This is the breathtaking conclusion to the Paladin Prophecy series, Will and his allies must go into the Never-Was to bring back Dave and stop the Knights and the Other Team from destroying Earth. But the odds are staked against them and the Never-Was is unlike anything they could have ever predicted. Can they defeat and outsmart the source of their own supernatural abilities?
I give this book five stars (out of five). This was a great conclusion to the Paladin Prophecy trilogy, I can hardly begin to explain all the wonderful details inside this book that make it interesting and exciting to read, but that is actually exactly what I’m about to attempt. Keep reading to see me struggle to put my love for this book into words that can make sense to other human beings.
In the following simplified plot summary there will be spoiler warnings but you probably shouldn’t read this if you haven’t already read the other books in this series.
Directly after the ending of the second book Will went and talked to all the other members of the group besides Brooke and while talking to them out loud explained to them telepathically to go with what he says but that they aren’t actually switching sides. The basic premise of the beginning and first few chapters is Will, Nick, Ajay and Elise playing along with Mr. Elliot and the Knights, doing what they tell them to and working towards developing their abilities. Although they aren’t seriously working with them and instead that entire time they’re planning a way to escape and continue working against the Knights.
Will worked closely with Mr. Elliot and some of the higher up Knights, he spent lots of time gaining their trust, asking questions and learning more about the Never-Was and the Other Team. Eventually Will gets taken back down into the hospital beneath the tunnels and back past the abandoned city. There Mr. Elliot shows Will around and explains the different pieces of technology from the Other Team. Elise, Nick, Ajay and Coach Jericho manage to sneak down there and together with Will’s help they steal the Carver and then use it to open a portal and go to the Never-Was to try to find and rescue Dave.
Before they enter the Never-Was however Will learns a very important piece of information, ever since the end of the first book the main characters have been theorizing that they got their unique abilities from some kind of genetic manipulation experiments. This was later proved to be true, what they didn’t know however is that the DNA used to give them those powers was from the Other Team, from that other species for beings. Also Coach Jericho is one of the last descendants of an important First Nations or Indigenous peoples group and he has powers and special abilities as well. Namely, shapeshifting often into a bear form in which he can still think and talk clearly.
As you can probably imagine jumping through a portal into a dangerous world full of monsters who want to kill you without a very solid plan most likely isn’t the best idea if you want to survive, so things didn’t go exactly as they expected.
First of all, they all appeared at different places in the Never-Was, except for Will and Elise who went through together. When they initially arrived in the Never-Was they didn’t know what to make of it, it was a hard transition. At first it was hard to breathe and be completely sure of their surroundings but since Will and Elise had each other it was easier for them to figure it out. After spending some time getting used to being there they started looking around, they knew hardly anything about what the Never-Was, so they had to go off what they learned about their environment in real time. Will and Elise eventually started walking to try and find the others.
After walking for a while they came across Ajay who was in a bit of a bad situation, he was being attacked by some of the foul genetically manipulated creatures. Will and Elise helped him and together they started traveling again to try and find the others, Nick and Coach Jericho.
[I’m skipping over details and specifics here but generally they were getting the idea that the Never-Was felt artificial or almost incomplete. Like someone’s idea of reality instead of a real world or like someone started to make a world but never finished. Time is different there and it almost doesn’t feel real even when they know they’re there.]
After crossing a river Will, Elise, and Ajay run into Nick who has managed to capture and take control of a group of dangerous creatures, a variant of plants. They’re flowers but they have big teeth, are very tall and initially tried to eat Nick before he gained control. It took some time to figure out but Will was able to use his telepathic abilities to learn how to communicate with the plants. They have feelings and their ‘minds’ are interconnected in Omnipresence, the plants tell Will the story of their creation and it turns out they have more in common than they thought.
These plants had a peaceful life before the Makers, the species that originally inhabited Earth, came along. They took them away from their home, genetically modified them and now they’re forced to do and be something they never wanted. This makes these plants and the subjects of the genetic experiments on Earth similar in that their entire existence was changed by something they had no control over and now they’re forced to live with it. It’s terrible and unfair, so the plants help Will find Coach Jericho and Dave. The Coach is in trouble though, he has been captured by a race of snake-men hybrid monsters and he really needs their help.
Will and the others rush to find and help the Coach, I won’t go into specifics on this incident because all the main characters come out of it alive but they have to recuse the coach and fight off nearly an entire species, it is intense.
After they get the entire team together they start traveling again to find Dave and avoid creatures and the Knights who want to kill them. From atop a large hill they can see that some Knights also entered the Never-Was, Mr. Hobbes and Brooke are there ordering around a race of soldiers.
[Spoiler warning, skip to the My Comments section to avoid them.]
