on September 30, 2012
The Paladin Prophecy totally awed me. I almost passed up the opportunity to read it because the plot summary wasn't grabbing me. But on a whim, I figured "Why not" and dove right in. 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. The Paladin Prophecy is 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 wow, 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-butt 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!
on September 25, 2012
I was lucky enough to get Mark Frost's new book The Paladin Prophecy the day before it was officially released, thanks to the magic of Amazon. I had preordered it months ago, because I've been a long time fan of Mr. Frost's work, starting way back those many moons ago when he worked on a show called The Six Million Dollar Man. I was a fetus at the time, but I knew good writing when I heard it (through my mother's belly). (Kidding.)
He also worked on another show you may have heard of... Twin Peaks, the groundbreaking series that made the incredibly provocative shows of today possible.
And speaking of Twin Peaks, there's more than a touch of that show's dark mysticism in The Paladin Prophecy. You see, there are forces that have been waging war for millennia, and we are introduced to this war through Will West, a young man who is very very talented.
This is a young adult novel the same way the works of Roald Dahl were for kids, or the books by J.K. Rowling... which is to say, it's not. It's a good read for all ages, 8 to eighty, and it's a real page turner. It's also got lots of heart, as Will works through what is happening to him with help from his Dad's List of Rules to Live By, which Mark has conveniently enumerated at the end of the book.
Any more details would spoil a good read, so I will stop there. Do yourself a favor, and pick up The Paladin Prophecy, which has already been optioned for a film series. And then, upon reading, wait impatiently for book two! I know I will...
on October 24, 2012
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales
Quick & Dirty: High-stakes and over-flowing with action, The Paladin Prophecy is a intense read. A hilarious hero with a secretive past and new friends at a strange school are thrown into a war with an alternate dimension.
Opening Sentence: The Importance of an Orderly Mind Will West began every day with that thought even before he opened his eyes.
While I was reading this novel, and for a few hours afterward, The Paladin Prophecy had me buzzing. It was the most exciting story to read. This is a novel that will have you turning pages so fast you'll get papercuts. When a black SUV follows Will down a street on his run, he thinks they're just looking for a house number. Until he gets a text from his father, who's all the way in San Francisco, saying nothing but RUN, WILL. It seems impossible that the two could be connected -- until the SUV tries to run him down. Will runs faster than he's ever run before -- so fast he can't even believe it -- without breaking a sweat. When Doctor Rollins comes to school to invite Will to an exclusive, secret academy in Wisconsin, he realizes he hasn't been living under the radar like his parents taught him.
There are rules. Will's father drilled them into him at an early age, numbers 1 through 97. Always on the move, always under the radar, his father's rules have been what's kept him safe. Now, on the run from a strange group of men and his own family, Will's left with no where to go but The Center for Integrated Learning. No cell phones, no laptops, the school encourages face-to-face communications and challenging work. While all these rules grate on Will's sense of independence, it isn't long before he realizes the Center is the first place he can really belong.
He makes friends, for the first time friends that will last. And he begins to find secrets. A student who invades the minds of others and his powers to bully people. His friend Ajayhas a photographic memory and incredible understanding of technology. Some of the students at the Center are more than prodigies. Just like Will.
Though, Will's got another talent. He sees things as they really are. Dwayne the owner of a mysterious Prowler who happens to save his life, begins popping up where Will least expects it -- always in time to save him. There are monsters coming through the Never-Was and somehow they're connected to his family. This is where the science fiction gets a little obscure, but the story is set up so Will knows almost nothing -- because knowing is dangerous.
Will is a hilarious narrator. It took me a few chapters to get into the story, but his sarcasm and smarta$$ comments helped me keep reading. Once the story gets started it becomes the most exciting reading ever. I couldn't put the book down. Something was always happening -- this book is jam packed with mysteries all strangely woven together. The characters, Will and his new band of friends, are smart and resourceful. Because of this I had no problem believing they really could figure out what happened to Will's parents. The boys' banter helped move even the slow parts -- by this I mean areas when the characters are learning something new and not, you know, fighting monsters -- of the story at a fast clip. This novel was a blast to read. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes their heroes witty and resourceful.
