The Shadow Cadets of Pennyroyal Academy
by M.A. Larson
Recommended Ages: 12+
What I'm saying is, it's Hogwarts as re-imagined by a brony - a word which here means "a grown, heterosexual man who is totally into My Little Pony." I'm serious. This is a thing, and this guy is one of the big names in the movement. Primarily a TV writer before he started writing this series, Larson describes himself as being to his wife and daughters what Princess Cadet Basil (a boy) is to the other members of Leatherwolf Company. Basil wouldn't like you to think about him the way you are probably thinking about him right now. Aspiring to be a princess wasn't his choice; it was thrust on him by his mother, perhaps as a way to console herself about having 22 sons and no daughters. He's a totally decent guy who can kick anyone's butt in a sword fight. The whole concept of Princess Basil
In this second installment, as I was saying, Evie goes back for her second year at Pennyroyal, is challenged to her utmost, and heroically rises to the occasion when a Warrior Princess type is just what is needed. This time, there is more to worry about than witches and dragons (not to mention the fact Evie was raised by dragons, and doesn't like the idea of slaying them). No, it turns out there is also a secret society of ex-princess cadets who grew bitter about being sent home in failure. When the headmistress of Pennyroyal won't listen to Evie's concerns, she realizes it's up to her to head off an invasion by a horde of killer princess wanna-bes. To succeed, she must pull her circle of friends back together after a year of strain on their relationship. She must also rely on a sister she learned she had only last year - a sister who, by the way, is only the most powerful witch ever to be born. And, of course, she and her friends must find in themselves the courage, the compassion, the discipline, and (in Evie's case) a little something extra, to stand up to the greatest danger they have faced yet.
Evie's growth as a princess is inspiring. Her interplay with the other characters is full of fun, and at times, very touching. And her second year of adventures, while fully engrossing in itself, also continues building the anticipation of an exciting destiny to come. The series continues in The Warrior Princess of Pennyroyal Academy, scheduled for release Aug. 22, 2017.