The Paladin – J.M. Storin
*Warning – may contain spoilers*
Author: J.M. Storin
Publisher: Jessica Storin
First published: 2016
Blurb: Briana Mathias is a Hunter, or at least she used to be, and she carries a secret – a powerful, one-of-a-kind stone that makes her invincible.
After a ruthless and sinister Empire discovers her secret, they steal the stone away from her. In the wrong hands, this stone could be the demise of the world as she knows it and the rise of a much darker future.
Briana will stop at nothing to get back what belongs to her, and along the way she will meet friends, enemies, and discover a truth she never knew existed.
History of my copy: I’ve been following Jessie on Instagram for a few months now, at least, and I soon discovered that she was releasing her first book, The Paladin, at the beginning of April. After realising that she had a link to the first chapter in her bio (available here - go take a look!), I just had to check it out! And I loved it! I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the book. I had to wait a little while though, due to a card problem, but I eventually got it and am so glad I did!
I was pleasantly surprised by just how unique this book feels. From the characters through to the plot, everything felt different and fresh. Yes, it’s a fantasy book, and you can identify similarities here and there, as with every book, but I really love the idea of all the individual tribes having a genetic advantage to their respective ‘powers’.
Plot: The reader follows Briana, the black sheep in the Healer tribe after her own tribe, the Hunters, was destroyed by the Empire years ago. Another thing that makes Briana unique is her possession of the Perennial Stone, which makes the wearer invincible. She journeys across her land, through unknown areas as she approaches the home of the Reaper tribe and the Empire to retrieve what is rightfully hers. Throughout her travels, she meets a variety of people and creatures, both friends and foes from the Illuminator Caellum to the tree-like tribe, the Forblings.
Setting: One thing I particularly love about this book is its setting. I love the forest – it gives that fairy-tale feel whilst also having that essence of mystery and unexpected obstacles. Storin has a real talent at keeping the setting and plot interesting and page-turning, descriptive without waffling on. I really love her style of writing!
Characters: Briana has instantly made her way to my list of favourite protagonists of all time. She feels so human! She is talented as a Hunter, speedy and agile, and powerful when it came to trying Caellum’s electricity power but, at the same time, you can see her flaws, especially when it comes to protecting those she cares about. I also love the fact that, although she’s alone and completely out of place in the Healer tribe, she doesn’t go on and on about it, or complain about it like many characters in her position would do; she just seems to accept it and get on with her life!
Another main character is Caellum from the Illuminator tribe, which has also been destroyed. We don’t learn much about him in The Paladin, but he is a good, trustworthy friend who compliments and contrasts Briana well. Also, where is Viessa?? I can’t wait for them to find her; she was such a funny character!
Yet another character I’m particularly intrigued by is Draegan and the Reapers. Whilst we see a lot of the Reapers, we don’t hear much about Draegan as he is a mystery even to those who live in the world in The Paladin. I imagine that we will hear much more about him and his rise to power in the next book.
To read or not to read: Read. This is one of my favourite books I’ve read this year and I have nothing but hope for the sequel; I need it now! Plus, I desperately want to know what happens to that person Briana finds in the dungeon of Draegan’s castle. I also predict an epic battle may be coming up! So, if you want to know what it is I’m so in love with and hyped about, go check the book out!
One thing I would love to see in the next book is either a map of the forest (I’m obsessed with maps in books okay) or even an overview of all the different tribes and their powers!