FTC Advisory: Random House Books for Young Readers provided me with a copy of The Paladin Prophecy. No goody bags, sponsorships, "material connections," or bribes were exchanged for my review.
on April 1, 2014
I didn't finish this book due to the excessive, horrible, and unessecary swearing. Too bad because it had a great plot and was very engaging.
because of the swearing:
14-15 and up
Though it may seem like just another run-of-the-mill Sci Fi adventure for teenage boys, The Paladin Prophecy benefits from a strong, unpredictable and speedy plot line, plenty of gadget fun, intensely gripping high-level conspiracy and a cast of characters that you'll instantly fell in love with. In other words, it's a highly entertaining, extremely well-written Sci-Fi Thriller that will impress you with its sharp pacing, wittiness and nifty sense of fun. An all-around awesome story that will appeal to boys and girls alike - no matter the age!
Will is not your regular teenage boy. His talents and abilities make him very special. He's incredibly intelligent, quick-witted, and a fast runner. But that's not everything! He possesses abilities - of both physical and psychic nature - he's not even aware of yet. And, as he will soon discover, those abilities are just as likely to make his life easier, as they are to get him in serious trouble. And it doesn't take long for the trouble to come knocking on his door. Soon after scoring off the charts on a nationwide exam, Will finds himself at a center of a centuries-old conflict with an alternate dimension (the Never-Was), running for his life and fighting for his family, his future and the entire human race.
While I'm certainly not an expert when it comes to pre-teen/teen Sci Fi Adventures aimed primarily at younger male audience, I'd like to think that I do know a thing or two about good fiction. And The Paladin Prophecy, my darlings, is a prime example of such a fiction. It's a rare treat that combines relatable characters, breathtaking action sequences, emotional storytelling and even some deeper and more profound thoughts about life, destiny, family and growing up. While it's not completely free of serious themes and darker moments, it's certainly not a heavy or angsty read either. To me, it's a perfectly balanced blend of action, adventure, Sci Fi elements, mystery and humor.
Now, if I were to describe this book to someone in just one sentence, I'd say it's an incredibly cool mash-up of X-Man, I Am Number Four, Bourne Identity sort of conspiracy and a complex fantasy-like world such as the one in the Harry Potter universe. This isn't just Sci Fi. It's more than just an action-packed adventure, too. It's all that and more. There's magic, secrets, different dimensions, monsters, high-tech gadgets, characters with out-of-this-world abilities and characteristics, violence and drama. Some parts of the plot are just as cool as they are highly implausible, but that doesn't stop you from having a whole lot of fun with this book. Moreover, at nearly 600 pages long, The Paladin Prophecy makes for a surprisingly engaging, quick and light page-turner.
While the book races along at a nearly break-neck speed, the story does occasionally slow down and a few important messages surface. Our hero learns a lot about himself, his family, the abilities he possesses and what he can do with them. He also learns a lot about his past and how much his parents sacrificed to protect him. Some lessons are easier than others, some even come across as a bit too cheesy, but what matters most is the character growth that is clearly visible in Will. As the story progresses, he becomes more mature and responsible and even though his cocky sense of humor and self-confidence never really leave him, he begins to morph from an overconfident genius-kid into an admirable young man aware of the many responsibilities resting on his shoulders.
Will is a delightful narrator. His witty comments and hilarious inner monologues will have you cracking up and snorting your drink through your nose. His voice is sharp, clever and, well, very teenage-like. Mark Frost did an awesome job adjusting the narrative voice to accommodate the younger audience. The result is not only completely convincing, but also quite pleasantly hilarious. In my opinion, it's Will's incredible charisma and phenomenal personality that drives this book forward and elevates the reading experience to a whole new level of awesome. I quite simply loved Will as the lead character.
