The Blood Guard by Carter Roy
Publisher: Two Lions
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery, Fantasy
Length: Full length (279 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 10+
Rating: 4 stars
Review by: Lupine
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.
The Blood Guard is a middle grade fantasy book that is packed with action and comedy. I really enjoyed it and though I usually find middle grade books to be underwhelming, I laughed through the whole thing, and thought it was stupendous.
The main character Ronan reminds me of your average kid, and I thought it was great that the author could get into the character’s head and really make him realistic. I thought the plot was well rounded and the ideas were simple and yet complex at the same time, mostly the concept of the Blood Guard. The Bend Sinister was hysterically funny and I really couldn’t take them seriously because they were just so evil, but it’s perfect for the age group. The over exaggeration really does add character.
I did struggle a little bit with Greta because it seemed like she could do everything and it was a bit difficult to think that a girl her age could drive a motorcycle and pick locks and be skilled in everything. That really didn’t take away much from the plot though and it was nonstop action.
I really appreciated the author’s sense of humor and wit in the writing itself. I think having comic relief brings the story alive because it reminds you that this is a person you’re reading about and they think these silly things. It’s one of the best middle grade books I have read in a long time.