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Paladin #1

Paladin

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The debut novel from the #1 Fantasy writer on Wattpad is finally here!

Brash, cocky, and unbeatable with a sword (well, almost), Sam of Haywood is the most promising Paladin trainee in the kingdom of Thule… and knows it. The only problem is that Sam is really Lady Samantha, daughter of the seventeenth Duke of Haywood, and if her father has his way, she’ll be marrying a Paladin, not becoming one.

But Sam has never held much interest in playing damsel-in-distress, and so she rescues herself from a lifetime of boredom and matrimonial drudgery. Disguised as a boy, Sam leaves home behind to fight demons-—the most dangerous monsters in Thule—-alongside the kingdom’s elite warriors. Pity that Tristan Lyons, the Paladin assigned to train her, is none other than the hero of her childhood. He hasn’t recognized her–yet–but if he does, he’ll take away her sword and send her packing.

Sam is not the only trainee hiding secrets: Braeden is a half-demon with a dark past that might be unforgivable. Whether he can be trusted is anyone’s guess, including his.

As demons wreak havoc across the land, rebellion stirs in the West, led by a rival faction of warriors.

A war between men is coming, and Sam must pick a side. Will saving the kingdom cost her life–or just her heart?

386 pages, Kindle Edition

First published May 10, 2015

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About the author

Sally Slater

3 books473 followers
Sally Slater is the author of Paladin, a fantasy adventure novel that has garnered over 11 million reads on Wattpad, and now a #1 Amazon bestseller. Paladin is her debut novel and the first of a planned series. You can also find her writing on The Huffington Post.

When she's not writing, Sally is a public relations professional at a financial communications consultancy in New York City. She also dabbles in CrossFit and firmly believes that women in both real life and fiction should be strong.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 618 reviews
Profile Image for Rachel E. Carter.
Author 9 books3,473 followers
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January 27, 2023
5 STARS. FIVE “I got no sleep last night because of this book” stars.

description

Okay, so this book has been calling out to me since I saw Emmeline post a review about it: HERE. Then I forgot the book’s name and was checking my Amazon page and WHAT DO YOU KNOW? This little precious is #1 in YA fantasy and, oh yeah, my books are listed right next to Sally’s on “Readers Who Bought This Also Bought This” so that pretty much had me dying of curiosity.

Then I read the blurb…

Girl pretends to be boy.
Girl goes to school to be a paladin (demon-fighter/warrior-type).
Girl trains under her hero who doesn’t know she’s a girl.
Girl makes friend with brooding half-demon boy (this wasn’t in blurb but Emmeline mentioned it to me).
Girl has to help save her kingdom with her hero-mentor and a half-demon boy.


Okay >> Honestly, what part of that summary does not sound like something I would love? Those of you who have painstakingly listened as I rant about my favorite books on Goodreads should know the answer is: none, and Paladin really gave EVERYTHING it promised. This book gives fans of Tamora Pierce a bit more romance but still the action and dialogue you miss. You know, the way Defy was supposed to (only that failed miserably, I have very strong rage feels about that book that -I am sorry to anyone who loves that one!).

Now to some readers MORE romance might be a detractor -but to me nothing is better than a YA fantasy romance with a strong heroine and a great romance. I really feel like Sally delivered on my favorite tropes & storyline: she’s giving us a sassy protagonist who IS NOT A SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE (aka automatically good at everything) and a “hot, brooding bad boy-type” love interest (my personal fave, don’t get me wrong –I can love good boys too: book gods only know how much I am #TeamPeeta- but this book gives you BRAEDEN).

So let’s breakdown why I ended up loving this book:

* The shenanigans –Okay, whenever an author does "a girl pretending to be a boy" there needs to be some ridiculously hilarious scenes a la Alanna: The First Adventure and "She’s The Man" (movie) and there are some especially priceless ones in here (the brothel and that scene where she is sleeping between both boys –OH, and the part where Tristan has Braeden & Sam practicing holds -dear books gods I was in tears). This book gave me what I felt The Academy lacked.

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* The plot was fast-moving, all over countryside, and easy to follow.

* The multiple POV’S between the three main characters. Everyone on Goodreads knows I have issues if a guy is portrayed too girly in his own POV. In this book the two guys sound like the characters they are supposed to be. Each one had his own habits/personality/etc. and stayed true to character regardless of who’s POV was portraying them.

* Tristan.

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Even though he is the “other” love interest, he was not obnoxious in the slightest. 1) He was kickass. 2) His reputation with the ladies (and Sam’s mockery of it) was hilarious (she makes a gagging noise at one point while he is hitting on an innkeeper). 3) His distaste for being paired up with Sam –especially in the beginning was just good fun (and reminded me of Tamora’s heroine-mentor relationships). 4) His loyalty AND sense of justice –even the way he reacts to his betrothed being dead (that scene was really sad BTW)... He is almost loyal to a fault (take the High Commander into account) but he’s a character you respect. But –mostly- I just love his & Sam’s relationship:

She narrowed her eyes to slits. “Shut up, you. You’re part of the reason I became a Paladin in the first place. Sander might have saved your life, but you saved mine.”


* Sam –she reminded me a lot of Alanna. She’s got a sass to her and she really cares about her friends, she just wants to make something of herself and you can’t help but respect her. I really loved Sam's relationship with Braeden –even before she started to like him, the way they acted as best friends brought back Alanna-and-Jon feels when they were friends before lovers. That whole “I’ve got your back no matter what” thing.

