Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Let's Hear It For The Boys - The Paladin Prophecy by Mark Frost

Published: September 25th, 2012
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Pages: 560
Copy: Courtesy of publisher and Netgalley
Summary: Goodreads

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.

The action in The Paladin Prophecy starts right at the beginning of the book and keeps going right up to the end. It was so much fun to read.  This is an adventure with a difference.   A little bit of creepy government interference with the 'black caps',  a little bit of boarding school shenanigans and a bit of nasty, biting creatures from another dimension, the whole thing wraps up into an exciting adventure that never slows down.

Will has obviously got some kind of secret in his background, and as the story progresses you realize that Will's dad has been teaching him the 'rules' for a good reason, but personally I loved those rules. They were fascinating - many of them could be used by us to great advantage -

#60  If you don't like the answer you get, you shouldn't have asked the question.

#65  The dumbest person in the room is the first person to tell you how smart he is.

#27  Sometimes the only way to deal with a bully it to hit first.  Hard.

#98  Don't watch your life like it's a movie that's happening to someone else.  It's happening right now.

#86  Never be nervous when talking to a beautiful girl.  Just pretend she's a person too.

and my favourite #97  Regarding eyewear and underwear.  Always travel with backups!

Will is resourceful and sensible, without being too unreal and it's easy to sympathize with him and his situation.  There are also a host of likeable secondary characters - the kids in his dorm, or 'pod', Nick, a non-Californian surfer dude type with wicked gymnastics skills; Ajay, short, skinny, Indian and with a photographic memory; Elise, gorgeous and smart with a tendency to get into Will's head; and Brooke, kind, generous and forthright.  And let's not forget Nando - think Cheech Marin in a cab trying to spy on the FBI and you'll get the picture.  The dialogue between Will, Nick and Ajay is incredibly witty and I laughed out loud several times, and this manages to defuse tense situations really well.

With lots of amazing gadgets at the school there is a slightly futuristic feel that made it fun to read, and I was reminded just a little of Department 19 and Alienation, both of which I loved.  All in all, an exciting adventure that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend even though it is almost 600 pages.  A gread read and I really look forward to the sequel, whenever that may be.

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