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Review of Tessili Academy by Robin Stephen

Review of Tessili Academy by Robin StephenTessili Academy by Robin Stephen
Series: Chronicles of the Tessilari #1
on May 10th 2015
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 98


On an island in the middle of a river stands a school. Brillbane bushes grow along the walkways, supporting a population of bright, colorful tessili. Girls and young women live in ornate dormitories. Surrounded by walls, attended by orderlies, their days are quiet. They meander through magnificent gardens on their way to and from class.

Then, at night, they go out hunting.

Looking at a book objectively is completely different from looking at a book personally. I write my reviews based solely on my personal preference. Usually, I never have second thoughts about voicing my opinion. I feel what I feel. Plain and simple. However, sometimes a book comes along that really just points out how picky I am and makes me second guess my review style.

First off, the storyline itself is one I’ve never gravitated toward and usually find uninteresting. It’s basically about girls locked away in an academy where the staff/organization essentially trains/experiments on them. It has a very young adult feel, which is also a genre I’ve yet to become actively in love with though I admittedly haven’t put much effort into doing so. Those two things alone are going to distance me from the book. Personally, I felt the blurb was a tad misleading. Sure the girls might hunt, but we never go with them on a hunt, so it’s really not as in the forefront as the blurb led me to believe.

Now, if you’ve read my reviews, you’ll know I’m a character reader. I love me some tormented, thrown through the ringer characters. I love all that inner turmoil they endure. Those doubts and angst. The problem for me in this book is that the characters don’t remember. They’re kinda out of it. They have no clue what’s going on around them. Well, without that connection, I have nothing to really latch on to. Yeah, their situation sucks. It’s not nice what’s being done to them. But I know that. I’m not feeling it from them. I will say that about two-thirds of the way into it, I started to get what I needed, but it was too late to draw me into the story.

The world isn’t explored. We’re solely at the academy, which is described well enough. I wouldn’t say it’s fleshed out completely for those who love detailed worlds, but it’s done with enough depth to satisfy me.

For the first two-thirds of the book, I admit I was ready for things to move along. It was a bit too much setup for my taste. I knew enough pretty early on and felt grounded in their day to day. There wasn’t a lot of action in the beginning, so it made it drag that much more for me.

Now, all those things had it very close to falling into my indifferent category. What saved it were a few details and the writing itself.

First, the tessili creatures were adorable. I like animals so the little guys captured my attention immediately. Second was the writing itself. It was smooth, accessible, and wove nice pictures in my head without giving me paragraphs of descriptions. Case in point were the tessili. Stephen never delivered a huge description of the tessili. She gave it to me in a sentence here and there, but built the image in just a few short paragraphs, woven in seamlessly with the other content. Lastly, the ending really did pick up. It left me with a better feeling than when the story started and I think ultimately saved this from what I’d call just a run-of-the-mill story.

So, overall, if this book has sparked a tiny bit of interest in you, I’d recommend picking it up. It’s cheap and short and I don’t regret reading it in the least. It’d be a great way to spend time on a short trip.

About Robin Stephen

When she was a child, that meant reading books. When she was a slightly older child, it meant trying to write her own. She produced her first attempt at a fantasy story at the age of 10. It was an unintentionally blatant (and considerably less well executed) rip-off of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

Fortunately for everyone, Robin’s stories have gotten a little more original over the years. She currently lives in Iowa City, where she hangs out with her husband, trains horses, and writes.

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