Okay, so I'm here today, climbing out of my blog hiatus, to share an amazing book recommendation with you.
PALADIN: PAWN by Michael Young is a great, fast read for middle grade and lower YA readers. I enjoyed reading about Rich (Heinrich) and his struggle to make the right choices as he tries to figure out the pieces to a puzzle he can't even see.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's find out about PALADIN: PAWN first.
When nerdy Rich Witz unwittingly becomes a Paladin, a white knight, in training, he is thrust into a world where flunking a test can change the course of history and a mysterious bully is playing for keeps with his life.
Rich’s grandmother leaves him with one thing before disappearing for good: a white chess pawn with his initials engraved on it. The pawn marks him as the next in an ancient line of white knights. He must prove himself in a life or death contest against his Nemesis, a dark knight in training, all while dealing with math homework and English projects. With the ghost of an ancestor for his guide, he has seven days to complete four tasks of valor before his Nemesis does, or join his guide in the realm of the dead.
As Rich rushes to complete the tasks, he realizes the chilling truth: his Nemesis is masquerading as someone at school and will stop at nothing to make him fail. As the tasks grow ever harder, the other knights reveal to him that his failure will break a centuries-old chain and bring the Paladin order to ruin. If he fails, the dark knights win the right to control the fate of the world, a world without hope or the possibility of a new dawn. So this is one exam Rich has to ace, with no curve and no extra credit.
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As I said, I liked the main character, Rich. He gets picked on at school, and generally doesn't have a lot going for him. This might seem like something you see in a lot of books, but here, Michael uses it to advance the plot. The fact that Rich knows what it's like on the other side of bullying helps him in his tasks.
I also liked that the tasks Rich had to complete weren't overt acts of kindness or bravery. When he tries doing those, he fails. It's the ordinary things that earn him the pieces of his medallion. I won't give too much away, but the things the make Rich grow and change aren't exactly what he thought they would be.
And I like that in a book.
I hope you'll pick up PALADIN: PAWN and give it a read. I can't wait for the next one!
What have you been reading lately? I'll admit that I haven't been doing much reading at all. I've been settling into the school year (which has been crazy!), and watching a lot of reality TV, and just living. I'm still writing, and I'm sure publishing will be in my future, but I'm finding the balance of it all.