a review by Rebecca Muir
The Paladin Prophecy is the first installment of a planned trilogy, based in present day USA. Will West is a teenager who has spent his life moving around with his parents. He is very smart and a gifted runner, but he has been taught to hide his abilities by his parents, whose mission in life seems to be to live unremarkable and unnoticed lives. Will’s dad has written him a list of 98 rules to live by, and taught him to value and trust those rules. One day, however, Will’s life turns upside down. In one day he is offered a place at a prestigious and secret boarding school after inadvertently scoring off the charts in a nationwide test, his house is surrounded by men driving black sedans and wearing black caps, and his mum starts acting really weird, like she is being controlled by someone – or something – else. When Will is then chased down the road by an invisible monster bent on killing him, he knows he needs to run away.
Will flees across the country to the boarding school, The Centre for Integrated Learning. There, for the first time in his life, he makes friends with people his own age, and finds a place where it is safe to truly explore his gifts. He discovers he is not the only teenager with special talents, as he gets to know his housemates and starts to trust them.
Will soon discovers, however, that the school is not as safe as it seems. Monsters continue to hunt him, and he quickly comes into conflict with some of the senior students at the school. Will, with his new friends, and Dave, his ANZAC veteran “guardian angel” must stand together in the face of danger – there is a secret society whose purpose they need to discover, monsters to fight and their link to the school to uncover, and the mystery of what happened to the previous occupant of Will’s room to solve. All this while seeking to understand a world which suddenly holds many more strange things than Will ever dreamt of.
The Paladin Prophecy is an edge-of-your-seat story right from the first chapter. At first it felt a bit awkward, as today’s world merged with fantasy, but it quickly found its stride. It is a good-verses-evil tale, where the heroes are likeable clever and brave. Will is the kind of guy you find yourself cheering for as you read. It is a book about discovering who you really are, and finding your place in the world, and it is a book about friendship and what it takes to be there for your friends. There is clearly a lot more of the story to come – the book ends with some things solved but other questions still wide open. I am looking forward to the next book, to find out how Will develops and how the story unfolds.
This is a young adult book, but the audience to whom it will appeal is definitely broader than that. If you like books with action, heroic heroes with super powers and an out-of-this-world battle between good and evil, you will love this book.