TL;DR version: The story got interesting (eventually), but the bland characters leave this novel a little lifeless.
Skyship Academy tells its story from two points of view: first-person narrator Jesse, a bottom-rung student at the titular academy; and a third-person limited narrator detailing the events as seen by Cassius, an agent of the academy’s biggest enemy, the Unified Party.
The novel sets up the conflict between these two as a political one against the backdrop of a post-apocalyptic United States. Combined with pretty flat and uninteresting characters (Jesse and Cassius themselves, as well as the avatars of each side, Captain Alkine for the academy and “Madame” for the Unified Party, lack any real subtlety), the political fight is pretty uninteresting.
Things finally pick up with the big reveal towards the end, which moves the story more directly into science fiction…but you have to slog through a lot of fairly un-engaging material to get there.
If I catch the second book on sale somewhere I may pick it up because I AM a little interested in where the story goes from here. I would tentatively recommend the same to others…maybe without reading this first book beforehand, since I’m sure book 2 will provide sufficient explanation and hopefully dive directly into the more interesting story.