Pennyroyal Academy by M.A. Larson | Audiobook Review

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Pennyroyal Academy by M.A. Larson | Audiobook ReviewPennyroyal Academy by M.A. Larson
Narrator: Susan Duerden
Length: 8 Hours 47 Minutes
Series: Pennyroyal Academy #1
Published by Penguin on October 7th 2014
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fairy Tales & Folklore, Friendship, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 304
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
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Pennyroyal Academy: Seeking bold, courageous youths to become tomorrow's princesses and knights….Come one, come all!A girl from the forest arrives in a bustling kingdom with no name and no idea why she is there, only to find herself at the center of a world at war.  She enlists at Pennyroyal Academy, where princesses and knights are trained to battle the two great menaces of the day: witches and dragons. There, given the name “Evie,” she must endure a harsh training regimen under the steel glare of her Fairy Drillsergeant, while also navigating an entirely new world of friends and enemies. As Evie learns what it truly means to be a princess, she realizes surprising things about herself and her family, about human compassion and inhuman cruelty. And with the witch forces moving nearer, she discovers that the war between princesses and witches is much more personal than she could ever have imagined.Set in Grimm’s fairytale world, M.A. Larson’s Pennyroyal Academy masterfully combines adventure, humor, and magical mischief.

Why Did I Listen To This Book?

I have had Pennyroyal Academy by M.A. Larson on my TBR pile since BEA 2014. Like many of my good intentions, I had made a goal to read all of the books I acquired at BEA 2014 within a year. Of course, I failed at that goal. Recently, I have made a goal for myself to read through and cull my physical review books faster and so because I luckily had an audiobook version of Pennyroyal Academy I decided, NOW IS THE TIME to listen to it. Also, it is so different from my previous audiobook - The Secret Sky – which is a great thing because I like a whole lot of variety in my audiobooks. ALSO! There’s this dragon on the cover which essentially makes Pennyroyal Academy a total April book.

What’s The Story Here?

Essentially Pennyroyal Academy by M.A. Larson is about this girl who doesn’t know her name. All she knows is that she must get to Pennyroyal Academy and become a princess and she’s clutching a flyer for the academy. Anyways, she’s going through the woods and on her way when disaster strikes and she must be rescued by Remington, a prince. She makes it to Pennyroyal Academy where first she is called Eleven but is then given the name Evie. There she helps someone overcome a curse where he is a pig. She meets the ire of the girls who already have royal blood – in particular a girl named Malora. Evie becomes caught up in a magical war between princesses and witches, good and evil. The fairytales of the Brothers Grimm converge in Pennyroyal Academy and the results are actually kind of cool.

How’s The World building?

I loved that the witches in Pennyroyal Academy came across as truly evil. It’s nice to feel like the fairytales are much more traditional. I also liked just how serious the school was. These girls are fiercely competitive when it comes to being princesses. They are overseen by a fairy drill sergeant who actually expels one girl who when asked why she wants to be a princess says it is because she wants to find her princess. It is NO NONSENSE and I love it! Furthermore, there’s dragons and before we make assumptions about them being evil, we have to examine that.

ALSO! There’s nurses! Who work to overcome bad spells and potions and find a cure! I love it! Those parts reminded me of Madame Pomfrey from Harry Potter.

I also like the royal that Evie’s amnesia plays. I mean, in the plot and in the world building it plays quite the important role.

How’s The Narration?

I feel like I have definitely heard Susan Duerden’s narration before – however – after a search on audible, it turns out that the only Duerden book that I’ve listened to is the multi narrator version of Dracula and she’s one of several narrators on that. This audiobook of Pennyroyal Academy is the first solo Duerden audiobook narration that I’ve listened to. It’s odd because there’s like 98 books that she’s narrated. If you’re looking for an audiobook where the narrator perfectly matches the feel and the subject of the book, MA Larson’s Pennyroyal Academy is perfect. Duerden has the perfect voice for narrating fantasy. It just sounds so elegant and otherworldly. I absolutely recommend this audiobook on that basis alone.

Who Should Read This Book?

Pennyroyal Academy reminded me a lot of The School For Good And Evil so if you love that book, especially the audiobook version, I think you are going to love this one.

Also, if you like books about magical schools READ THIS BOOK.

Sum It Up With A GIF:

Pennyroyal Academy is not quite Hogwarts but it kind of sort of fills the void.

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. I didn’t wind up reading Pennyroyal Academy when I got it from BEA last year (I passed it on), but you’ve made it sound like something I shouldn’t miss out on. I seriously enjoy my middle grade fantasies when they’re clever and logical and fun, and this one sounds like just the ticket! So thrilled to hear that you enjoyed it 🙂

  2. Ooh, I’ve been listening to a lot of Susan Duerden Audios lately. She does a lot of historical romance, and I’ve been a bit addicted to them lately. She’s great!

    I’m not sure if I want to read this, but I am somewhat curious.


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