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* Braeden –seriously. This boy is hot. (I chose a Legolas pic because I could not find any pics with guys with long silver hair and garnet eyes, YES GARNET PPL!!! You know how much I love that color!, I imagine him hotter than Legolas I just can't find right pic).

description

I can’t even –THAT kiss, the fact that his demon half wants her, the way he is so stubborn and determined to save humanity even when they reject him, the way no one has ever loved him, the way he cherishes his friendship & later falls for Sam, the way he is afraid of himself, the way he stands up to his father…

“Fine, he said, his tone inscrutable. “Then I’ll forget this, too.” He jerked her roughly to him, tilted her chin up, and brushed his mouth against hers. He pulled back from the kiss. “It’s forgotten,” he breathed into her mouth. >>> okay, seriously, how is that not hot? Ugh. He’s my favorite type of love interest and he plays the role perfectly.


* That scene where Tristan decides Sam needs to lose "his" virginity. I had to make this a pro on its own. OMG. I was laughing so hard I was crying.

“Tonight, my boy, we’re going to make you a man.”
>> The awkwardness that ensues, seriously, you know it’s going to end badly and then when

* The other scene where the three of them are sleeping in tent and she is wedged between two guys –Tristan’s face buried in her hair with one leg over her while Braeden is holding her. It’s just so awkward you can’t help but cringe and secretly be cracking up over it.

* The relationship between Tristan-Sam-Braeden as a team. These three have each other’s back & they all worked so well together. They fight together, they travel together, even the conclusion of the triangle is amiable. These three NEED to be back together in the sequel!

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* Braeden & Sam’s friendship –even before these two started to like each other, there were just so many moments where you find them the perfect pair. They start off as trainees under same paladin and they are both outcasts –she’s more scrawny than the bigger boy recruits because she’s a girl, and he’s a half-demon boy so no one trusts him and automatically assumes the worst. Their friendship starts off slow and it is just so sweet to watch them grow into best friends and then the feelings emerge and it’s HOT and PERFECT and YES.

“My eyes bother you, do they?”
“N-no,” Sam stuttered, startled by the question. “Was I staring?”
“You were.”
Sam winced at his bluntness. “Sorry, I didn’t mean anything by it.”
He turned his face away from hers. “It’s okay. I’m used to it.”


* How Sam is the only thing that saves Braeden from himself. Okay, that might be my favorite scene when he starts to turn and she does something to stop it. No, I will not spoil this moment for you. You need to read it.

* That ending twist, though.
“This poison you feel for her,” the High Commander spat, “is a contagion. You’re the king among beasts, Braeden, and your desires are theirs. Every time you look at her, every demon within range turns into a love-sick puppy… You want Sam, Braeden. Well, so do they. And they won’t stop wanting her til you either give up this foolish infatuation or she’s dead.”


* The ending (PS seriously reminded me of end of Alanna books). Not a cliffhanger, it is HEA, but you know there is trouble on the horizon and you can’t wait to see what becomes of everyone.

This book had characters worth caring about and a romance that was scorching (I’m telling you –that first kiss when she’s saying goodbye). It had a girl who had to work to be kick-butt (none of this “I’m already perfect at everything” nonsense) & a badass villain. If you love Tamora Pierce or an awesome romance, READ THIS BOOK. This is the fantasy I love –not bogged down by details, quick with the humor & sass, and character-focused which is the most important thing for me (I tend to run from long, windy epics).

description

Well done, Sally, well done.
Profile Image for Katerina.
420 reviews16.7k followers
April 17, 2016
“If this were a fairy tale,I'd be my own Gods damned knight.”

Wait,that's it???No more demon slayers and kickass warriors and rebels and general awesomeness??Sally Slater,you'd better be writing a sequel!



“All of her training had been for this.For a chance to become her own hero.”

Lady Samantha of Haywood didn't want to marry some rich husband and secure her family line.She wanted to become a warrior to avenge her mother's death and help the people in her country.So,she disguised herself as a boy and she joined the Paladins,the legendary order of demon slayers who protected the innocent and were noble at heart.But pretending to be a boy was harder that she thought,and when she set off a dangerous journey with Tristan,the all-mighty Paladin who was assigned to her,and Braeden,the half-demon trainee everybody loathed,Sam had to face reality and some harsh truths about the world,the heroes she worshipped and herself.
“I'll tell you who I'm not.I'm not some princess in an ivory tower.I'm not someone who runs scared from a fight.And I'm not the kind of girl who gives up on something she wants because of a little thing like danger.”

Thoughts
I must admit,at first I wasn't sure whether I'd rate it with 4 or 5 stars,because despite the great story something was missing.I liked it but I didn't love it.And then the second half happened and faith of blood! it was intense!
Paladin is a story full of gruesome fights,slow-burning romance,vivid characters and strong friendships,and I swear this is everything I want in a YA fantasy book!And let me tell you this:in a story where a girl pretends to be a boy,funny and awkward incidents are inevitable (I will never forget the brothel scene,nor will the prostitutes I bet!).Plus, it gave me the feels;a strong urge to grab a sword and kill demons,anger,elation,love,pain,relief,dread...Name an emotion,and I felt it.



The characters
“Get this through your thick skull:I am not some fragile flower.I don't break easily.I can defend myself from anything.Even you.”

With a female protagonist like this,do you expect anything less than badassery?Meet Sam,an excellent swordswoman who pursued her dreams,defied the obstacles and never backed down.Stubborn,not particularly obedient and big-mouthed Sam did not need a hero,she was a hero and you can't help but love her.
“Paladin Tristan Lyons.The man who'd saved her and the reason she was here.He would ruin everything.”

