The Academy Saga by CJ Daly | Book Review

What The Book Is About

Kate Connelly should be careful what she wishes for.

Just seventeen, she already feels like she’s suffocating. Since her mother’s death, her father’s basically checked out, so she’s stuck raising her brothers by herself out in the New Mexico scrub. All Kate wants is a little distraction from the same-ole, same-ole that is her life.

When two mysterious guys show up at the diner where she works, she thinks her wish has come true, until they start giving her a hard time. Like her life isn’t hard enough. Something about them niggles her, but she brushes it off. She’s never going to see them again anyway… right?

Then they appear in an alley one night to either rescue or kidnap her (she’s still not sure which) before disappearing like figments of her imagination.

Kate decides to put the bizarre encounters out of her mind. She has bigger problems to worry about: like that elite military academy that’s been pursuing her gifted little brother. When one of their cadets shows up at the high school, he creates instant pandemonium. And just happens to be one of those mysterious guys. Coincidence? Mama said there’s no such thing. And to always trust her instinct. But that might be kind of hard, because every time she’s around Cadet Peter Davenport, her gut starts flip-flopping on her. And her heart.

Can Kate keep it together long enough to stop Cadet Davenport’s mission? She’s about to find out. And—once again—how neatly life can be split into before and after.

What I Thought About It

The Academy Saga definitely surprised me in a good way. With just over 500 pages of text, this is definitely on the long side and some of the details felt a little extraneous BUT the book’s length also gives the reader lots of opportunities to observe the characters in various settings, interacting with different kinds of people and showing themselves as well-rounded people. Once I settled into reading The Academy Saga like the tome it is, I really started enjoying the visualizations the author provided and started to settle in with the characters and care about them. While the prologue starts with following someone on the inside of The Academy, much of the first 250 pages center on Kate’s home life, her friend-enemy relationship with Ashley-Leigh and navigating around the social dynamic of high school that is abuzz with the appearance of a “hot new guy”. While I was reading, I felt like some of those details could have been left out and I wouldn’t have missed them but looking back now that I’m finished with the book, I think all the little details did help me visualize the story, almost like a movie. 

For a book set in New Mexico, I appreciated the Native American representation and wished the author had played that up a bit more. There was mention of Arrowheads and a brief description of what they mean but I wish more of that Native history had been explored and incorporated into the plot. 

The Academy Saga is being compared to Twilight which I never read) and The Hunger Games (which I loved) and I can see why one might look to more established series as a point of reference but I think this novel and its subsequent series should be read and enjoyed without the comparison. For one, there is a bit of a supernatural inclusion in this book but it doesn’t have the darkness associated with Twilight’s vampire realm. And it’s not the dystopian fantasy and cutthroat environment in The Hunger Games either, although we do have a young heroine willing to offer herself in the place of her siblings. Further, The Academy Saga focuses on good values and portrays a teenager who is deeply committed to her family, her faith and tries to keep out of trouble, even when it comes at great personal sacrifice. I enjoyed the realistic setting, the description of farm life and the camaraderie between Kate and her brothers. 

Although there are evil powers at work here, The Academy Saga is a feel-good read. The attraction and romance felt believable, and I would love to see how it continues in the sequel. 

Note: I received a complimentary copy of The Academy Saga to participate in a book tour organized by Trish Collins from TLC Book Tours. I was not otherwise compensated and the above represents my honest opinion and genuine enthusiasm for this book.

Book Details

Title: The Academy Saga

Author: CJ Daly

Pages: 515

Format: Paperback

Publication Date: July 1, 2019

Publisher: BrandyLight Ink

Purchase Links:Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound
Author Links: and her newsletter:

About The Author

CJ Daly grew up on the scrabbly plains of Eastern New Mexico. When she was supposed to be helping her six siblings with chores on the family ranch, she was really sneaking behind dusty haystacks to read. And dreaming about becoming a writer.

After graduating high school, CJ moved to Big D (Dallas) where she quickly put herself through college while trying to rid herself of her country accent. She had better luck with college, graduating magna cum laude with a degree in English literature. After teaching a few years, and pausing to have back-to-back boys, she began writing in earnest.

A few years later, “The Academy Saga” was born. “The Academy” is her debut novel, and “The Academy, Cadet-in-Training” is the sequel. CJ is so proud that both books earned Readers’ Favorites 5-STAR seals of approval. When she isn’t writing, you can usually find her running from one athletic field to another, feeding the array of wild animals that show up at her back door, or kicking back with her gal-pals to sip cocktails and gossip about favorite books and TV shows.

Please feel free to stalk CJ on social media or visit her at her website: and don’t forget to sign up for her newsletter: to get all the inside scoop, exclusive giveaways, & sneak peeks at what’s coming up next!

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Jessica Rush says:

    Great review! Thanks for sharing!


  2. Teresa Lopes says:

    Great review, thank you for sharing it with us! I love these books! CJ is an awesome writer and she knows how to keep us from putting the book down. I can’t wait to keep reading more and more books from The Academy Saga ❤️️


    1. Run Wright says:

      I really enjoyed this and can hardly wait to read the next in the series.


  3. Mariana says:

    Love these series! Thank you for sharing your review ❤


    1. Run Wright says:

      I just got a copy of the second book and I can hardly wait to dive in.


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