Mini Review Mash-Up -- The Blood Guard & The Glass Gauntlet

The Blood Guard | Roy Carter
Release Date: March 4, 2014 | Two Lions
Genre(s): Middle Grade, Fantasy
Pages: 279
Edition: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Rating:



When thirteen-year-old Ronan Truelove's seemingly ordinary mom snatches him from school, then sets off on a high speed car chase, Ronan is shocked. His quiet, nerdy dad has been kidnapped? And the kidnappers are after him, too? His mom, he quickly learns, is anything but ordinary. In fact, she's a member of an ancient order of knights, the Blood Guard, a sword-wielding secret society sworn to protect the Pure—thirty-six noble souls whose safety is crucial if the world as we know it is to survive. Now all those after-school activities—gymnastics, judo, survival training—she made him take, make sense. For suddenly Ronan is swept up in a sometimes funny, sometimes scary, but always thrilling adventure—dashing from one danger to the next, using his wits to escape the Bend Sinister, a posse of evil doers with strange powers. Falling in with two unlikely companions, Greta, a scrappy, strong-willed girl he's never much liked and Jack, a devil-may-care teenage pickpocket, Ronan is left with only his wits and his mom's last words of advice: Trust no one. That's a lot for an ordinary kid to deal with. But then again, maybe Ronan's not ordinary at all.
I received a review copy courtesy of the author/publisher. This does not affect my opinion or views regarding the book whatsoever.

While composing this review, I couldn't help but to ask myself, " When was the last time I've read middle grade? " Of course my memory is pretty shitty, and I couldn't come up with not one recent title off the top of my head, so I hopped over to goodreads to check my trusty " Read " shelf. Well, the answer to this question is still I DON'T FREAKING KNOW, (LOL) but I'm very pleased to say that The Blood Guard was a pretty decent reunion back into the genre. 

What I Liked
Lighting Speed -- This plot was so fast paced and I loved it! The author wasted no time putting things into play, and from the first chapter we witness wild chases, sword fights . . . everything you would expect from a middle grade fantasy!

Lighthearted Goodness -- Another aspect that made this story a pleasure to read was the lighthearted humor of the characters. Ronan was such a sarcastic little cutie, and our secondary characters Greta and Jack Dawkins, kept him on his toes and added their own wit to the story. Greta was definitely the voice of reason of the crew, I mean the girl was literally Hermoine's little sister, and Dawkins was someone's too-cool-for-school uncle who couldn't be killed! Oh and let's not forget Sammy who was most def the " Ron " of the group.

Round One . . . FIGHT! -- If you guys know me, then you know I love a great battle scene! I'm all for guts and gore being spilled, and even though this MG novel didn't take it THAT far, I was still given some pretty awesome battles! Ronan proved to be alot braver than most, (he reminded me alot of Harry's younger self) and even though he was thrown into a war he wasn't prepared for, I thought he handled it pretty well!

What I Disliked
Can I Get A Little More? -- Although I enjoyed the plot for the most part, while reading I kept feeling as if something was missing. There were enough twists and fights to keep me entertained, but it definitely left much to be desired. I can't put my finger on it though . . .

The Obvious -- Going into this, I knew that I would have a SLIGHT problem with the characters. They're super young, 13 to my 26, so decisions, actions, etc, that was displayed felt a little immature to me . . . as it should! This is completely a personal issue, and it isn't a major one at all. I was annoyed at times, the same way my three year old plucks my nerves ya know?




Release Date: August 18, 2015 | Two Lions
Genre(s): Middle Grade, Fantasy
Pages: 272
Edition: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Rating:  


Ronan Truelove barely survived his first encounter with his father and the Bend Sinister. Now, he’s determined to become one of the Blood Guard, a sword-wielding secret society sworn to protect thirty-six pure souls crucial to the world’s survival.

Eager to prove he’s got what it takes, Ronan is sent on his first mission with his friends Greta and Sammy to visit a weird-sounding school and take a series of tests called the Glass Gauntlet. Paper and pencils and nerdy scholarship—where’s the life-or-death challenge in that?

But the Glass Gauntlet is actually something much more dangerous: head-to-head competitions against ruthless opponents. Nothing and no one are what they seem. Who can he trust, and who will kill him? Ronan has to figure it out fast because his enemies are multiplying, and soon he will have to pass the ultimate test: facing his father again and standing up to those who threaten not only him and his friends but also the world.

Everything that I enjoyed about the first novel was amplified, and all my dislikes improved tremendously in the sequel! The pacing was just as fast, the characters as humorous and witty as they can be, and the battle scenes and plot twists that I love so much were done exceptionally well! The Glass Gauntlet definitely didn't suffer from the " sequel blues " allowing it to be a complete step up from it's predecessor!


What I Liked
Did Somebody Say Academy?-- Yes you heard correctly! AH-CA-DA-ME! Whenever I hear the word " Academy " or " Boarding school " I jump right on it! I absolutely loved the setting, but I'm definitely on the fence with how much it reminded me of Harry Potter. (a good and bad thing) I found myself more intrigued by the story once they entered the academy and begun the tests of the Glass Gauntlet, especially when the competition started, and things got dangerous for Ronan and the gang.


What I Disliked
Inspiration or Carbon Copy? -- I noticed the similarities in the last book, but they were definitely more evident this time around. I've seen plenty of readers mention that they felt this book was heavily themed around the Harry Potter and Percy Jackson series, and I must say I agree. I thought some scenes and even concepts MIRRORED both popular series a little too much for my liking. It think it's okay to be inspired of course, but as a reader, I want original work, crafted to stand out from the rest!

All in all, I truly enjoyed both books. Ronan is a character I will continue to root for, the secondary characters kept the dialogue light and funny, and all of the plot twists and battle scenes, turned this series into such a entertaining ride. Both The Blood Guard and The Glass Gauntlet has kick started my new craving for middle grade, and I can't wait to dive into another adventure!