In this astonishing second installment to the Paladin Prophecy series Will and his friends and back trying to stop the Knights and learn more about the mysterious tunnels beneath school grounds. But their search takes them somewhere dangerous and their enemies are somehow always one step ahead of them. Will must do everything he can to keep himself and his friends safe, even if that means working with the Other Team.
I give this book 4.5 stars (out of five). I’ll be honest I’m mainly giving this score to show that this book wasn’t quite as good as the other two in this trilogy and also because I’m still mad about one of the plot twists. I have come to terms with what it means for the story, characters and how the rest of the story goes but that doesn’t mean I can’t still be annoyed that I didn’t see it coming. Despite that, this book was really good and I liked the way it progressed the plot and told more of the story. Now, I’ll get into what happens and afterwards you can read all my thoughts and comments about Alliance so you can decide whether or not you want to read it, or if you agree or disagree with my opinions.
Here is my simplified summary of the plot, there will be spoiler warnings but I don’t suggest reading this if you haven’t already read the first book in this series or have prior knowledge of the characters and story. This plot summary also slightly combines feedback and plot information into one.
This book has a great opening as it starts with the line; “Lyle Ogilvy had trouble staying dead.” which is bad for all the main characters considering the events of the last book. This opening skips ahead in time from the previous ending and makes it clear by having that be the title of the first chapter.
It starts in March while the last book ended a few months before, this is a very good strategy since the readers are able to see Will, how he’s been living in the time that we didn’t see and how he’s processing his grief for his parents. Will has that final moment of grief with his mentor or source of guidance Coach Jericho and then he’s right back to his own self and working on a way to fight back against the Knights. I thought this was a very good way to show this, because you can see Will’s grief and how long it took him to work through it but you also don’t have to read twenty chapters of the main character being sad.
Will starts reviewing everything he knows about the Knights and their capabilities while also doing a run through of everything he and his friends can do. Will identifies that Nepsted could be a very valuable source of information because he sees and knows a lot, so they go to talk to him. Nepsted is someone who works in the locker rooms and gets all the students equipment and supplies they need.
However, he isn’t too eager to help and at first the only thing he tells them is to stop and leave. But eventually he gives them some cryptic instructions; go back into the tunnels, find The Old Chapel and the hospital then find and bring him his key. He said if they found his key he would tell them more about himself and the Knights. They take what they can get and start planning how they can accomplish that.
In order to stay at the Center over the summer they all need to get jobs in that area which isn’t too hard for most of them besides Brooke. Will manages to perfectly time a ‘random’ meeting with Haxley (the rich man who owns the island on campus called the Crag), and he manages to get an interview and later even a job. His job is to sort through many, many boxes of information on the history of the island and the school and organize them. But while he’s there he can tell that everything doesn’t seem right.
After working on the plan for a while longer Will, Nick, Elise, Ajay and Brooke finally put their plan into action. Their plan is for everyone to sneak onto the island and then enter the tunnels through there. Once they all get there they should continue exploring the tunnels and look for anything that resembles what Nepsted told them about, their main goal is to find his key so they can learn more about the history of the Knights.
When they get into the tunnels they start exploring the part they hadn’t seen before. Around this time Will starts getting weird almost telepathic intuition, he knows what will be around the corner before he rounds it and he just knows that certain seemingly random things will work. With Will’s help they find something very unexpected, a big door closed shut and with some weird writing on it. The door said “CAHOKIA” and “TEOTWAWKI.”
Will gets another odd picture message in his head and leads the others back to a secret lock hidden in the wall. Will turns to Elise, who uses her ability of manipulating sound to break the lock system. The doors open and they decide to go and see what’s on the other side.
They keep walking and eventually find something more astonishing than just a door and a few statues. They found an abandoned ancient city called CAHOKIA with walls surrounding it on all sides and stairs leading down towards it. Upon closer investigation they can see that it is empty of life, they also gather even more evidence that this was not made by or for humans.
As they explore the city they find something that looks like a church and decide to go there to follow Nepsted’s instructions. In the church there was a mysterious platform and when all five of them stood on it it lowered down and took them to a lower level of the church, this part was filled with bones and skeletons none of which looked even remotely human. But they aren’t aliens they are what came before humans. As they get lower into the ground Will suddenly hears Dave’s voice for the first time since he got pulled into the Never-Was and he’s just as funny and sarcastic as ever.
[Spoiler warning for the rest of the summary, skip to the My Comments and Thoughts section to avoid them.]
After getting to the lower level they leave the church and find the hospital. When they go to investigate it they find things they’d probably rather not have seen. Oddly human looking papers and medical supplies, lots of confusing technology and even creatures locked in tubes that don’t seem to be completely human either. They find the Key but have to put in lots of fast work and planning to actually get to it.
Unfortunately they weren’t able to stick around to find out why or how those things were happening, because they soon realized that the Black Caps were down there and following them. After grabbing the Key they get as far away as possible, but Will stayed behind a bit to try to mislead and distract them. As they got back up through the Chapel, trees that initially appeared to be regular trees sprung to life and started to attack them, each branch was a dangerous arm and as the roommates started running they pulled themselves out of their roots and pursued them.
In an epic chase scene Will convinced the others to go ahead of him and doubled back leading the trees through the city, using his super speed and smart strategy he was able to get away from the trees but the Black caps weren’t too far behind them. In the end it came down to seconds and whether or not Elise and Will could outrun the creatures and men chasing them. It was really close and intense but they managed to escape just at the last second while the others closed the doors in the tunnel.
