“The Academy” by Lubov Leonova

Is it difficult to be a woman? How does a woman feel in a world, where her choices are limited and their scope is defined by men? Can a woman do something to change these rules? And finally, is trying to change the situation worth it?

Many women around the world, at least from time to time, find themselves musing over these questions.

“The Academy” by Lubov Leonova is set in a magical world. It may seem that people with powerful magical gifts should live by completely different rules than we do in our “ordinary” world. Alas, the author masterfully shows that human nature remains the same irrespective of a person’s extraordinary abilities. Just like in real life, those prone to greed and violence, seek ways to satisfy their sinful urges. And they don’t care if people get hurt while they pursue their criminal agenda.

Two girls arrive at the Guardian Academy. They are the first women ever allowed to join the Guardian study programme. Elisa and Jackie both are determined to prove that they are as worthy to become Guardians as male students. But one by one, there appear obstacles on the way to their dream. The feelings they start having for each other only complicate things.

Everyone at the Guardian Academy seems to have secrets. Elisa and Jackie have them too. Despite their closeness, they are reluctant to share everything about their past. After all, people they had trusted betrayed them before.

Elisa and Jackie get involved in serious investigations. Sometimes they fail, but is it really their fault? Maybe their failures are staged by men who use them in their power play? And if indeed, the stakes are so high the culprits can’t afford to lose, what are the two young women’s chances to win this game?

In my review of the first book in the series “Ghost”, I said that I’d love to learn more about the dragons. And in “The Academy” we do get to meet these magnificent creatures. Some of them are lovely, while others are completely terrifying.

Along with being a definite page-turner, the book makes the reader think. “The Academy” is a coming-of-age story, and the author lets us follow not only Jackie and Elisa’s journey to adulthood. We get to know other characters’ stories, and every story adds to the multi-layered picture of the magical world created by Lubov Leonova.

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