Series: The Paladin Prophecy #2
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers on January 7th 2014
Genres: YA Paranormal Romance, Young Adult
Sexual Content: None
Reviewed by: Megan
Readers of I Am Number Four, The Maze Runner, and Legend will love this sophisticated adventure series by the cocreator of the groundbreaking television show Twin Peaks, with its unique combination of mystery, heart-pounding action, and the supernatural.
After exposing the sinister underground society of students known as the Knights of Charlemagne, Will West stays at the Center over the summer to explore his newly developing physical and mental abilities. Meanwhile, his roommates investigate the Knights' shadowy purpose and discover unsettling information about their own backgrounds. Will and his friends must quickly figure out what's going on and separate friend from foe as they prepare for the coming fight.
While the first book in the series, THE PALADIN PROPHECY, is set up as a thriller, Mark Frost’s ALLIANCE showcases all the best attributes of an old-fashioned quest. If you like young adult, adventure, conspiracies, and stories about slightly sinister boarding schools for children with ‘special’ talents, then you’re going to enjoy ALLIANCE.
Now that Will, Elise, Ajay, Nick, and Brooke are aware of what they can do, they start to stretch their muscles, and apply their supernatural skills to finding a key that will get them some answers from the locker room attendant, Jolly Nepsted – who actually lived through the events that set everything in motion. This key-in-exchange-for-answers seemed like an obvious plot device at first, but Frost turned it around toward the end, demonstrating that there was an actual foundation for Nepsted’s reluctance to share his knowledge with the group of bright-eyed kids just offering to help.
However Frost got them there, the quest is the brightest part of the novel. As in any good conspiracy story, there are a ton of unanswered questions; Will and Co.’s adventure deep, deep, under the island near their school sheds a little light, though some aspects of the greater fight are lost in the detail. Frost does a wonderful job describing what they find down in the bowels of the earth in both its scale and spookiness, and it’s fun to watch the kids exercise their abilities as they navigate what might just be the lost city of an ancient race. They find more than a key in the mysterious underground hospital, and it’s both horrific and fascinating at the same time – not quite a surprise, but creepy nonetheless.
Will does a nice job of recapping most of the events of THE PALADIN PROPHECY in the first chapter of ALLIANCE, but reading the first book provides some context for the relationships among the characters which develop extremely fast, partly out of necessity. When you spend a semester communicating telepathically, naturally you’re going to become close. I rolled my eyes at Will’s secret glee when two girls demonstrate interest in him at the same time, but it’s hard to fault him for being a teenage boy. The romance aspect of the book is not subtle, but I did get drawn into the not-quite-a-love-triangle, and felt somewhat smug at its resolution.
The ending of the novel itself is a little abrupt, but I definitely look forward to finding out what happens next.Series Titles:
- The Paladin Prophecy
- Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan
- The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare