JUST FINISHED: Paladin by Sally Slater.
[Finished at ~2:00am, & 386 pages long.]
Having picked this up on a whim, simply because it was on special offer and looked interesting, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from it – but I’m really glad I took that chance. Paladin follows a young noble girl called Samantha (Sam, to her friends), who’s chafing against her family’s rules and expectations, and when her father gives her a dire ultimatum – she must find a husband before her next birthday, or he will find one for her – she instead decides to run away and follow her dream of joining the Paladins (an organisation of warriors who are trained to kill demons), even if it means disguising her sex, and forsaking her friends and family forever.
I’ve read a lot of fantasy in my time, and this is certainly not the very best I’ve read, but it was incredibly fun. The three main characters – Sam, her Paladin-instructor Tristan, and her fellow trainee Braeden – are all great characters individually, with their own distinctive quirks and narrative voices, and together they make for an incredibly fun, dynamic team – their banter was one of my favourite things about this book. The plot was also very well thought-out, and although I was able to predict quite a few of the major developments quite early on, Slater was still able to surprise me in other places, and to keep me interested in what would happen next.
I only had a couple of small problems with the book. Firstly, the pacing felt a little too quick. The story read as if it only took place over a few weeks, even though we were often reminded that a much longer time had passed between. Secondly, I felt that the world was rather under-developed, and if you know anything about me by now, you’ll know that I think thorough world-building is a must, especially for fantasy novels. That said, there is apparently a sequel in the works, so hopefully these problems will be fixed sometime soon. 🙂
CURRENT READATHON STATUS: Bedtime for sleepy bunnies. I’m setting my alarm for quite early tomorrow, though, so I can get started on book no. 3!