Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Paladin Prophecy

The Paladin Prophecy

Mark Frost
For ages 13 and up
Random House Books for Young Readers, 2012   ISBN: 978-0375870453

Will West and his parents have always made a point of living quietly. They move often and Will has been taught that he should never show the world how smart he is or how fast he can run. Instead, he has to strive to appear ordinary and uninteresting. Then one day, without warning, everything changes.

   It all begins when a black sedan starts following Will when he is on his morning run. Something about the car makes Will nervous and then Will gets a text from his father that reads “RUN, WILL” and so Will runs. The only thing that saves Will is the arrival of a very scary looking guy on a tricked-out hot rod.

   Will makes it to school where he is hit by another surprise. He is called to the principal’s office where he meets a woman called Dr. Robbins. She tells him that he has scored off the charts in a standardized test that he took and after she does some tests on him she invites him to attend a special exclusive prep school where he will not be “bored to the edge of living death.”

   When they get together with Will’s mother to discuss the test and the school, Will notices immediately that his mother is behaving strangely. She is his mother and yet she isn’t. For some reason she is behaving more like a robot than a human. Back at home, the black sedan full of men in black caps turns up again and Will feels compelled to run. Again. This time he is not followed by the car. Instead, he is followed by creatures that he cannot even see. He can hear them and the sounds they make are frightening enough that Will knows that he has to get away from them. He is almost caught when the hot rod he saw earlier in the day turns up and the driver tells Will to get in. Will has no choice but to do so. The driver says things that make no sense to Will, and soon Will is back home, confused and afraid. He gets a video message from his father that is very disturbing, and when it abruptly ends Will knows that his father is now in the hands of the men who have been chasing him all day. He has no choice but to do what his father told him to do earlier in the day. Will has to run.

   This time Will makes plans. He contacts Dr. Robbins and tells her that he wants to attend the school. In fact, he wants to start right away. Dr. Robbins makes the necessary arrangements and it isn’t long before Will is in cold Wisconsin in a school that is nothing like any school Will has been to.

   Will soon gets to meet the four students who share his “pod.” They each have a room and bathroom and share a great room and kitchen. At first Will is reluctant to tell them anything about what is happening. It is all too weird and his father always impressed on him that it was vital not to share details about his life with anyone. Ajay, Nick, Elise, and Brooke soon show Will that they are on his side, and that they will help him in any way they can.

   Will had hoped that the men with the black caps would not be able to touch him at the school, but it turns out that the school and the men are somehow connected. Whoever is seeking Will out has supporters in the school and Will is still in grave danger.

   In this thrilling and utterly addictive story we meet a boy who finds out that everything he thought he knew about the world was wrong. He never thought that he was particularly special but it would appear that he is not an ordinary fifteen-year-old. Instead he, and his friends, have special abilities that they are going to have to use to save the world from an ancient and deadly enemy.

   Readers who like adventure stories with fantasy elements are going to thoroughly enjoy reading this book.