However all is not lost, I won’t explain all the different details that make this possible but they know Dave is in a city like place called the Citadel, and they take down all the soldiers after Mr. Hobbes and Brooke leave. Then they steal their armour and horses and start heading towards the Citadel, pretending to be the soldiers. They also got a good idea of the layout of the city because Ajay used a drone.
Along the way Ajay also started learning how to communicate telepathically with Will and Elise while they were all strategizing. When they got closer they could see what they were up against, thousands of monsters of all different kinds were gathering near the Citadel. It was clear that Dave was right and they were preparing for an attack or invasion of Earth.
They managed to use telepathic deception to get into the Citadel and were surprised to see that the Makers were obviously ordering other creatures to build one big Carver. Carvers allow beings to travel between the Never-Was and Earth, until now humans have been the only ones to have or use Carvers which means they have control and power over whether or not monsters can come through. But if the things in the Never-Was have their own they’d be able to come to Earth and start taking over again. What’s even worse is that they’re nearly done building it, and they don’t have much time to save everyone and stop the Makers from getting what they want.
Nick, Will, Elise, Ajay and Coach Jericho rush through the Citadel to find Dave, they have to get there before monsters start attacking them. They manage to locate him but when they find him they don’t know how to get him out of the large jewel he’s trapped inside. While figuring out how to get him out they also must fight off a few different waves of monsters coming up the elevator and trying to kill them.
Eventually they manage to get Dave out by using Elise’s sound powers and Nick and Coach Jericho’s physical strength. But at the same time Dave got released Brooke showed up, Brooke was sent to try and convince them to hear the Makers out and listen to their reasoning. Although everyone wants to entirely and outwardly hate Brooke Will leads them forward and takes Brooke up on it, he also lies to her about Dave and tells her he died when they broke him out when in reality he was just invisible and recovering.
Before meeting with the Makers Will has a chance to fill everyone else in on his plan. The Makers want to talk to him first but before they even have a chance to say anything at all Will starts talking, ranting about everything they’ve done and how Will and the others would never join them. The Makers appear to be very large mysterious figures wearing cloaks, but Will completely outsmarted them.
Dave held Brooke down, Will pretended a normal laser pointer was a weapon to scare the Makers and all at once the four of them launched attacks. Elise using sound, Will using thought-formed objects, Nick with physical force and Ajay using a crossbow. When the hits landed the cloaks collapsed and nothing was underneath them. The Makers were never really there, they were just thought projections. So they didn’t have to be threatened by the Makers themselves, only by the hoards of monsters present.
The real Makers were now heading towards them and Will and the others needed to dodge more troops of monsters to destroy the large Carver they were creating. Once they get there they start loading it with explosives but they are running very, very, very short on time. They nearly destroy the entire thing while Dave distracts the Makers, but while doing the last of the work both Ajay and Elise are nearly killed, both unconscious and hardly breathing.
But they were able to save both of them using a piece of technology that can heal any injury stolen from the Knights on Ajay and Brooke’s healing powers on Elise. After that they got out of the Never-Was as soon as possible, taking Dave with them.
The last chapter showcases them all back at the dorms, their lives have gone somewhat back to normal at the Center. By the time they got back to Earth the Knights were already gone and they decided to take a break and be relatively ordinary students for a while, although they will keep an eye out for other kids with powers like them. The ending is happy and peaceful and it even concludes Will’s new list of rules to live after his experiences throughout the series.
I’ve been saying this for every single book in this trilogy but all of the descriptions, especially of other-worldly things, are incredible. Specifically in this book while they’re in the Never-Was there’s an amazingly unique variety of monsters, mainly animal and plant hybrids who were created through extreme lengths of genetic manipulation. The great descriptions make them easy to visualize, which help make the entire experience of reading about the main characters exploring an unknown world and encountering many different dangerous beings so much more realistic even though this is clearly fiction.
I have a few conflicting opinions about the opening, firstly I liked how it started out with action right away and it cut to each of the main character’s perspectives (Will, Ajay, Nick and Elise). I found that to be a very good and effective way to open the book and it gets you right back into the story and characters, while giving you limited information on what happened since the ending of the last book.
But I didn’t like the cut to two months earlier after the first few chapters, just because I got right into the action only to have to go back and read the backstory and build up while already knowing what they’re planning. Also the first chapters start building up some tension but then it just cuts back to the story right where the last book left off only to give you the explanation of what you missed. I just think this could’ve been done differently and in a way that doesn’t require the time jumping because I personally didn’t like that and found it sort of disappointing.