Sam's mentor and the most famous Paladin,Tristan was loyal to a fault,brave,arrogant and bossy and extremely handsome.He was not always as mature as you'd think and his interactions with Braeden and Sam were hilarious!
“He'd been told he was evil since he'd left his mother's womb,and after a time,he'd started to believe it true.”

The feels I mentioned earlier?Most of them were caused by Braeden.My heart broke for him,he wanted to do the right thing and he was more noble and trustworthy than those who accused him of being a monster.He was in constant war with his savage side,he wanted to tame the demon but there were times he failed.He despised himself and the things he'd done but I assure you,there is not a chance that you will not love him.

The romance
I won't say many things because I don't want to spoil you,but note that there is no love triangle,just a friends-turn-to-lovers,beautiful love story.

If a book of this magnitude is Sally Slater's debut,I can't wait to read her next works!

*ARC generously provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
Profile Image for Melissa.
355 reviews613 followers
September 8, 2015
I am on a roll, my friend!

I'd like to steal a line and say "I'm on a rollercoaster that only goes up, my friend" but that's like begging for the next book to suck. So all I'll say is luck is on my side, cause that's two books in a row that I've enjoyed immensely and lately, with my luck, that's mercy ^_^

So I'm going to go for a simple bullet list cause I'm actually supposed to be doing something else, but who cares? Procrastination at its best.



Sam
She wanted to be a warrior and a woman, but she wasn't allowed to be both. So she'd made her decision, and if given a second chance she would make it again.

You guys have to know by now that my favorite thing in a book is when we find a strong female character. And the thing is knowing just how to write her so she doesn't come off as pushy or unbearably conceited. Sam was strong in the sense that she refused to need a man to save her. She wanted to prove, despite every word against her, that she could be her own hero.
“This is no fairy tale, little girl,” he said into her ear as she started to slump. “No one’s coming to save you.” Gasping for breath, Sam sucked air into her lungs. “I don’t need to be saved. I’ll damn well save myself.”

She didn't want a prince charming or Mr. Perfect to come waltzing into her life and demand attention. She wanted to be valued by what what she could do and not by her gender. She fought against stigmas and proved that the strength of a man could be overpowered by the wit of a woman.

Tristan
Honestly, their banter constantly, and I mean constantly had me cracking up. It was completely on point and brought a camaraderie that I haven't had the pleasure of reading in quite a while.
Her shoulders sagged. Whoever said the pen was mightier than the sword had never met Tristan.

I truly enjoyed his character throughout the entire book. He was funny, cocky, kickass, and what I loved most was the the author did no use tropes. Yes, he was made as perfect, but he wasn't really used at all to create the knowingly annoying love triangle tension some of you hate (I won't include myself there cause I have been known to enjoy triangles.)

Braeden
How could I not enjoy him? Now, that is the question. I adored his friendship with Sam. As a matter of fact, I enjoyed every friendship here. They were all slow burn and progressed as the story went on. It felt real
Braeden didn’t fear much in life. Why would he be afraid of monsters when he was one himself? He’d been told he was evil since he’d left his mother’s womb, and after a time, he’d started to believe it true. There wasn’t much to fear when he was his own worst nightmare.


The writing
As a whole, it was a delight. It had a way of drawing you in and never letting go. What I really did notice was a perfection in the "showing" without buggering us down with the "telling", which is an art even seasoned authors haven't mastered. You could honestly read the tension, awkwardness, or any other sentiment by how the characters acted without having the author tell us. And that definitely earned her brownie points with me.
The dialogue was also fun and so easy to read. It rang true and never felt stilted like many debut novels do.



➲I do have to say the middle sort of dragged on for me. It was lengthy and not much was going on. It was also very light for a epic fantasy read with the demons not really eliciting any kind of emotion out of me. They just felt like rabid animals on the loose.



So in the end, even though it's a very light fantasy read without much complications, having only plot, it was enjoyable and in the end unpredictable, at least it was for me. Twist and turns that undoubtedly will have me reading the sequel. I mean, there better be a sequel!
Profile Image for Liz* Fashionably Late.
432 reviews384 followers
February 9, 2017
29.2 % BR with Flash!

See what I did there? :P


------------------------

Too many years ago, when I was just a child, my mom sat me in front of the TV and we saw together Yentl. Babs was this amazing woman in a world of men trying to achieve the impossible. Later, I couldn't let go the feeling that as a woman sometimes I would have to do more, try harder and even fight my way in.

Paladin is Sam's story. As many women, she wants to stand out in a man's world. Her dream and biggest ambition is to be part of the most kickass group of fighters and avenge the loss of a loved one but she knows the only way to make it is as a man.

"She wanted to be a warrior and a woman, but she wasn't allowed to be both. So she'd made her decision."

From the beginning, you just fall in love with Sam. She's strong-minded, she's genuine, she's confident with a sword in hand and frankly, she's freaking good at it. And there's a familiarity with her that wins your heart almost instantly.

Paladin doesn't follow the usual romance rules. From the beginning I was ready to love the perfect, obvious love interest but as the story went by, my heart and admiration was leaning towards the bad boy underdog of the story. And I loved how Sam felt the same way about him. And how he accepts her love too *___*

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Plot wise, it was not perfect but it worked for me. Paladins and the Uriel were facing more than just a little rivalry. Dark forces are in our world and people will have to choose a side. The story is so character-focused that some elements of the plot were a little neglected.

But if the plot was not amazing, the writing makes up for that. Mrs Slater is an "I'll show you" kinda girl and I love her for that. The camaraderie, banter and friendship that they shared was so enjoyable and it has almost an hypnotic effect that you just want to keep reading.

