Knights-in-training, damsels in distress, and a plot to incite a war, what more could a girl ask for? Violet Haberdasher's Knightly Academy (Knightly Academy, book 1) has just that.
Summary (from bookjacket):
Henry Grim has never been in trouble for borrowing a sword from the headmaster's private stores. He has never discovered a forbidden room in a foreign castle, or received a death threat over breakfast.
All Henry knows is life as an orphaned servant boy at Midsummer School, bullied by the privileged sons of aristocracy. But all that changes when Henry is the first commoner to pas the entrance exam for the prestigious Knightley Academy, where he will be trained as a modern-day knight alongside the cleverest and bravest fourteen-year-olds in the country.
Henry and his roommates, two other students from decidedly un-Knightley backgrounds, are not exactly greeted with open arms by their classmates. In fact, it soon becomes apparent that someone is going to great lengths to sabotage the trio's chances at becoming knights. But Henry soon learns that there is more at stake than his future at Knightley, and only he can sound the alarm. Is anyone going to believe a former servant on the brink of expulsion?
I really enjoyed this story. It was fast paced and not boring. I liked Henry as he wasn't whiney about his situation, but did have a good head on his shoulders. He was thoughtful and resourceful, but not a pushover.
I also enjoyed that this was set in a boarding school. In my mind, it was a lot like Hogwarts, only not magical. I also kept picturing Lord Haveloch as Severus Snape, and admit, I read his dialog as if it were Snape speaking.
The bookjacket suggests that this book is for readers ages 8-12, but I wouldn't limit it to just children. Adults would enjoy this book, too.