Overall, The Paladin Prophecy proved to be a very satisfying beginning to what is quickly becoming one of my favorite teen adventures! One thing for sure, I am glad I waited with reading book one in this fantastic series until now and could then jump straight into book two. With a suspenseful ending like that and so many questions left unanswered, I really don't think I could handle the wait!
on November 19, 2013
This book came highly recommended. In fact, there was so much positive hype that I immediately pre-ordered the sequel when I ordered this book.
I had a very hard time suspending disbelief for this book.
[Beware Spoilers Follow]
Our young protagonist, is an amazing creature. He is smarter, faster, stronger, and more resilient than any of his human peers. But, his parents have a set of rules that include provisions for "not sticking out." So, he lopes along in cross-country as opposed to winning races and acclaim from his peers. He purposely does mediocre schoolwork to avoid unwanted attention, etc.
Why does he have all these superpowers? Well, he is a chosen one, a defender, a paladin ...
We have seen this plot before with the kids of Olympus series, the Air Bender series, etc.
The premise that a teenager would be able to set aside the desire to impress friends, attract dates, and do all the things that teenagers want to do world-wide for the past five millennium seems extremely improbable.
In some of the other books in this genre, the kids hid their powers, because there was a cultural imperative to that was generally accepted by their peer group, or there was visible, clear danger involved with revealing their powers.
That was not the case in this book.
We also found out there were two competing groups, the evil and somewhat inept Bad Guys(tm), and the uber-cool and sophisticated, Good Guys(tm). In one of the scenes in the first five chapters, the Bad Guys let loose a mechanical assassin bug to take out one of the Good Guys. The Good Guy has a sixth sense that the bug is about to strike, and he executes an instantaneous "doughnut" in the middle of the road while drawing a weapon and zapping the bug before driving on.
It occurred to me that such a sophisticated, equipped, and generally together group would not need the "Paladin," and the book does not offer a plausible explanation that counters that initial question.
Our hero finds out that he is one of the chosen and accepts his role with significant panache and uses his USA teenage knowledge to thwart the evil at work ... except ... stay tuned for the cliff hanger to be addressed in book 2. (While the last three chapters elicited a groan, it was not an unreasonable break-point.)
Mark Frost gets credit for writing in a style that appeals to today's teenager. It felt like the book was written as a series of quick text messages, and I could easily imagine the YA crowd enjoying it.
on October 29, 2012
First Sentence: I couldn't see his face.
A Quick Synopsis: On the surface, Will West is just your average fifteen year-old. He goes to school, gets average grades, and is an average runner on his cross country team. But dig a little deeper, and you'll find that there's more to him that meets the eye. He does everything he can to stay normal. But when Will finally makes his mistake, he does it on a nationwide exam, scoring sky-high. Soon he's being courted by an exclusive prep school. When he arrives at the school after he loses his parents, Will discovers his roommates can do things that by all means should be impossible--and that he has powers of his own too. With the help of his new friends, Will must learn to master his powers...and unlock the secrets of the Paladin Prophecy.
The Review: When I heard of the title for this book, I was instantly intrigued. The word Paladin just evokes such grand visions in us, of dazzling knights and an age long gone. And the word Prophecy--a word that always appears in the best high fantasy stories, suggesting valiant heroes and dastardly villains. When you put the two together--never mind the meaning of them, even the way they sound is brilliant, not to mention the beautiful cover for this book. So you can imagine my disappointment when I read the synopsis for The Paladin Prophecy and realised it was an urban fantasy set in modern times. That alone is not a bad thing, but the idea of a new high fantasy seemed so appealing to me, it was hard to accept that The Paladin Prophecy was something different.
The first thing that readers will notice when they pick up The Paladin Prophecy is that the thing is HUGE. The book clocks in 549 pages, and is only the first in a series. Now, a question that must inevitably be asked with big books like these is: were those pages used well or not? I hate to say this, but, for a book that's nearly 550 pages, The Paladin Prophecy could have had a bit more substance in it. The story simply wasn't deep enough to merit a volume like this.