"Sam glowered at him. "If you're concerned about offending my delicate sensibilities, don't be."
Braeden's watery eyes found hers. "Don't worry, I get it. You're neither delicate nor sensible."


description

I felt the resolution between Sam, Tristan and Braeden a little cheesy. But it's undeniable I need book #2 now.

Profile Image for Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘.
828 reviews3,676 followers
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January 20, 2018
BR with the wonderful Chelsea and Harriet. That better be epic. We need it.

Nothing made me despise this story enough to rate it even though I can't finish it, but I can't be bothered to read more of this simplistic and repetitive writing. Sorry for being an asshole, I guess?

"There were tall boys and short boys - though none as short as she - fat boys and skinny boys, boys in second-hand clothes and boys dressed in expensive fashion. Some, like her, stood alone while others stood in groups, talking and laughing."

♫ Boys! Boys! Boys!♫ She sure loves using a lot of opposite words. A fantasy version of Thesaurus, in fact.

For more of my reviews, please visit:
Profile Image for Norah Una Sumner.
845 reviews447 followers
January 3, 2016
“You best have dagger hidden underneath those skirts.”
Sam patted the small lump on the right side of her hip,the bulge on her left,and then felt for a ridge by her ankles.
She had three.”

Holy macaroni.This was intense and beautiful.STRONG FEMALE CHARACTER ALERT!STRONG FEMALE CHARACTER ALERT!STRONG FEMALE CHARACTER ALERT!

description

Sam,you beautiful human,you are probably one of my favourite female characters OF ALL TIME.I seriously loved reading about Sam and her adventures.I loved her character development and her actions.I loved how she didn’t give up,no matter what happened.I loved how she didn’t change just to please someone,she stayed true to herself and that makes her even more amazing.The story is PHENOMENAL.There are so many funny moments,awkward moments,sad moments,“OH MY FREAKING GOD NO WAY” moments-everything you never knew you wanted in a book.

description

The characters are fantastic-Sam is really Lady Samantha,Braeden is a half-demon and Tristan is still haunted by the ghosts of his past.The strong friendship that blossoms between them is wonderful,you just want to read more about their mischief and their battles.There is also romance…some pretty lovely and intense romance.I’m not going to spoil it for you but be prepared for some epic romance scenes.And some swoon-worthy moments,too.And that ending…My poor heart.Also, Sally Slater is probably my new author crush -she is gorgeous!

description

Overall,an amazing book.”Read it in one sitting” kind of amazing.
You can read this review on BookishFever.

*E-copy provided by the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review via Netgalley.*
Profile Image for Radmila.
183 reviews165 followers
March 4, 2016
4 STARS!!!


After Lady Samantha's mother is killed by a demon, she promise herself to do whatever is in her power to fight this monsters.



She couldn't change the past, but she could change the future.







Two years later, Lady Samantha, now called Sam of Haywood enrolls in program for Paladins. Paladins are group of train soldiers, with only one purpose. To kill demons. To become paladin, Samantha needs to disguise, hide who she really is. A woman. There is no place for woman in paladin's world. As a beginner, trainee, she needs a mentor. Imagine Sam's luck, when she founds out her mentor is Tristan Lyons. The same paladin who saved her two years ago from demon attack. Now Sam must be extra careful. What will happen when Tristan finally realize who she is? Will he let her be paladin, despite being a woman?






For a man like him, it's easier to believe convenient lies than to face the consequence of the thrust. He can't fathom breaking the rules, so he denies the obvious.





Sam isn't only unusual trainee. There is also Braeden, a half-demon.


She reminded herself that they were friends, or something of the sort. Friends didn't eat friends, even if they were a little deranged.








Overall, this book was refreshing for me, since I haven't read lot books about demons. The book was well written and I read it in one sitting. I loved this book. Can't wait for sequel!
Profile Image for Jacob Proffitt.
2,853 reviews1,491 followers
October 18, 2021
I'm bailing out of this at about a quarter in. Two things are killing my engagement. One is that Sam is comically overconfident. She's constantly challenging Tristan, the best swordsman in the order (and by implication, the world) like she could possibly beat him. At anything, but particularly at dueling. Like, she actually expects to win. It's so foolish I have a hard time taking anything else about her seriously. I like her gumption, actually. I like how determined she is and I like that Slater gives her reasonable successes. That's great. But this thing with her continual idiocy with regards to Tristan is silly and drives me out of the story every time.

The second problem is that none of the choreography actually works. Every fight scene so far has been just really, really bad. People teleport all over the place. Combatants conveniently disappear and reappear with no direction. You'll go from being so close they're hilt-to-hilt to having to stride forward to engage. The first conflict, where her mother dies, is sadly representative. We go from Sam running to her mother and bumping into Tristan to the monster being the closest to mom and the others unable to reach her in time. It's like Slater isn't even trying to keep track of where things are. Or any degree of physics.

The story is imaginative and the plot interesting. And I'd normally be all into Sam forging her path in a world inimical to her passion. But these aspects are killing my engagement.

This may be a pretty idiosyncratic reaction. The pace is quick and the plot interesting. And I'd otherwise love Sam. But I just can't take it seriously at this point. So be aware that my single star rating is likely a personal response and there's every chance you'd enjoy it if you like this kind of "intrepid girl making her way on her own terms" story. Fortunately, you should be able to tell with a fairly short sample if this is for you, or not, because the space issues show up right at the start, though you'll have to decide how you might respond to Sam's silly poseur issues with regards to Tristan later on.
Profile Image for Vippi.
457 reviews11 followers
September 1, 2017
Update: After this second time around, I love this book and its characters (well, Braeden above all ♥) even more! *craving for Uriel*

~ I received this book from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review ~

Okay, with this one it has been love at first sight.




