Series: The Paladin Prophecy #1
Published by: Random House Books for Young Readers on September 25, 2012
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Will West is careful to live life under the radar. At his parents' insistence, he's made sure to get mediocre grades and to stay in the middle of the pack on his cross-country team. Then Will slips up, accidentally scoring off the charts on a nationwide exam.
Now Will is being courted by an exclusive prep school . . . and is being followed by men driving black sedans. When Will suddenly loses his parents, he must flee to the school. There he begins to explore all that he's capable of—physical and mental feats that should be impossible—and learns that his abilities are connected to a struggle between titanic forces that has lasted for millennia.
Co-creator of the groundbreaking television series Twin Peaks, Mark Frost brings his unique vision to this sophisticated adventure, which combines mystery, heart-pounding action, and the supernatural.
Oh my god. Full stop.
This book totally awed me. I almost passed up the opportunity to read The Paladin Prophecy. It wasn’t grabbing me. But on a whim, I figured “Why not” and got it through Netgalley. I’m so glad I did! For me, this book was right on par with Insignia, both in style/story and in how much I loved it. And if you read my review of Insignia, you’ll know how much I adored it and realize exactly what that statement means. It means that The Paladin Prophecy is insanely “knock-your-pants-off and leave you butt naked but you won’t even care because you’re too busy reading” awesome. It’s like Harry Potter style school/fantasy, meets “kids save the world” Percy Jackson, meets insanely awesome mind-blowing “OHMYGOD I WANT THAT” technology, meets the page-turning awe that is Dan Brown conspiracy/history-brought-to-life/secret society. Put it all together and you get this incredibly original story that will suck you in and won’t let you go.
The first thing I have to talk about is the characters, because holy crap, the characters are really what make this book absolutely freakin’ incredible. Every single character in this book is so alive and filled with amazing personality. I actually didn’t fully appreciate Will’s character until maybe 100+ pages into the book. The first part of the book is largely Will on his own, running from danger, and maybe interacting with one or two people here and there. But when Will settles into his new group of friends, he really comes alive! He has this cocky, witty personality that really shines when he’s stepping up to bullies. He doesn’t take any crap from them and he makes that so obvious. IT’S AWESOME!!! Like, wow.
The other characters in the book are equally amazing. They’re all hilarious and quirky in their own ways and had me cracking up. I want to be friends with these people! Seriously! Where can I find them?? Why aren’t my friends that cool??
“I happen to be sitting on the sickest, most awesome idea for a social network site ever. […] I take all the best parts of YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook, and combine them into a whole new service called… YouTwit-face.” ARC of The Paladin Prophecy, Page 173
As for the story, sometimes I honestly felt like I had no idea what the heck was going on, but I didn’t care, because something kept me absolutely glued to this book. I just sat down and read and read and read, because I had to know what the heck was going on and I was eager to absorb every word until my eyes bled! I literally had no idea where this book was leading for the longest time. I just couldn’t get my head around what to expect — is this magic? Is this kick-ass X-Men genetic evolution? Is this Dan Brown conspiracy? I had no idea, but it just wasn’t something I was worrying about. I was too busy cracking up over the hilarious dialogue, or wishing the characters existed in real life, or just enjoying the action and mysterious plot as it was developing. I realized that this book is about the ride; it’s about the not knowing; and it’s about trying to solve the mystery of what’s going on.
Throughout the book, we learn about 100 different “rules to live by” that Will’s father drilled into him as he was growing up. At first I thought these rules were kind of weird and cheesy but pretty soon I was retracting that statement. They’re pretty awesome, and surprisingly good advice. They definitely gave the story a little something extra, since they kept popping up in good moments. I actually felt like I was learning life advice from this book, as weird as that sounds! Here are a few examples:
#5 TRUST NO ONE
#7 DON’T CONFUSE GOOD LUCK WITH A GOOD PLAN
#26 ONCE IS AN ANOMALY. TWICE IS A COINCIDENCE. THREE TIMES IS A PATTERN. AND AS WE KNOW…
#27 SOMETIMES THE ONLY WAY TO DEAL WITH A BULLY IS TO HIT FIRST. HARD. ARC of The Paladin Prophecy
I won’t reveal anymore because part of the fun of the book is seeing these rules for yourself as the story develops. 😉
The end of this book was an absolute whirlwind of action and puzzles. Parts of it were honestly a little confusing to me, but I think that might have been the formatting on my e-ARC. We suddenly hear from a bunch of different points of view but there were no section separators (and not even extra line breaks) to tell me when the POV was switching, so it got a little crazy. But I’m sure this will probably be better laid out in the final copies!
I definitely recommend this book a hundred times over if you like action, mystery, a bit of science, and some crazy fantasy X-Men type stuff. This book could easily be the next Percy Jackson & the Olympians!