by Sally Slater
Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for a chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review!
Publish Date: 14th May 2015
Brash, cocky, and unbeatable with a sword (well, almost), Sam of Haywood is the most promising Paladin trainee in the kingdom of Thule… and knows it. The only problem is that Sam is really Lady Samantha, daughter of the seventeenth Duke of Haywood, and if her father has his way, she’ll be marrying a Paladin, not becoming one.
But Sam has never held much interest in playing damsel-in-distress, and so she rescues herself from a lifetime of boredom and matrimonial drudgery. Disguised as a boy, Sam leaves home behind to fight demons-—the most dangerous monsters in Thule—-alongside the kingdom’s elite warriors. Pity that Tristan Lyons, the Paladin assigned to train her, is none other than the hero of her childhood. He hasn’t recognized her–yet–but if he does, he’ll take away her sword and send her packing.
Sam is not the only trainee hiding secrets: Braeden is a half-demon with a dark past that might be unforgivable. Whether he can be trusted is anyone’s guess, including his.
As demons wreak havoc across the land, rebellion stirs in the West, led by a rival faction of warriors.
A war between men is coming, and Sam must pick a side. Will saving the kingdom cost her life–or just her heart?
Ok I have to admit, to start with this reminded me of Defy crossed with Summoner: Novice (I don’t know why, possibly because that was the last demon book I read) but that was bad. Very very bad. I really didn’t get on with Defy and I thought I was going to give up on this one, but I’m so happy I didn’t! What put me off I think was the comments about her being a woman and weak, but far from it being all over and an obsession mentioned every 5 minutes, it seemed as though it was covered as part of the world truth.
There was a tiny hint of a love triangle that was something I ignored. It was more the hint of a possibility rather than an actual love interest which was good. And I’ll tell you what was even better, which is a SEMI SPOILER ALERT: At the end SHE GOES WITH HIM! No separation for book two! I’m so happy and excited it’s ridiculous.
There were a few things that I thought were perhaps missing, making the plot a little less complex which made me feel it was more a teen book, but at the same time I think it’s meant to be a YA and they may have perhaps been missing by accident. I believe this is Sally Slaters’ first novel and that people should always be given some slack the first time they do stuff.
There was no hint how much time had passed at the start, it seemed as though it was week or months at most but it was in fact years and I thought that there would have been a sort of qualifying process before they were assigned to their trainers, unless it was mentioned in a line or two and I missed it.
I liked how frank Sam was and that she was quite focused on what she wanted. I wasn’t too fond of Tristan but I think that was just how we saw him. My favourite is certainly Braeden. A wounded underdog type, with silver hair whose kind when he almost shouldn’t be? I like these types.
I hope we get to see him lots in the next book…which at the moment is being written and no publish date is in sight.