Kate’s Review: “School for Psychics”

35297405Book: “School for Psychics” by K.C. Archer

Publishing Info: Simon & Schuster, April 2018

Where Did I Get This Book: I was given an ARC from the publisher.

Book Description: An entrancing new series starring a funny, impulsive, and sometimes self-congratulatory young woman who discovers she has psychic abilities—and then must decide whether she will use her skills for good or…not.

Teddy Cannon isn’t your typical twenty-something woman. She’s resourceful. She’s bright. She’s scrappy. She can also read people with uncanny precision. What she doesn’t realize: she’s actually psychic.

When a series of bad decisions leads Teddy to a run-in with the police, a mysterious stranger intervenes. He invites her to apply to the School for Psychics, a facility hidden off the coast of San Francisco where students are trained like Delta Force operatives: it’s competitive, cutthroat, and highly secretive. They’ll learn telepathy, telekinesis, investigative skills, and SWAT tactics. And if students survive their training, they go on to serve at the highest levels of government, using their skills to protect America, and the world.

In class, Teddy befriends Lucas, a rebel without a cause who can start and manipulate fire; Jillian, a hipster who can mediate communication between animals and humans; and Molly, a hacker who can apprehend the emotional state of another individual. But just as Teddy feels like she’s found where she might belong, strange things begin to happen: break-ins, missing students, and more. It leads Teddy to accept a dangerous mission that will ultimately cause her to question everything—her teachers, her friends, her family, and even herself.

Set in a world very much like our own, School for Psychics is the first book in a stay-up-all night series.

Review: Thanks to Simon & Schuster for sending me an eARC of this book! It was a nice surprise to have in my email box, and I appreciate the generosity.

As I’ve established on this blog in previous posts in the past two years of it being a thing, I have certain weaknesses when it comes to my favorite fictional tropes. These include but are not limited to boarding school stories and psychic characters. So when I found out that “School for Psychics” by K.C. Archer combined both of these things, I was immediately fascinated with where this book was going to go. We’ve seen books involving kids/teenagers that go to a boarding school to hone certain powers (Uh, “Harry Potter”, anyone?), but I was pleasantly surprised to find out that this one involves young adults in their twenties and all the fun baggage that can go with it. And while I haven’t read nearly as much urban fantasy as Serena has, I’ve been meaning to try and get more into that subset of the overall genre. “School for Psychics” is definitely a good place to start for one as unfamiliar as I am.

The strongest aspect of “School for Psychics” is the psychic mythology and world building in and of itself. In fiction about psychic characters and systems you will often see a character having a litany of powers, from telekineses to ESP to seeing the dead. But one of the aspects of “School for Psychics” that really stood out to me was that each character has different psychic strengths that he or she has honed into their main talent. I can only think of one other story that decided to give different powers to different psychics, and that was Stephen King’s miniseries “Rose Red” (underrated AF, by the way). Teddy, our main character (who I’ll speak more in depth about later), kind of bucks this trend, but there are a slew of other characters who provide various types of psychic powers. These include Molly, an empath who can become overwhelmed by the feelings of those around her, Teddy’s roommate Jillian who can communicate with animals, and Pyro, who has (you guessed it) pyrokinetic skills that got him into trouble when he was on the police force. I also really like the concept of the U.S. Government having a vested interest in finding, training, and using psychics in espionage and various layers of the government and justice system. It’s a cynical trope that’s been done before, but hey, I’m not going to argue with it because it still works and feels relevant.

Though if we go by “Firestarter”, things may not turn out the way Uncle Sam wants them to… (source)

I did have a harder time relating to Teddy, our protagonist within the story. She has some fairly standard and old hat facets to not only her personality, but also her background. She doesn’t know who her biological parents are, as she was orphaned as a baby and adopted by a loving couple. She has a troubled history and has a snarky attitude, but the reality of it is that she doesn’t like feeling vulnerable or letting anyone in lest they hurt her. She is super smart but has up until now been using her intelligence to only benefit herself. I mean, look at the description above: she’s literally ‘scrappy’ and atypical. Hell, she even finds herself in a, you guessed it, love triangle, sort of torn between the sexy (but shallow as of now) Pyro, and mysterious (and also her teacher) Nick. The good news is that this is a series, so I do have hope that Teddy is going to grow and evolve and become more three dimensional as it goes on. But as of right now, growth is something that she really needs to do, because she doesn’t stand out within a setting that has some serious promise. As of now the world building is outshining her, and I really hope that she catches up in book two.

“School for Psychics” was an entertaining read, and I do intend on picking up book two when it comes out. Hopefully I won’t have to wait too long!

Rating 7: A decent urban fantasy with a promising premise, “School for Psychics” has some good mythology and potential, but has an (as of right now) fairly run of the mill protagonist who has room to grow.

Reader’s Advisory:

“School for Psychics” is not on many Goodreads lists as of yet, but I think that it would fit in on “Boarding Schools, Camps, and Private Academies”, and  “Psychic/Paranormal”.

Find “School for Psychics” at your library using WorldCat!

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