Sentinel by Joshua Winning
Published 2013, Peridot Press
Thanks to the author Joshua Winning for providing a review copy of this book one after I was approved on Netgalley for book two, without realizing it was a book two!
So, we all know that YA is chock full of "something happens, teenager learns they don't know their world, find out they're special, etc" type books. And yes, this is one of them. It's a trope that will be hard for the book universe to ever shake, because young adults love that potential destiny feeling, that maybe one day it could happen to them. It's a fun and easy way to tempt them to read, and as an adult reader, you can either accept it, or you can whine about it. Me? I'll accept it. I'm a grown man with boring job, and a relatively unexciting life, so I'm all for getting my fun and adventure where I can find it.
That being said, this book has a pretty interesting new idea. It's no JK Rowling, but honestly, who's going to be able to reproduce that? It is, however, a really fun concept. There's a secret world, hidden under the thin surface of reality, in which Sentinels guard the world from dark forces... but the dark forces have been quiet for so long that the Sentinels got a little complacent, and while the darkness was quiet, it wasn't gone -- it was slowly seeping its way through the barriers between worlds, scheming, and plotting. And now it's time for those plots to come to fruition...
I think my biggest problem with this book was the insanely slow pace. Don't get me wrong, there's action -- and it's often -- but the plot itself doesn't move forward all that much in this book. It suffers from "Setup Syndrome," in which the author has such a big concept to push that the framework takes a while to assemble. But, the world-building was done well, so it wasn't a huge problem or anything that made me enjoy the story any less. I can appreciate a slow burn as long as it's headed somewhere. And if the end of this book says anything, it's definitely headed somewhere. I'll definitely read book two, and if that one picks up the pace, I'll finish the trilogy.