Jeremy Austin and the Paladin is the continuing story of the TerraGen kids and their quest to find their parents. In the last book, Jeremy, Patrick, Alex, Selene, Marissa, and Leo had discovered that TerraGen’s mission was not all that it seemed. The company claimed to have sent the children’s parents off to some island location in the middle of nowhere, but in fact had sent them to a completely new world millions of light-years away. Upon finding this out, the kids set off through the portal that led to this new world along with a group of hired guns to protect them. Along the way, the six kids got separated both from each other and from the main expedition, along with the people hired to protect them.
Now, as we join our heroes this time, Alex, Patrick, and Selene are captured by otherworldly creatures known as Gnomes, Leo and Marissa are traveling with an ancient wizard, and Jeremy is fleeing for his life on horseback after fighting off a monstrous Grakken. All in all, things don’t seem to be going very well for the kids from Earth.
After Jeremy manages to fight off the Grakken, he strikes out in a random direction, hoping to meet up with someone who can point him toward his friends or parents. By pure chance, he is able to meet up with Leo and Marissa. Along with Leo and Marissa, Jeremy is also joined by five new people.
Now that they are all together, they are told by the wizard, Lysander, that he may know where the children’s parents are located. He tells the group to head to Eastfalia, where they will meet with Elves, and quite possibly their parents. Overjoyed, the kids hope that their quest may soon be at an end. Not long after hearing this, though, Jeremy and the party are attacked by another group of alien Gnomes. Frightened for their lives, the children and their entourage flee the city, but instead of listening to Lysander’s directions, they decide to follow the suggestion of one of the members of their party and head a different way instead.
Meanwhile, Alex, Patrick, and Selene are being taken by the Gnome raiding party to one of their main camps. The three of them are thrown in cells with other humans and are treated as slaves. At first it seems like that would be the only use the Gnomes would have for the prisoners - as slaves - but it soon becomes evident that they serve a much more gruesome purpose. With horror, they realize the Gnomes are eating the humans who become too weak or too tired to work. The kids quickly resolve to plan their escape as soon as possible, but as time goes on, their situation begins to look more and more dire, and it seems unlikely that the chance will ever come for them to get away.
What will become of the TerraGen kids? Will they ever find their parents and get off this alien planet?
Jeremy Austin and the Paladin was quite an intriguing read, and I definitely enjoyed it a lot better than book one. It had a nicely thought-out and well-executed plot. Also, although it was a little hard to follow where everyone was going in the beginning, it did seem to clear up quite a bit later on. I also really enjoyed the extensive use of action throughout the book.
Although I did end up tremendously enjoying it in the end, it did take a while to get there, and I still felt like there were quite a few hiccups. First, there were many instances of questionably written narration. In fact, I found myself wondering if the author had written in pieces of it as notes to himself to be taken out later. Just one example would be, “Suddenly the stillness was shattered – well, shattered is a bit overkill – the silence was broken by the soft hum of a quantum drive coming online.” Secondly, I found it really hard to picture some of the people and creatures scattered throughout the book. This was made especially hard for one character where it seemed the author couldn’t decide between Trayvor and Traynor for a name; this was evident because he would occasionally swap back and forth between both names for the same person. Finally, the book seemed to restate itself occasionally, albeit very rarely. This is shown in a conversation between two characters where one of them states, “You’ve known the Paladin a long time” before continuing talking. About four chapters later, in a different conversation between the same two people, the same character says, “Have you known the Paladin long?” All in all, I think the plot and action were enough to redeem the book, and I hope to read book three sometime soon.
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