Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Paladin Prophecy by Mark Frost

The Paladin Prophecy is a full on action movie where "Bourne Identity" meets Harry Potter.  I was immediately drawn into the action where Will West hits the ground running literally from mysterious black sedans.  Will has always lived by a book of rules his Dad made for him.  Will never preformed up to his abilities and always stayed below the radar.  He wasn't even able to join the cross-country team until he promised to always finish in the pack.  But as the book starts, Will notices the black sedans watching and following his running route.  After escaping to school, Will is called out of class to be offered a full scholarship to THE CENTER, an ultra exclusive school for the highest of achievers.  Will finds out that he scored off the charts of a regular exam he took in the fall.  Will figures his parents will be angry due to a violation of the rule to never draw attention to himself.  But when he gets home, he finds his Mom has been replaced by Stepford Mom, his mother by looks but who is not acting like herself at all and won't take her sunglasses off.  Will decides to run away and almost gets caught by some really demonstrous bad guys.  He is saved by a guardian of sorts who will not tell him what is going on.
Will struggles to escape the black caps who have captured his Dad and done something to his Mom.  Desperate to get away, he calls Dr. Robbins and accepts the scholarship to the center.  He barely escapes to the center when he is immediately challenged by a fellow student who is essentially the dorm advisor and security.  Will finds himself immediately thrust into a world of over-achievers that are mysterious and trustworthy.  Will finds a "family" of sorts that he learns to trust and even violates rules.  Will belongs with the center but knows that he hasn't really escaped the danger that found him in the Southern California hills.  Soon Will finds a connection that challenges everything he has ever known.  Will must piece together a mystery that could mean keeping the balance between light and dark.  With the help of his friends, Will uncovers the secrets that have been hidden in the world since before the English ever landed in America.
I loved this book and cannot wait for the next one.  This is the start of solid series in the fashion of Harry Potter.  I could totally see this playing out as a movie in the genre of Percy Jackson or HP.  The story hits the ground running and continues to engage the reader in a mysterious identity of Will.  Will West is also the best hero name in a long time!  I do wish there was a little more romance between Will and Brooke--It seemed rushed and an afterthought in the whole picture.  It didn't really need to be there but being the hopeless romantic I am I hope this will develop more in the future books.  The struggle of light and dark reminded me of the darkness that was written into Scott Westerfields' Midnight Hour books.  I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys action filled struggle between good and evil.  This series is poised to burst onto the YA scene and become the next breakout.

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