After reading Rana’s praise for her friends book: “Pendragon University” I followed the link to Amazon, had to adjust it a little to reach the German shop, and since the book costs only 0.89€, I immediately bought it. And hell yeah, it was worth the money and much more.
Actually I was so intrigued by the weird setting, that I put the four remaining One Piece books aside and began reading PendragonU. The fact that our vacation was about to start soon and the car was already crammed, letting no room for real books, made the choice even easier.
Art major Darcy Hill is about to begin her college carrier at Pendragon University – the only none-community college that has accepted her. What she didn’t know is that PendragonU is a special college exclusively for “special” people, and she was accidentally accepted. So it seems at first. Anything supernatural you might think off, that has or can transform into a humanoid body, can be found on campus. She is the only human there.
On the arriving day she meets Ulrich, to whom she feels immediately attracted. As Darcy discovers that she is surrounded by non-humans she nevertheless decides to stay, to take classes and is determined to finish her degree. She soon makes friends. There are some months in her recent past, that she cannot remember, after an accident. Mysterious headaches, a black-winged angel, a rebellion of werewolves and some ancient spirits are entering the stage. They cause some havoc and drive the story along.
I don’t dare to say more, otherwise to much of the story might get revealed.
Please regard the following with care, since there might be some serious spoilers.
The Good Things
The story arc is really good. There are many hints towards the outcome. The smaller revelation – who Ulrich really is (hope that doesn’t spoil to much) – was expectable. But I was surprised as much as Darcy, when the main arc concluded. Congratulations on that. Many times when I finish a book I’m disappointed about the outcome. To obvious, often. To much out of nowhere, often. PendragonU makes it better and ends nicely.
I like the main characters: Darcy and Ulrich. Their love story is by no means greasy. The typical American prudery was a little annoying, but bearable.
The role Kelly plays is well thought through. The side story of Cleona, Daniel and Eliza fits well in the main story, and the hassle of Victoria vs. Ophelia takes epic forms.
The different timelines and POV character changes make sense and are well placed.
The whole development in the book is sound and made it always hard for me to put the book aside. If I wasn’t forced to do so, I would have read it in one or two sessions.
The writing in general is simple, straight and crisp. The pace is good.
The Bad Things
There are some obsolete side steps. Carlos could have been easily left out, for example.
I remember a logical glitch. Darcy mentions that she can’t sleep when the sun is out and refers to her mother with the same problem. Later in the book she is able to nap for hours.
Somewhere in the middle of the book is a broken paragraph transition, if I remember right. Ms. Smallwood stops midsentence and continuous the story elsewhere. Unfortunately I was walking the baby outside and had nothing to take notes.
There are some open questions for me. Might be I missed the answers, though:
- What about Darcy’s headaches? They seem to “magically” disappear. What was the reason for this? The lost memories coming back? The vampire bite? The werewolf bite?
- Why didn’t Darcy question the left out werewolf transformation, right on the next morning after full moon?
- What about the time travel consequences for Kelly? Since she made some big differences, she should suffer some major illnesses I guess.
- What actually was the reason for Ophelia to save Darcy?
The Things in Between
Take Professor X’s school, throw some Hogwarts in it, add some werewolves, many vampires, an innocent lovestory and you get PendragonU. You might say the ideas are borrowed from other authors. But as far as I know this combination is unique. Super Heroes ala Superman, Green Lantern and the Hulk are missing, though.
All in all, highly recommended. To follow Kristen Otte‘s rating scheme: 6 out of 7 stars. Looking back, Ms. Smallwood might have tried to put a little bit to much into this book, but this doesn’t change my recommendation.
The screwed paragraph should be corrected, though. I tried again to find it, but had no luck so far. In case I stumble upon it again, I will update this post.