Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Blood Guard by Carter Roy

The Blood Guard by Carter Roy is the first book in an action-packed middle-grade series.

Ronan Truelove thought he had a pretty normal life. Sure, his mom kept his schedule packed with extracurriculars like fencing and taekwondo, but he figures she just wants him to be well-rounded so he can get into a good college. And yeah, there was that weird fire at his house a year or so ago, the one the authorities ended up calling a freak accident, but that sort of thing could have happened to anyone. But on the day his mom pulls him out of school and drives off, tailed by a couple of aggressive SUVs, everything Ronan thinks he knows about his life starts to change. In the course of that high-speed car chase, Ronan finds out that his mother is a member of an ancient fighting force known as the Blood Guard, who exist to protect 36 pure souls whose existence balances the levels of good and evil in the universe. And Ronan is being trained to follow in her footsteps. As the two evade the mysterious bad guys who are chasing them, Ronan's mom tells him that his father has disappeared, their house is no longer safe, and he must get on a train bound for Washington D.C., where another member of the Blood Guard would meet up with him and keep him safe. Unfortunately, things don't go exactly as planned. Ronan will soon be on the adventure of his life, accompanied by a cheeky teenage pickpocket named Jack, and Greta, a scrappy acquaintance from a previous school. Pursued by strangers who mean them harm, can they get to safety? Is safety even an option for Ronan any more, now that he knows about the Blood Guard?

I found this a great, fast-paced read. In tone, it's very similar to the Percy Jackson series -- the same wry humor in the face of fantastical danger. There were a couple of places where the writing faltered (I had a hard time keeping track of where characters were in the big running-and-fighting scene near the end of the book), but all in all, this was a satisfying, exciting read, and I'll probably read more books in the series when they are available. I'll definitely be recommending this to Percy Jackson fans looking for read-alikes.

(Reviewed from a copy borrowed through my library system.)

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