The plot was simple, but vivid, clear, and clever. Mark Frost, the scriptwriter for the television series Twin Peaks, knows what readers want. Most of the plot is a huge buildup the climax, which I thought could have been a little bigger, but I digress. It's clear that the entire book is only a prelude to something bigger, though there is enough mystery to fill the pages. Some parts of the book drag a bit, though, and it's clear that the book could have been shorter.
The characters are where I'd say the story really shines, regardless of the book's length. Even though Will possesses awesome superpowers, he begins the book like a normal kid, and you know what they say about first impressions--Will is someone that readers can really relate to. The surrounding characters each had their own little quirks, which made for an interesting reading experience. Even the bullies don't feel stereotypical, like they do in some other books. The best part of it all was the way all the main characters worked together to discover secrets and solve the problem. It was really heartwarming to see them all bond together.
The Paladin Prophecy is a book that is sure to entice action-movie lovers, though you do have to give it a little while to get off the ground. Reluctant readers will be hooked and will devour Will's tale. Mark Frost has crafted a great tale of friendship and conflict that has landed him a spot on my Authors-to-Watch list. Now, Mr. Frost, please tell me you write quickly and bring on Book 2, Alliance, soon.
Memorable Quote: Running for your life is a hell of a motivator.
The last book I reviewed was a YA novel by a writer who was established in the adult market, and I swore that I'd start reading author bios before picking up books because I had gotten to the point where I could spot within the first few pages of the book an author whose bio includes the words "this is his/her first YA novel." I have gotten so tired of adult-market authors jumping on the teen bandwagon and pumping out books that don't read like teen novels, that are awkward or too adult or dumbed down or whatever.
But this. This book. I had never heard of Mark Frost, and when I started reading The Paladin Prophecy and was SO blown away, I looked him up. Established best-seller in the adult market. No way! I had to eat my words.
The Paladin Prophecy has everything that makes a novel awesome imho. Great writing. Vivid settings. Real, fully-fleshed characters. And a strong, distinct voice. And in this case, because it's for teens, it hits the mark square on all the things that make a teen book, well, teen. It's smartly written, but not adultly written (yes, I made that word up). It's complex and rich and full of adventure and there's just the right amount of cheese in just the right moments.
Oh, and it's not a romance, much less a paranormal romance (yay!), and the concept and plot are original. And the MC is a boy, which is something the teen market needs more of.
I could probably pull out a microscope and extract a few things if I wanted to pick flaws. But it'd take some work. I could not put this book down.
Adult fiction writers--READ THIS before you try to write for teens, please. This is the example to follow if you insist on jumping on the teen fiction bandwagon.
on March 4, 2013
I was truly swept away by this story from the moment I started reading it. The way it sets the pace from the moment you start reading, and just takes off from there is just awesome! I would recommend this book highly to anyone who wants to get immersed in a great thrill of a ride in a fantasy novel.
on November 15, 2013
I just want to start by saying that... FIVE STARS ARE NOT ENOUGH!!! (and sorry about spelling). Seriously, I want to give this book and this author like a billion stars 'cause that's what he REALLY deserves. Right now I'm just going to sum up this book (the hardest thing possible to ask of a avid book lover) and if you like lengthy reviews like I do then you can read on after I finish the summary. WARNING may contain spoilers and lots of words.
The book centers on a boy named Will West who is quiet talented and not in the ordinary 102 IQ way. He is mega smart, like rocketing off the charts, ungraphable kind of smart and very, very fast. Faster than a dog fast like run all the way from California to Canada without breaking a sweat fast. Despite all of this Will's parents are very protective of him and have even come up with a set of rules for him which are constantly referred to throughout the book which I thought a nice touch. The BIGGEST rule though? Never under any circumstance show anyone how talented you are, Will is to remain in the middle of the pack in everything and I mean EVERYTHING. When one day Will decides to see just how good he is, the results are... unpredicatable to say the least. He is invited to a private school to live and learn, a special school for special kids. On that same day he and his family (mom and dad) are attacked by a group of people whom he dubs 'The Caps'. He is then sent on the run away from his home with his family in danger and no other place to go to, but the Center, the school that was trying to enroll him in the first place. There he makes a small group of amazing friends, foils the evil plans of a group of devious students called the Knights of Charlemagne and learns more about his super enhanced abilities and where he came from. That ends this summary, but as I said I like long summaries so I'll start with my likes and dislikes list below.
