I never could resist a good adventure story.
Carter Roy has thrown his hat into the ring of adolescent male adventure books, and it looks like he’s a major contender. Like Percy Jackson, Evelyn Ronan Truelove (he is a guy, I swear) is thrown into a supernatural situation almost right off the bat. Also like Percy Jackson, Ronan (as he wishes to be called) has family ties that lead him into danger.
In some ways, this series is a lot like other middle-grade adventure books, complete with a surprise twist. But in other ways, it is far superior. While Riordan, author of Percy Jackson, exposed a fanatic interest in mythology, Roy exposes an interest in quantum physics and philosophy. This is what catapults the books from engaging to must-reads for the younger crowd.
Blood Guard sets things up nicely. It exposes the underlying philosophy. There are thirty six Pure souls in the world, and the job of the Blood Guard is to ensure their safety, that they might never know how many people belonging to the organization the Bend Sinister want them dead. They are meant to live simple lives of grace and happiness, while others (some with supernatural powers) risk their lives and sacrifice all to ensure this happens. Carter Roy knows his audience (he was an editor for many years, so it is no surprise that his debut novel is confident and well-paced); seeds are planted and grown.
In The Glass Gauntlet these story seeds begin to sprout. It is here that Carter Roy begins to really show off his originality in weaving these different elements together. After the madcap adventures of the first book, the three main kid characters are sent to a ghost town in order to begin training to be one of the Blood Guards. If it reads like they’re in a holding pattern, it’s because they are: the story quickly moves them to a weird competition. The story devolves into spoiler territory from there, but I will say that Glass Gauntlet does not suffer either sophomore book syndrome or middle book in a trilogy syndrome.
Speaking of it being part of a trilogy, I only just found that out, and I am both surprised and disappointed. It feels like there is so much story possibility here – how can I be absolutely certain that Ronan, Greta, and Sammy will be safe if their (complex) story ends after a paltry three books? I can’t, that’s how. I need more Ronan Truelove books, Carter Roy!
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