This book is... AMAZING!

Paladin is action- packed, twisted, compelling and it literally blew me away.
Maybe it's not perfect - there are some minor issues - but seriously, who cares when a book is this unputdownable?

I loved the story and even more the characters, that IMO are the greatest strength of this book.

Bonus point: the alternation of Tristan's, Sam's & Braeden's POVs makes this story really interesting.

Sam

All of her training had been for this. For a chance to become her own hero. It was now or never. The Paladins waited for no man. And certainly for no woman.

Sam is not just a girl in man's shoes: not only there are serious motives behind her choice to join the Paladins, but she's also a fine swordman and a strong, kick-ass heroine. I loved her squabbles with Tristan and the funny misunderstandings arising from her secret identity (the brothel scene is pure genius!)

Tristan

Tristan was the one of them without secrets, the unflappable one, the one without a chink in his armor. What kind of sordid past could he possibly want to hide?

I had thought that Tristan had to be the knight in shining armor, the perfect guy, the one without fears and without stains. I was wrong and I liked it, because it made me enjoy this book and its complex, believable characters even more.

Braeden

Braeden didn’t fear much in life. Why would he be afraid of monsters when he was one himself? He’d been told he was evil since he’d left his mother’s womb, and after a time, he’d started to believe it true. There wasn’t much to fear when he was his own worst nightmare.

Needless to say, I have a twisted thing for this guy. He's haunted, he's torn and I simply adore him.

So, in the end, this is my advice: READ. THIS. BOOK. You won't regret it.
Profile Image for Anna *Bran. San. Stan*.
238 reviews56 followers
March 24, 2021
Set in a fairytale world that breaks with its typical tropes, 18-year-old Lady Samantha, disguised as Sam, sets out to join and train with an order of men-only demonfighters called Paladins. (As opposed to Shadowhunters, Paladins are regular, well-trained humans and everyone knows about the existence of both demons and the Paladins.)

Sam is just an awesome character; a warrior at heart, not content with the role society expects her to fill (marry to produce heirs). She is not a damsel in distress (not even at the very beginning really), knows what she wants, acts according to her character and, most refreshingly, she isn’t a “special snowflake” either – she embodies what talent, motivation and hard work can lead to.

As a result, the girl-pretends-to-be-a-boy trope is really nicely done, also providing us with lots of funny moments and encounters. (Among my favorite is the scene where Sam is taken to a brothel to get rid of “his” virginity).

Then we have the proverbial handsome, honorable hero, Paladin Tristan Lyons and the rather unconventional second hero: a half-demon Paladin trainee Braeden. Take those three and you’ve got yourself an interesting set of characters.

For those worried about a love triangle – it is pretty clear early on who Sam falls for so it’s never really a tug-of-war. And it’s also pretty clear that all our main characters will have a love interest when all‘s said and done.

As much as I loved the character arcs, the underlying plot (why are more and more demons coming; what do the Uriel want), was often predictable but enjoyable nonetheless. I didn’t mind that that world’s history isn’t exactly fleshed-out and actually appreciate the lack of info-dumps; it feels natural for people turning the distant past into legends within the framework of the narrative.

Sadly, the plot arc is rather rushed towards the end and it is clear the author intended to continue this series as there a quite a few loose ends.

Still, I enjoyed myself immensely reading about Sam, Tristan, and Braeden und I certainly hope book 2 will be released at some point!

PS: I don't get the GoT comp, at all.
Profile Image for Sherwood Smith.
Author 148 books37.5k followers
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May 24, 2016
A thoroughly fun fantasy swashbuckler with a thread of sweet romance.

Sam--Lady Samantha--dons boys' clothing after her beloved mother is killed by a demon, and leaves home to join the Paladins, who are dedicated to demon fighting. She finds herself paired up with Tristran, the First of the Paladins, along with a boy who is half-demon, and thus reviled against by the rest of the trainees.

Barely have the three of them been trained before Tristran, who is a straight-forward, honest, but not altogether observant guy, and his two trainees are sent on a secret mission by the High Commander. Along the way they train, fight demons, and begin slowly uncovering secrets that all of them hide.

Some of it (like the chief villain) is a tad predictable, and the world-building is done with a very light brush (we have unexplained Latin and Hebrew names, they use the word okay in this world, and there is also a smattering of Georgette Heyer's distinctive idiom) but the sheer exuberance carried me straight through to the very satisfying end. It looks like it will open into a series. I hope so! I adored the main characters, and many of the secondaries as well.

I think it would appeal to fans of Lindsay Buroker.
Profile Image for Kells Next Read .
523 reviews523 followers
June 2, 2016
I had purchase this via my kindle some time ago and was double minded about reading it. I conceded eventually and I can safely say that my only regret is not reading it earlier.

This book is how a book should be written.

I'm not going to go into a synopsis of what the story is about ( you can read that on GR for yourself ). What I will say however is that I absolutely love the storyline, narrative, characters, pace and the direction the story took. I found it to be believable and nothing like the traditional troupes that many authors seem to be regurgitating these days.

Eagerly awaiting book two #Uriel

Another fave read for 2016 *FistPump*
June 4, 2015
THIS BOOK DESERVES ALL THE HAPPY GIFs IN THE WORLD!!!!!!!!!!!!
AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH IT'S SO AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



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THIS IS AN AWESOME BOOK WITH A GIRL KICKASS FIGHTER!!!!!!!!



