The Academy Saga


Romance - Suspense
Kindle Edition
Reviewed on 08/14/2020
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Ruffina Oserio for Readers' Favorite

Cadet-in-Training is an entry in The Academy Saga by CJ Daly, a mix of suspense, romance, and psychological thriller. Of all the places she could be, Kate never imagined waking up strapped to a bed in a psych ward of the Academy. Ranger has done his job and Kate has no other choice but to complete the Cadet-in-Training program. Otherwise, she will lose the one important privilege given to her: being able to see her little brother. Officer Nealson is responsible for her being in this damn hell; he’s the one who drugged and brought her in. And all of this is happening because she is “gifted.” Follow Kate as she goes through a rigorous regime preparing for her first mission. Unless she succeeds, Officer Nealson won’t be returning to missions. What is the hidden agenda of this place? Can Kate successfully fight through the program and determine her own fate?

CJ Daly’s novel is written in an engrossing first-person narrative voice and it is filled with streams of consciousnesses that plunge readers into the minds of the characters. The alternating narrative voices shift perspectives, provide insights into the characters, and help to deepen the conflict. Kate is a character that I rooted for: she is in a delicate position, and against her will. Emotionally, she is fighting between her captor and Pete, the one person who risked his life to warn her. The emotional conflict is deftly handled and it is what drives the strong suspense in this novel. As one reads from page to page, the sense of a hidden agenda becomes even more glaring and this kept me longing to see what will become of Kate Connelly. It is a fast-paced, emotionally rich, and engaging story. I was seduced by the strong narrative voice and read through the story in one night.

Christian Sia

The Academy Saga: Cadet-in-Training is another gorgeous book I am reading from CJ Daly and an interesting installment in the series. It features Kate “Katie” Connelly, who thought she was living her life the way she wants. She knows she is in trouble when she wakes up tied to a hospital bed in a psych ward in the Academy. She has been drugged and captured by Officer Nealson and now she has to undergo the Cadet-in-Training program, a program that will test her in far more ways than she has ever imagined. Her successful completion of the program will determine the fate of her captor in the Missions but there is something more at stake: her younger brother. While Kate struggles to uncover the hidden agenda of the Academy, her mentor slowly develops feelings for her. She is also attracted to Pete who risked a lot to warn her. Emotions are pulled in different directions while Kate must choose between following rules or her heart.

This is a great story from a wonderful storyteller. There is so much to love in this narrative and I particularly liked the world CJ Daly has invented. The Academy is a symbol of power and rigor, but there is something intriguing about it, something shady that the female protagonist is determined to find out. The author handles conflict in a skillful way. The protagonist is “gifted” and that is why she is held captive and made to undergo the training; I wanted to find out if she can be docile and comply and the suspense pulled me from page to page. She is manipulated, blackmailed, but she plays along. While there is a hidden agenda for her, she has her own plans. This is a novel with strong and sophisticated characters and I loved the way the author crafts the dialogues, keeping them natural and fascinating. The story is told in the first-person narrative and it allows readers to easily get the points of view of the characters. The Academy Saga: Cadet-in-Training features great writing, compelling characters, and a well-imagined and executed plot.

K.C. Finn

The Academy Saga: Cadet-in-Training is a work of fiction in the romance, suspense, and interpersonal drama sub-genres, and was penned by author CJ Daly. As this high-stakes and action-packed series continues, we find our protagonist Kate in a much worse position than before: locked up in the Academy’s psych ward for her gifts. Ranger Nealson is tasked with putting her through the grueling Cadet In Training program, and he’s determined not to let feelings get in the way of getting rid of Kate and returning to his own missions. As Kate’s feelings grow and change, she tries to resist them and focus on overcoming the Academy’s agenda to get to her little brother and the destiny that awaits her.

Author CJ Daly has crafted a fully immersive romantic suspense novel which also balances itself really well with a mission-driven plot and a tale of personal strength and growth for its central hero. Kate Connelly is a well-developed character for this genre of story: a woman who knows her own mind, and one who can balance her emotions against the trials that the hateful Academy puts upon her. The surrounding story makes for really interesting reading, and the relationship dynamics between Kate, Pete, and Ranger Nealson offer much for romance readers to get their teeth into. What results is a highly engaging series continuation, and I would certainly recommend Cadet-in-Training and The Academy Saga in general to fans of high-stakes action and thrilling romance plots alike.

Stacy Hunt

I am completely obsessed with this series. Team Ranger all the way!