No one followed them past the doors and it seemed like they’d gotten away with it. Their first course of action was to talk to Nepsted, after using the Key they were able to get into his room and see how he was living. He upheld his promise and told Will, Ajay and Nick his story. He was a part of the first round of genetic experiments, the ones that went terribly wrong. His classmates were the ones in tubes down in the hospital, to cover up this experiment the Knights faked a plane crash and pronounced all those students dead.
Mr. Hobbes, the leader of the Black Caps who’d been after Will from the start, was also a part of this experiment and his powers worked. Nepsted on the other hand had seemingly no effect for years. So eventually the Knights decided to let Nepsted go and live a normal life as long as he promised not to contact his family or tell anyone what really happened, and he lived a normal life for years until mutations started happening. When he couldn’t control it anymore he was taken back to the school and pretty much imprisoned there. The Knights have total control of him and it’s a really sad story.
Later on Will finally gets a chance to have a real conversation with Dave and he explains that Will and the others need to come into the Never-Was and get him out so that he can contact the Hierarchy and alert them that the Other Team is preparing to launch an invasion of Earth. But when they go to retrieve the Carver Lyle used in the first book they are captured by the Knights.
The next thing we know Will wakes up somewhere unfamiliar, he knows they’ll target him as he is the leader of the group and things are not looking good. However, Will is provided with a little bit of guidance from a voice in his head, perhaps his higher mind. And it tells him that he’s on the island and that they’re keeping him alive because they want to use him and his friends. But it also tells him that there’s no way the Knights could’ve known where to find them if one of Will’s friends hadn’t told them first, in short they were betrayed by someone on their side. The voice tells Will that whoever comes forward and tries to convince him to join the other side is the traitor.
Mr. Hobbes takes Will to another room and shows him footage of all his friends in various forms of imprisonment. Then after threatening violence against all of his friends if he didn’t comply they sent in Brooke to explain what was going on. Will immediately knew that Brooke was the traitor. Will knew they were being watched so he played right into their hands, said what it made sense for him to say, didn’t give the slightest hint that he no longer trusted Brooke and even brought up the possibility that Elise betrayed them to make them think he didn’t know what was going on.
After that Will is introduced to the guy who’s really in charge of the Knights Mr. Elliot, who explains a lot more of what’s going on and why they need Will. The cherry on the cake and the final bit of manipulation that gets Will to a least pretend to agree to work with them is Mr. Elliot, he was a background character before but it’s only now revealed that he’s important, showing Will his Dad alive and being held captive as well as revealing that he is actually Will’s grandfather.
My Comments and Thoughts:
There’s always amazing descriptions of everything which made reading this a great experience because it was easy for me to picture and visualize everything the characters were experiencing. This was especially true when describing the variety of new and different things introduced in this book.
[Spoiler warning, skip to the last two paragraphs to avoid them.]
I personally really liked the title, because it’s based on the name for their group that Will, Nick, Ajay, Elise and Brooke came up with near the end of the first book. But it fits here because the story is mainly about them as friends and what they’re doing, it makes sense because it shows all of them getting closer only to be torn apart at the end. The title Alliance can also be a reference to the alliance between the Other Team and Knights.
I have to admit that I did like the love triangle between Will, Elise and Brooke throughout this part of the series, even more so because of the reveal at the end. After the plot twist looking back on the interactions between the characters Brooke’s true intentions are clear from the start and once you know that you can easily see that Elise is definitely better for Will. But before the plot twist Brooke and Elise both seem equally nice and interested in Will, things between Will and Brooke moved a lot faster than Will and Elise. Later on it’s easy to see that was superficial and the connection between Will and Elise was actually genuine, although it took them more time to build a real relationship.
Nepsted’s story was really, really sad but I’m glad that his character was explained and we learned his backstory because he was a constant background character at the Center and getting information in the form of someone’s actual life story instead of like reading it in an article is so much more powerful, especially considering the horrible nature of his story. Despite how sad it was I really liked that this is how Will and the others got the last bits of information they needed and it really made the story more interesting.
Even though I am still unhappy with the plot twist, because I’m still annoyed that Brooke got away with what she did to the other characters. I have to give her credit because she did her job of spying on Will and the others very well, I don’t think anyone saw the reveal coming and she was even the one acting scared and hesitant most of the time. Also after the plot twist lots of things start making more sense, like how she was the one who was kidnapped by the Knights in the first book and how she was constantly trying to get closer to Will. It definitely wasn’t obvious but it still makes sense that Will is able to figure out that Brooke was the traitor.
The ending was incredible and super well written. Honestly it just gets better every time I read it and I still can not get over how dramatic and amazing the ending is. It’s just one big plot twist after the other for the last few chapters and then we get hit with one last huge reveal right on the last page. And even just the last lines being Rule #100: STAY ALIVE and Will saying, “I’ll do whatever you say.” is just really powerful. It’s good because it makes it clear that Will is agreeing to work with them to stay alive and keep his friends safe not because he’s actually switching to their side.
One of the only problems I had with this book although it’s nothing too important is that while Will and the others were exploring the caves and tunnels nearly the entire time Will thought and felt like something or someone was following them. He thinks about it over and over again but never says or does anything and that was just kind of frustrating. I find it really annoying when the main character has information but still chooses not to tell the other characters even when it’s very important, especially since it’s kind of important to know if you’re being followed.
This book was very good but in my opinion it’s still the worst book in the trilogy. I can’t even exactly pinpoint what made me think that, I just think this book has slightly less action then the others and spends more time setting up what happens next then it does telling its own story in the moment.
This combined with that fact that both Dave and Nando hardly appeared or didn’t show up at all are what I think contributed to this being my least favourite book in the series. Don’t get me wrong though, it’s still amazing and I love the plot twists but the other books were even better. Overall I really liked this book and I think the best part of it was all the different twists and reveals. I definitely recommend this book and the Paladin Prophecy series as a whole.