) ) !! Seriously people if you need a book to read then look no further !! <3
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on 27 December 2013
When I started this series I didn't think it was for me..........how wrong was I!
I started out thinking the characters were too young and I wouldn't be able to stick with it but I quickly found the twists and turns intriguing. By the end of this book I immediately downloaded the next three and each book has me more hooked. I now await the next release and can't wait to see how the characters find their way through what is to come!
I don't like reviews that tell what happens so I wouldn't write one; all I will say it this series grows and gets harder to put down.
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on 13 March 2014
My Cousin recommended this book I dislike teenage book being 46 but I thought what the heck and started it it pulled me in straight away sang seemed to be an annoying pathetic girl with her home life but when she meets the guy her personality seemed to change or C.L Stone kept hidden the real Sang. You feel the meaning of close family when 7 guys and sang get together the magic is the bond that she weaves with her self and everyone of the guy Kota,North,Luke,Gabriel,Nathan,Silas,Victor. Not forgetting Mr Blackbourne and Dr Green. It a well written exciting series you love the characters and will be asking questions about what is the Academy
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on 14 May 2016
This series is fantastic! I couldn't put this book down, I was swept away with Sang and the boys from the first page and you develop a love for each character and their own personalities and habits. You will not be disappointed A MUST READ!!
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on 8 September 2013
I really enjoyed this book. I was intrigued from the very start. I liked sang and you really feel a pull to her character. Having 7 male characters to focus on also doesnt hurt when reading this book. I would totally recommend this book to my friends and encourage them to give it a read. I went and got book 2 and 3 straight from reading this as I wanted more of sang, kota, victor, silas, north, luke, gabriel and nathan.
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