- I enjoyed the pacing of the book, I feel that it was the perfect pace slowing down at important parts and speeding up at less important parts, but I never felt like the author was flying over the material so fast that he forgot a lot important information or was spending too much time in one place.
- I like the overall atmosphere of the book. It had a dark feeling in it at times, but not so dark to make it a horror book. I have always hated books that I read about and think are just going to be big adventures and they turn out to be dark horrifying horror stories that just repeat that there is nothing good left and that everything is useless and futile. Not only are those books depressing... their super scary which is probably the point. There were a few spots that were scary and dark and there was a suspicious and suspenseful air about whole book, but I never felt so depressed that I just couldn't continue reading or that everything was futile.
-I loved how Mr. Frost would paint the setting and allow you enough detail to get the place in your head, but he never labored over a setting for too long which I really appreciated. I hate it when the setting is so meticulously labored over that it ruins that stories and causes the characters to be skimped on.
- The plotline was also enticing. Some people would shy away from the book after reading the synopsis and thinking that the plotline sounded a little childish and overused, but it is refreshingly different from what has been and is being offered on the book market at the moment (though I'm sure that other authors are going to be following after this book's theme for all the money its going to make). Nothing is completely clear until the very end and even when this first book is over you still don't understand or know everything that is going on or what everything really means. Even during the story I would find myself thinking 'well he is the hero so he is going to address the problem this way 'cause that's just what they do', but then mr. Frost would come up with this incredible idea that I didn't see coming or even thought of and it would totally blow me away because it would be WAY better than my idea had been. This story has lots of twists and turns that you never say coming, even at the end I could not predicate in my wildest dreams what happened.
- So far I have talked about the plot and I have talk about the outline of the book (setting, atmosphere, pacing) as William Shakespeare put it only the stage, now I must speak of the characters. And what characters they were. The main characters Will and his friends were all so different and unique, and though there were familiar elements in them that I have found in other characters in other books, they were not the stereotypical people. All had their own surprising skills and little quirks that made them seem real and three demenional. Even the minor characters, like Will's parents who play very small roles in this story those Will constantly refers to his father's rules are very well developed, almost as much so as the main characters themselves. I loved their honesty, integurity, courage, loyalty and supportiveness of each other. They will make a fearsome group to reakon with I reassure you. The best thing was that even though Will was AWESOME at so many things and had a lot of wisdom and ability at his disposal he remained humble and he seemed real. Characters with super enhanced abilities are a dime a dozen nowadays and it can get really boring, really fast when the main character doesn't struggle to get what they need or want. Mr. Frost has done an excellent job of a few of Will West's flaws and proving that he isn't perfect and giving him a bit of hardship that he had a hard time overcoming, though I do hope he will make West struggle a little more in the future books to come before he gets what it is he is after.
That I believe sums up my likes, now on to my dislikes...
Dislikes (real short):
- The story was too short, I didn't want to stop reading
- I ended up staying up all night on a school night because I had to finish reading the book it was so good (I was really tired during school) and got in trouble a couple of times in class for reading the book when the teacher was teaching
- I still don't have the second book to read!!!
That's it! :-)
- Don't read this book with an important project due, you'll end up ignoring the project in favor of the book
- Read during the weekend so you're reading is uninterrupted
- When you begin reading try to fix your schedule so that you don't have to stop reading at anytime
- Be prepared for the way the book is constantly on your mind when you have to stop reading it
- Watch out for 'The Caps' ;-)
Thanks for reading.