SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Ages 10 and up
In the peaceful realm of Tequende, all second-born children at the age of fifteen must journey to the Alcazar to fulfill the mandate of the Oath of Guilds. There they train to earn a place among the queen's legendary Second Guard, or work as indentured servants.
Talimendra has always wanted to join the Guard, but there are dark rumors in the queendom that she may not be ready for. Rumors that whisper of greed, traitors, and war.
There is very little time and too many unanswered questions, but one thing is for certain: if there is a traitor among the Second Guard, then everyone-including the queen-is in grave danger.
While I wasn't smitten with this book, I think this is the beginning of a series that's one to watch.
In Second Guard, Tali goes to Alcazar to fulfill her obligation to become a pledge and hopefully become part of the Queen's Second Guard. The training is hard and brutal but she is able to bear it thanks to her friends. However, all is not well in their peaceful kingdom and Tali and her friends may find themselves at the heart of something quite sinister.
The best comparison I can give of this story to others already on the market is that it's a Mayan version of Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley living in a world and story imagined and written by Tamora Pierce. There's no magic here, though, and Tali is the focus of the story, not the other boys.
I'm a fan of Tamora Pierce's Protector of the Small and Song of the Lioness series so I quite liked this. There's a lot of training scenes and an epic battle, which is right up my alley.
Tali is a tough girl in her own right, although she can be impulsive and emotional, which doesn't always serve her well. I also liked her two friends Chey and Zarif. I wasn't too fond of Brindl, though.
As far as plot twists go, a few of the more important ones were a surprise, although there were also a number which I was able to guess easily. Mostly it's because I was able to see immediately which pairings appeared to be endgame, which meant that I took certain things with a grain of salt. Of course, as with the Protector of the Small series, there's not much in the way of romance here, just a few moments here and there.
I am curious to see what happens in the next book. If the plot twists are more unpredictable than the ones in this book, then this could be the next big series.
Thanks to NetGalley and Disney-Hyperion for the e-ARC.
- The battle scenes are epic.
- Their culture is interesting.
- Tali can hold her own in training and in battle.
- Some of the plot twists are easy to predict.
READ IT IF:
- You like Tamora Pierce's books.
- You like heroines who can fight.
- You like love interests who are warriors.