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WHO HAD TO PRETEND THAT SHE'S A BOY!!!!!! AHHHH COULDN'T IT BE CUTER??!!
But on a serious note, I think her reason for pretending to be a boy is quite noble. Plus, unlike Mulan who had no idea of what she's doing, our heroine slash hero is already good at fighting. It's awesome!!
Somewhere along the way, she gets stuck with two studs. One is already there at the top. A real hero. While the other is our unlikely hero, who in my opinion, is more handsome by the way. :)




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Together, they learn more about fighting demons, evading bad circumstances. Basically, they just become close friends. Friends who bicker once in a while, but understand one another. It's honestly the best part. Their camaraderie. :)



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But of course, there's also the romance factor. Watch out for that. It's as intriguing as it is lovable!!!

I think there's a next book for this...
so...
I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO THAT!!!!!!!!!!!1

GIMME GIMME GIMME!!!!!!!!!


I PROMISE YOU... THIS IS WAY AWESOME TO MISS!!!!!!!!!!


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Full review to come when I'm already lucid. I feel like I'm dreaming.
AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH



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NOW BRING ON THE CAKE!!!!!!!


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I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Mike (the Paladin).
3,145 reviews1,782 followers
October 15, 2015
Okay...it took me forever to finish this book, not because it's a bad book, but because it's available on Wattpad and I have to read it on my computer. I really don't enjoy reading on my computer. I'm not even fond of reading from my Kindle.

So, I kept putting off getting back to the book.

That said what we have here is a pretty good story of a young (female) warrior who wants to become one of an order of paladins.

We follow her through some fairly standard training and overcoming scenes. She meets a fellow "candidate" who is mixed blood...mixed with the demon enemies they are to face.

All in all not a bad book but not great. I doubt I'll go out of my way to find more...on the other hand if the author's writing ends up in the old fashioned "dead tree stuff" form i might try it again. I might even be able to enjoy it more.

I think I've been burned on E-books as so many of the books I've put on my Kindle turned out to be basically elaborate fan fiction.

This book is a cut above that so maybe try it yourself.
Profile Image for Pamela J. (Fantasy Book Nook) .
20 reviews23 followers
June 15, 2016
This book can best be described as Mulan with a twist- instead of the Hun there are demons. Like Mulan, Samantha or Sam, lives in a sexist society where women are expected to adhere to propriety and marry young. However, Sam has other desires and decides to take charge of her destiny by cutting off her hair, pretending to be a man, and joining the Paladins- an elite group of warriors dedicated to protecting the country from demons. It is a cliché, but most stories these days are. What ultimately matters is how these familiar storylines are executed.

As far as the execution- overall, this book is easy to read and enjoyable. The story is interesting; there’s action, romance, suspense, and some twists (albeit very predictable ones.) The main characters, Sam, Braedon, and Tristan are likeable and have a good dynamic. Sam is a good female role model and I appreciate the feminist undertones. She’s confident in her abilities, embraces danger, and professes that she doesn’t need anyone to protect or save her- she can do that herself. And there’s no contradiction in this as with most similar stories. When she does develop romantic feelings she doesn’t sacrifice her own desires and goals for him or suddenly try to act more feminine. Also, I find something very endearing about a girl who bites people.

Despite these admirable traits, I do have several criticisms with this book. First of all, while I did feel some connection to Sam and Braedon, I would have liked to feel more. As it was, I was interested in their storyline and what would happen to them, but not really emotionally invested. And Tristan- he was a walking stereotype and completely one-dimensional, as were all of the secondary characters (although the Commander was intriguing). I attribute some of this lack of connection to the main characters to the writing style. Based on the synopsis you would expect Sam to be the protagonist. However, it’s written more narrative than point of view with the focus being on Sam, Braedon, and Tristan. This is a mistake as you don’t really get a good sense of any of the characters, their feelings, or their motivations. Some of their history is recounted- but it’s rather contrived. I especially didn’t like the prologue where Sam’s mother was killed. I imagine the author did this in an attempt to provide motive behind Sam’s desire to join the Paladins. However, the author didn’t pay it enough page time to really develop that period of Sam’s life and provide depth. It would have been better as a flashback.

Also, this book had some missed opportunities to address topics related to gender identity and non-normative sexuality. I originally decided to read this because I was curious how it would handle the romance that was alluded to in the summary,

given that Sam is pretending to be male and assuming (like most books) the characters would be heterosexual (they are). This book had an opportunity to either break this particular norm and/or incorporate some elements of sexual fluidity. Unsurprising- it didn’t. As you can infer from the synopsis, there is a love triangle. As expected, when one of the characters finds out Sam is a female, he instantly decides he wants to marry her- despite not previously having romantic feelings for her when she was a ‘male’ and even previously thinking she was annoying. The other romantic story arc is more palatable. This particular character found out Sam’s true identity earlier in the book, and the resulting feelings seemed more genuine.

The final thing I want to briefly address is the world building. If you are the type who craves world-building, then this novel is not for you. Personally, it’s not a deal-breaker for me. I can accept magic or demons or whatever in the novel-verse. I don’t need to know where things come from, the mythology, and/or history of that particular world. This is a universe full of demons and it is briefly mentioned they come from some place called the “Afterlife.” That’s it. No other information is provided. Maybe it will be addressed in book 2, Uriel.

Despite the above criticisms, this is a good book. Over the last week I started about 5 others that I just couldn't finish. I wanted to finish this one so that speaks high of it and I defintely will be reading the sequel.

Check out more of my reviews at TheFantasyBookNook.com and like on Facebook/TheFantasyBookNook
Profile Image for Camly Nguyen.
249 reviews41 followers
June 19, 2015
4.5 stars :'3
I'm actually kind of surprised that I liked it so much considering how the beginning was really not exceptional.

