First Published: March 2010
Henry Grim is a servant boy at the Midsummer School—until he passes the elite Knightley Academy exam and suddenly finds himself one of the first commoners at the Academy, studying alongside the cleverest and bravest—and most arrogant—young aristocrats in the country. They thwart Henry’s efforts to become a full-fledged Knight of the Realm, but he and two commoner classmates are determined to succeed. In the process, the boys uncover a conspiracy that violates the Hundred Years’ Peace treaty—and could lead to war! Can Henry manage to save his school and country from their enemies—and continue to study at the Academy?
When reviewing this book I think I have to remember that the book is aimed at 8-12 years, this isn't a bad thing. I actually really enjoyed the book and found that it has a lot of promise for those adults and older teens that are looking for a series to look for after reading Harry Potter, and there it is, the book is similar to Harry Potter, though the plot is different. we have three friend thrown together to fight a force they don't really know about. That is going to be the only reference I make to Harry Potter as I don't believe it is fair to compare one book with another.
While first picking this book up I noticed that it was long! Though once you start reading it you will find it hard to put down, I for one did. If I could of I would have sat and read the book all at once, it really was that good.
I enjoyed the friendships in the book and the double crossing that some characters displayed, I also loved the way you never really knew who was real and who was fake, waiting for an opportunity to stab some one in the back. Henry is a great little character, though I loved Frankie so much more, she was the girl of the group yet she was one of the boys when she wanted. She brought an element of fun to the story and the characters really needed that.
The setting is what really wins it for me, while set in a very Victorian era, we are introduced to what almost seems like a fantasy world, while there are similarities with the UK. The world has laid in peace for years with a treaty that no nation can have an army, though Henry finds evidence that the country next to them is conspiring to create a war and that one of the teachers at Knightley knows more than they are letting on.
This was a fantastic read, that was fast paced and incredible in describing a world that children could relate to, it is a must read! I for one can not wait to get my hands on Secret Prince.