Review of Paladin by Sally Slater

See full issue for 2015 10-26

The Rundown

Samantha—call her Sam—the 16-year-old only child of the Duke of Haywood, is angry. Her father and mother are forcing her into marriage. After fighting with her parents, she storms out of the castle and into the familiar woods beyond. Her beloved mother, Tsalene, follows her into the woods, reassuring Sam that all will be well, that Sam isn’t so odd for enjoying sword fighting, or for being good at it. Sam’s own aunt is a professional soldier after all.

But then, suddenly, a dark fog rolls into the forest, and with the fog, the growls of a demon. “Run!” her mother screams at her, and Sam does, but her mother isn’t fast enough. Sam holds her mother as she dies. Lifting a stick, Sam faces off with the demon, until a man appears, sword drawn, and severs its head. Paladin Tristan Lyons, a demon slayer, has saved Sam’s life.

The Duke of Haywood mourns the loss of his beloved wife, and forgets about his daughter. For two years he fails to notice his daughter, so Sam perfects her sword skills, her archery, and when she turns eighteen, she cuts her hair short, and sneaks from the castle dressed in men’s clothing. She heads to Heartwine, the capital of the kindgom, to the fortress of Paladins, where she will become a Paladin trainee.

Sam and another trainee misfit, Braeden, are assigned to an unlikely Paladin. The three are given a top-secret mission by the Paladin High Commander that sends them across the kingdom, where they discover secrets that no one—no humans anyways, were supposed to uncover. They find their lives in danger, they find unexpected allies, they find friendship, forgiveness, and perhaps even love.

The Recommendation

Paladin is an outstanding fantasy novel of the swords/high fantasy sub-genre, fit for YA or adult audiences. The book can stand alone, but it also sets up a world for more adventures, and I hope the author provides them. This is a fantastic book that shows what great promise there is in independent publishing. You can’t go wrong with Paladin.

The Rating Selected as a Top Pick!

Top Pick! 5 Stars (out of five): Freaking amazing. Any agent or publishing house that passed this one up made a big mistake. It was selected by our reviewer as a personal favorite. This is also a nomination for our Novel of the Year award.

The Pros & Cons

Pros: Page Turner, Strong World-Building

The Links

More about Paladin on UBR

The Reviewer

Katie Rose Guest Pryal

Visit Katie Rose Guest Pryal‘s website.

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