Ok people. I have found something quite important that I needed to voice out. STOP COMPARING EVERY BOOK TO GAME OF THRONES. The only resemblance between this book and GoT is that there are kingdoms and that there are characters in the book. Wow such similarities. Much likeness. If anything, I would say that Paladin is more like Throne of Glass or even better yet, Alanna, but not Game of Fuckin Thrones, ok?

When Sam loses her mother to a fight against a demon, Tristan, a handsome Paladin, randomly appears and saves her (wow that coincidence).
Two years later, Sam decides to join the Paladin to avenge her mom. But there's problem. You have to be a boy. So she dresses up as one and goes to the institute. Wanna guess who's her mentor? You got that right. Tristan. She also happens to have another partner whose name is Braedon. (When no other team has a second partner) He's half demon half human, but he is the sweetest cupcake in the world. Training goes all well until the High Commander asks them to go on a mission to spy on the Uriel, another rival group that kill demons. But when they find the Uriel, they realize that everything is not what it seems and that the line between good and bad, right or wrong is incredibly blurry.

MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

Take out the poor start and this book would've been a 5 stars for me. Not once did I ever know who were the good guys and who were the bad ones. The author always kept us guessing. What if they had hidden motives?What if they were truly saving people? What if they were traitors? What if, what if , what if...
I think this might actually be the first fantasy book that this has happened to me and I loved it!
Also, ah, the wonders of forbidden love. I ship them yo. Romance wasn't rushed and was very intense and sweet. It took time to develop and it isn't all based on physical appearance.

Yes, the plot is pretty simplistic when you think about it because there aren't many sub plots and stuff happening outside the main storyline but it doesn't make the book any bad. I could still die a happy Camly without them.

Characters: Sam is amazeballz. She is doesn't let anyone control her life. She knows what she wants and fights for it. I like that kind of shit.
THAT'S MY JAM YO. Side note: why is she stuttering all the time? Does she have speech impediment or is she just always nervous? We don't really know:/
Braedon is such a cutie patootie. That's all I'm saying and Tristan is pretty cool too though I kind of feel bad for him.

Honestly guys, I can't wait to read the sequel. This is also Slater's debut novel. It's understandable that it isn't perfect, but I have high hopes that the next one will be better.

Profile Image for Twila.
128 reviews112 followers
November 27, 2019
She wanted to be a warrior and a woman, but she wasn't allowed to be both. So she'd made her decision, and if given a second chance she would make it again.

I would hate to live in Sam's world.
It's a terrible time, where women are trapped and don't have the opportunities the men have.
And all Sam wants is to become a Paladin (a demon slayer). So what does she do?

Sam runs away, chops off her hair and pretends to be a boy.

This ultimately just led to some of the most awkward, embarrassing and hilarious scenarios for Sam throughout the book. I did not expect this book to crack me up as much as it did, but it was a nice surprise.
Whenever she blushed or giggled too much, I just had to cringe for her.

Her shoulders sagged. Whoever said the pen was mightier than the sword had never met Tristan.

The side characters, Tristan and Braeden were also really great and enjoyable.

Overall: I can't believe this book isn't more popular and I can't wait for book 2.
Profile Image for Tracy.
Author 5 books516 followers
July 31, 2015
Paladin by Sally Slater is another Wattpad success story. It currently sits at…wait for it… 11.4 million reads and 258K votes and has now been published. It has over 840 ratings on Goodreads - not bad for a book that was published in May this year.

Lady Samantha Heywood, daughter of the Duke of Hayward is a young woman whose life is laid out before her – duty and marriage. Samantha knows she wants more in life, but isn’t sure what “more” is. After witnessing the murder of her mother by a demon and narrowly escaping the same fate, Samantha decides to change the course of her life. After training in secret, Sam Heywood joins the Paladins, an order of knights whose role is to protect the kingdom from demons and other threats – of course they don’t allow women in their ranks.

This is a familiar story line, but you forget that and simply enjoy it, as it's well executed. Slater manages to create engaging characters with emotional depth. Sam is fallible and her character evolves throughout the course of the novel, as do those of the two main male characters.

Here we have a teen who feels trapped and rails against her future, yet doesn’t initially know what she wants – this might be a fantasy novel, but right there in the first few pages is something many in the YA core readership will relate to. (We know almost immediately what is at stake for our heroine. Structure 101- I wish I read more manuscripts that got this right so quickly.)

I like the fact that Slater's heroine has to work hard for what she wants, is not perfect and confronts and often overcomes sexism. On the adventure side of the story, she also faces human and demon adversaries; there are some excellent battles. None of her trials are without cost. There is an emotional cost in terms of her life choices and family as well as a physical cost to her battles. She does not magically defeat her enemies as if she were invincible – she is battered, bruised and nearly killed but doesn’t give up.

What I dislike supremely in fantasy novels is romance dominating the plot entirely (geez people when this happens – just call it a romance, please) and Slater does a very good job of balancing the romance aspect of this story with the action. The reader is presented with the golden haired stereotypical hero and the dark “bad boy” as Sam's potential love interests, however what I liked is that the relationship that Sam finally chooses has been based on a friendship that has developed into something more. It is also a relationship based on mutual respect. There are all the requisite “sparks” and "sizzle" but not at first sight - thank goodness.

Slater has written an excellent, fast paced, YA fantasy novel. To her credit she has provided her readers with a heroine who succeeds in following her dreams, despite many difficulties, and who finds romance without having to compromise her own ideals or career choice - bravo.

