Original Title: Paladin
Year Published: 2015
Published by: Perfect Analogy Publishing (an arc was kindly provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review)
Number of Pages: 386
First Sentence: “Sam paced anxiously outside the Duke of Haywood’s solar. “
Goodreads Rating: 5/5
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?
This was such an enjoyable book and I absolutely loved it. It did get off to a wobbly start for me, but after the first chapter it just took off and I was absolutely hooked. It was well written and super entertaining.
Sam was a really nice main character. I loved how she was badass without either being a tomboy or too cold-hearted. Instead, she was a young girl knowing what she wanted from life. And yes, she has to pretend to be a boy for a really long time, but it is something that she hates to a certain degree and it isn’t really implied that a woman has to be like a boy to be badass.
Both Tristan and Braeden were really interesting characters. It was interesting to see how they interacted with each other and with Sam. There was a camaraderie that was really enjoyable, and I loved seeing their relationship develop and grow.
The plot was really entertaining and I definitely enjoyed all of it. The world building was really good, not too complicated but not vague enough to create any questions. We get some insight into who the Paladins are and how they are trained. We also learn about the evil forces that try to attack the rest of the world. It was really interesting to see how it all fit together and the plot itself was fun and felt really well paced. It moved forward naturally but with some unexpected twists and turns.
Do I recommend it?
Yes, I really do.