Thursday, October 10, 2013

Review: The Paladin Prophecy

The Paladin Prophecy (The Paladin Prophecy, #1)

Just another day. That’s what Will West thinks one morning as he goes running before school. Little does he know that soon he will be running for his life. After scoring off the charts on a nationwide exam Will finds himself on the run from men in black sedans and courted by an exclusive academy that no one has ever heard of. Along the way he is guided by the list of rules his father taught him to live by.

Rule #5 Trust No One

Will has always been told by his parents to lie low, not to draw attention to himself. A gifted runner, he hangs back and remains strictly average in all he does. He has no friends. Will’s life changes when, on the run and with his parents being targeted, he has no choice but to accept the academy’s offer of a full scholarship. Will arrives at the Center for Integrated Learning to find that everyone there is the best of the best- top of the line in academics, sports or whatever. Most everyone comes from wealth and privilege, and he is not sure if he’ll fit in. He meets his new roommates- Brooke, Ajay, Nick and Elise. They become fast friends, which is good because Will quickly makes enemies as well. There are those on campus who don’t want him there, and may have a connection to the men in black chasing him.

Will and his friends soon discover there is more to the Center than meets the eye- and its hard to know who to trust. Not only that, but Will realizes that he and some of his friends have special abilities- gifts that set them apart from ordinary humans. Abilities they may need if they are going to survive…

I liked The Paladin Prophecy a lot. It's fast paced and the story is sprinkled with humor. Will is engaging and realistic, and his sarcastic observations keep the perspective fresh. His roommates at the academy are well drawn for the most part. Brooke is smart, beautiful and confident and it doesn’t take long for Will to fall for her.  Ajay is endearing as a tech guru who can juryrig just about anything. Nick is a gymnast and the comic relief, always has a one liner or wry observation- I thought him kind of useless in the early going (aside from the humor), but he has a role to play later. Elise is a mystery girl with a lot of secrets, and easily the most interesting of the bunch.

The academy itself is fascinating- I loved the descriptions, the remoteness of it. I want to go there! The technology there is just a little ahead of society, and the author uses that to make the place unique. A nice touch. There are secret tunnels, strange rituals, and lots of extradimensional weirdness. The kids are the best part, they all have a role to play and they’re a lot of fun. The author seems to really hit his stride with them as the story progresses.

Throughout the story Will’s rules for life pop up at various times, usually before a pivotal scene. We really get a sense for how his parents trained him for this, to be prepared for the day when he would be on the run and have to rely on himself. Most of the rules are common sense but I chuckled at several, and they add a lot to the story.

Rule #27 There Is No Such Thing As Coincidence

As for what I didn't like- first we get a full dose of the boy goes to exclusive academy, makes friends and gets razzed, has to find his place and solve a mystery- perhaps not very original, but the sheer imagination of it makes it fun. Second, I found myself wondering why is Will wasting time getting to know people and settling in to campus life when his parents are in mortal danger? There seemed to be a lack of urgency there. I had to put that aside and go with it.   

There are a lot of cool moments that make this story a lot of fun. There’s a chilling scene where a bird that has been hanging around the house is peeking in the window, but when Will takes a closer look he finds its not your average bird. Later Will finds himself on an airplane winging across country to join the academy- but he is not alone on the plane. Nightmare creatures will do anything to stop him, including tear one of the engines apart! The action sometimes gets over the top but its fun and thrilling.

The Paladin Prophecy is a great read with a lot of great ideas. We get some closure at the end but at the same time the door is open for a sequel. I think Will and Brooke will be a great couple, and I'm looking forward to seeing more of Elise as well. Alliance, the next book in the series, is due out early next year and I'm looking forward to it already.

"I felt something else, too," said Will, studying her. "A couple of times with you." He held her eyes and thought:
Do you know what I'm thinking right now?
She held his eyes steadily: Of course I do, dummy.
Will gasped. "Damn. What is up with that?"
"Don't know, but it sure beats the hell out of texting," she said, grinning slyly.

"What's the Paladin Prophecy?" Ajay wondered aloud.
"Those other letters don't spell anything," said Nick.
"Those are Roman numerals," said Elise.
"Were the Romans all stupid or what? Why didn't they just use numbers?"
Elise and Ajay looked at each other and shook their heads.

2 comments:

  1. I'm glad you enjoyed The Paladin Prophecy. I enjoyed reading your review.

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    1. Thank you Pat! I liked it a lot...

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