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The Final Paladin (Key of Apollyon) Paperback – November 14, 2017
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The Book starts out in a dark alley in, New York city. Then ends up spending a great deal of time in the Ether. The land of the Fairies. A Topsy-turvy place where nothing is as it seems. Though do to certain name dropping, I suspect the comparisons to Wonderland were done on purpose.
The story is fascinating, the world building intriguing and the characters engaging.
My favorite character is by far Jack. Jack can turn into a gigantic black dog at will. (Note: not a werewolf.) He is also charming and witty and impulsive and short tempered. His background is really mysterious and I would read another volume just to know more about him.
Surprisingly I didn’t hate Peg. I am always cautious of books where men write Female POVs. Sometimes they come across as a little off. But Peg was spot on. She is not a male in a dress, nor is she some weak stereo type.
What I didn’t like: there was very little I didn’t like but one thing I would change is to have Peg's brother Archie in the book at least in the beginning. His death is the catalyst for the whole story. And we never see him alive. It’s isn’t a spoiler to say that, he dies in the first chapter, off screen. And so, I just don’t really care very much that he’s dead.
But that ending . . .
The ending will leave you wanting more and maybe wondering what did I just read?
Akers' vivid descriptions made the imaginative Ether come to life, even though I often got confused by the complex set of rules and allegiances that governed the fairy world. Even minor characters had vibrant personalities, and I was wavering right along with Peg on who could be trusted and who might turn on her. The ending did a great job wrapping up the primary story line but leaving open questions and new goals for future books. Even though I typically prefer books that are more character and relationship based, The Final Paladin was a fun adventure and an enjoyable read!
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book*
The Final Paladin by T. J. Akers is an interesting combination of fantasy elements. The story has fairies, trolls, a man who changes into a dog, a knight, a hag, and many more fantastical creatures. The novel starts out in New York 1870. But then Peg, the heroine, is taken to another world after discovering the death of her brother. The cover and synopsis captured my attention. With a fantasy novel, I expect to meet unique characters in a different setting with conflicts similar but different than ours.
Akers writing is concise and clear. Being a fantasy novel, the writer, in my humble opinion, has to be able to create a world and allow the reader to travel there without being lost in too much description, but the writer doesn't want to give to little description either. Then the reader won't know where they are. Akers describe what the world looks like for the first time through Peg's eyes, which is a great way to not overwhelm the reader but allow me to see it through her perspective.
The characters are realistic and float off the page. I liked meeting Jack, part dog and part human. He is a brave person with an internal conflict. Peg is thrown into a new world and reacts as things come to her. She doesn't know how to behave, but she works hard to understand and follow the procedure. Chim the Hobgoblin was a confusing character, and I didn't know if I should trust him and pray that Peg kills him off.
As for the plot, it is a non-stop moving story. I believe, and I can be wrong here, that Akers always had Peg on the move and in danger for every moment of the story. When I read a story with lots of action, I still like moments for the characters to reflect on the situation, but Akers really doesn't include many of those moments. One thing that really bothered me about the novel was that Sir Godfrey promised to tell Peg more about the Paladins and how her family is involved. I got specks of the story here and there, but no moment where Godfrey would just lay out the history for her. So I don't know if Peg was confused why she was there and what her position from here on out would be, but I wanted to know. I felt like Godfrey kept promising to explain why Peg was there, but he never got around to it. Even when the book ended, I still don't believe I know what a Paladin is.
In conclusion, The Final Paladin wetted my appetite for a fantasy novel with knights and a cast of fantastical characters, but the plot left something to be desired. It was a constant chase with barely no moments of reflection where the history of the Paladins and Peg's role could have been explained better, so I could understand her purpose. The biggest strength was allowing the reader to experience the setting just like Peg does.
I received a complimentary copy of The Final Paladin by T. K. Akers from Love2ReadLove2Write Publishing, LLC, but the opinions stated are all my own.