I just wanted to quickly comment on the use of italic text to emphasize one of Will’s thoughts or show a telepathic conversation. In this series there’s lots of telepathic communication between multiple different characters so being able to clearly tell what is happening in Will’s head and what’s happening outloud is really helpful and makes it easier to understand the story.
The entire idea of the Never-Was is still super cool. When Will and the others go there and see and explore all the horrors of that reality it’s very scary but it’s also pretty cool. All the hybrid monsters and creatures that don’t really have any other purpose than to do what the Makers tell them to is kind of sad, but I also liked seeing what creative monsters they came up with.
I personally really liked Will and Elise’s relationship. I thought they worked well together and their romance makes a lot of sense looking at the rest of the story. How Elise saw Will in her dreams before he even came to the Center and how they were the two who were first able to establish a mental connection telepathically.
I have to say honestly although I loved both Dave and Nando in all the books they appear in I think my favourite character throughout the series was Ajay. He seems like a stereotypical smart character at first but he’s a lot more than that. He’s funny and over prepared but also a scaredy-cat. I found him to be one of the greatest sources of comic relief in the books and I also loved how his amazing intelligence and abilities were able to help him and the others through the Never-Was.
Towards the end of the second book in this series Will decides that it’s time for him to create his own Rules to Live by because sometimes his Dad’s rules don’t cover everything, especially since they were made for him when he was just living a relatively normal life. Now in this book each chapter starts with another one of the rules Will is creating throughout the course of the story.
Will still uses and turns to his Dad’s rules for guidance but he’s also making his own guidelines to help keep him and his friends safe. I really loved how at the end the author included both full lists of rules, the Dad’s and Will’s. This was really helpful to compare the two and see the differences between their sets of rules. I personally like Will’s rules way more because you can see how those Rules came to him throughout the story, they also seem like better general rules that anyone could follow. Dad’s rules to live by were specific to Will and designed to ensure his survival but Will’s rules could be used by anyone and seem like good general tips, I also think they have more meaning.
[Spoiler warning, skip to the final paragraph to avoid them.]
In this book Will develops something he calls his Intuition, which is basically just a sense of clarity and being able to act decisively and decide what to do in times of panic. It’s almost like always knowing what to do without having any information to back it up, it’s more of a feeling. I have mixed opinions on this, on one hand it’s a very cool ability almost like Spiderman’s Spidey Sense. So, in that aspect I think it’s a really interesting power.
But on the other hand I think it’s also just a bit too plot convenient that the main character just always knows exactly where to go and what to do. He doesn’t use it too much to the point where any time they get into trouble he can get them right out of it, but it does make everything feel a little less logical when Will can just automatically know what he should do next.
However, I also have to acknowledge that Will has had similar abilities to his Intuition from the very first book and here in the final book he’s just fully realized and developed this power. So it makes sense for him to have this ability since it has been foreshadowed and eluded to throughout the series. I just wish it was used slightly differently or in a more interesting way then just Will knowing where to go sometimes.
It was interesting in this book when the main characters (Will, Ajay, Nick, and Elise) saw Brooke for the first time after knowing she betrayed them. They interacted with her totally differently and the way Will thought about her completely changed, it was cool that they finally saw her for who she really is.
I really liked the scene where Will communicated telepathically with the plant species. It was a great moment to show relativity in the series, and that even though we see these events from the perspective of Will there were many, many other creatures who were wronged or hurt by the Makers. Will was able to relate to a random species who he’d never known before because they went through some of the same things in their fundamental creation and were then forced to do things they didn’t want to do.
I also thought the way the plant species thought more in sporadic images and patterns then in words was very interesting and creative. As well as how they were able to also learn about Will as he learned about them. The whole concept of Omnipresence is really cool, and I liked the word they used to describe it rather than just like hive-mind or something similar.
Overall I enjoyed this part of the story, it was very unique, interesting and surprisingly emotional to read. It almost reminded me of the scene when Will, Ajay and Nick hear Nepsted’s backstory in the second book.
The last fight scene was very, very intense. It was extremely cool to see Will and his friends be able to outsmart the Makers and other ridiculous creatures they encountered in the Never-Was, even those who were physically stronger than them. Also this fight was so intense because there was no time for them to do anything and there were always more monsters coming for the main characters. No matter what they were under attack and running out of time for the last few chapters. I think it was very well done and satisfying to read.
I really loved this series overall and I know I’ve said how much I liked it and specific parts many, many, many times in all three of these reviews. But again I can not get enough of this series, I’ve read the entire trilogy twice and I really enjoyed it even on the second read. I’d say this is sort of a futuristic fantasy because although there’s definitely elements of fantasy in the monsters at play there’s also lots of sci-fi advanced technology. It’s a very good blend and if you like both of those genres this is the series for you!