This is a rollicking adventure and a great weekend’s escapism - I thoroughly recommend it.

Four Stars.
Profile Image for S.J. Abbo.
Author 3 books105 followers
February 10, 2016
Wath we have here is YA fantasy romance with a strong heroine, great fantasy world, and a great romance. If that still isn't good enough for you then let see what else…

Interesting story – chack
Good writing – chack
Fine dialog– chack
Great characters – chack
Humor- chack
Friendship –chack
Action and intrigue – chack
Hot, brooding bad boy-type love interest – chack, chack, chack …

Did I mention hot, brooding bad b….. Ooooh yes, sorry (blush)!

SAM
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“If this were a fairy tale, I'd be my own Gods damned knight.”


TRISTAN

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“Paladin Tristan Lyons.The man who'd saved her and the reason she was here.”


BRAEDEN

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“Braeden didn’t fear much in life. Why would he be afraid of monsters when he was one himself?”
“Most demons lacked the rational thought patterns underpinning true communication. But they recognized Braeden as one of their own. More than that, they recognized him as their leader. These creatures that were so often agents of chaos bowed to him as though he were the alpha among wolves. Now that frightened him.”

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Your must love men who- “was as violent and as merciless as the hounds who hunted him, but stronger and smarter. He was the predator and they the prey. They died like flies around him.” -and then blush when you caught him staring at you. Aaaaaaaa

The end is not a cliffhanger, it is HEA, but you know there isn't The End…
Can't wait next one!!!
Profile Image for Cee (The Mistress Case).
253 reviews161 followers
Read
November 30, 2015
Unrated Review Because the Stars Don't Matter

Judging from its cover and Goodreads summary, Paladin was not what I pictured, which is quite frustrating to say when these words border right between positivity and negativity. My judgment can tip over to any side, so here's my mixed opinion of the good and bad:

The whole girl-disguises-as-boy-to-fight has been done countless times in the fantasy genre and this book won't stand out.

The writing was too simplistic and dull for my taste, but at least time and effort wasn't wasted on pointless descriptions.

The action scenes don't play out to the point of mind-numbing exhaustion.

The plot is driven by the main characters traveling from place to place. Although I love adventures, it was a chore sometimes to care where they were at and where they were going next.

Last but not least, the characters' interactions were engaging, but at times, it got too cheesy for me and there were a few parts I would deemed as unnecessary filler scenes. Especially when it came to the developing romance with its cliché dialogs.



ARC provided through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Muse-ic ♬.
379 reviews110 followers
October 27, 2015
Alrighty Bros! I know some of you haven't read this book yet, so I will not cover this review with an epic spoiler alert because you may want to read some of it.
There WILL be epic spoilers in this review. That I can promise you. But I will warn you. In fact it should be pretty easy to avoid the spoilers since the only non-spoilery section will be the beginning, where I will be speaking generally. After that, I will let you know that the spoilers are about to begin, so it will be "read at you own risk" time.

And in all seriousness, if you haven't read Paladin, you must read it! If you plan on reading it, then please, for your sake, don't intrude on spoiler territory because you will not enjoy the book as much!

That being said, shall we begin? (It's a rhetorical question. You don't really have a say in the matter.Sorry!)

REMINDER: This is the NON-spoiler section. Most of it is the prologue and summary.

Once upon a time, Lady Samantha of Haywood lived in a castle with her mother and father, the Duke and Duchess. Samantha has accepted her future: she must marry, produce children, and inherit the dukedom once her father dies since she is his only heir. However on the side, she enjoys learning to fight and wield weapons. Her father doesn't support it, yet he doesn't quite discourage it.
One day, Samantha is sulking out in the woods, when her mother joins her to console her. Her mother does support her learning to fight and is very proud of her. Suddenly, they are attacked by a demon!
In order to escape, mother and daughter run in different directions since the demon cannot possibly go after them both. Unfortunately, the demon chose to go after her mother (Let's get real here. It would be unfortunate either way).

Hearing her screams, Samantha runs back to her dying mother. Enraged, she attempts to attack the demon with a stick, since she conveniently left all her weapons back at the castle. Random hero conveniently shows up and kills the monster. His name is Tristan Lyons and he is a Paladin, which is a group of warriors dedicated to fighting the demons that plague their world.

For the next two years, Samantha dedicates her time and effort to practicing sword fighting and increasing her bodily strength. It's her her dream to join the Paladins.

One slight problem with that plan............she's a girl.
So she goes all Mulan and chops her hair off, binds her breasts (ouch!), and wears boys clothes. This wasn't exactly mentioned but I think she added a pocket of air downstairs as well......for the sake of appearances. Lady Samantha go bye-bye. Hello Sam of Haywood, the son of a nonexistent duke.

When new people join to train to become Paladins, they are assigned a full Paladin as a sort of mentor who trains them. Guess who Sam's mentor was........

Hahahahahahahaha why Tristan of course! Sam is worried he'll recognize her, even though it's been two years, but he doesn't. There are a few more important character introduced at the beginning you may want to know about.

High Commander: The leader of the Paladins and a very powerful man.
Braeden: Half demon and half human. He joined the Paladins because he feels he owes a dept to humanity for harming people when his demon side takes over.

Okay BYE if you haven't read this yet. I promise you it's great!! It's so exciting, there is some romance that isn't over the top, and it's also quite humorous! It's like a package of everything good in a book. Go read it.
BYE!!!!



So throughout this book I sort of went back and forth between who to ship.
And now......the moment you've all been waiting for......
All you Tristan-lovers, I'm sorry.
I've decided to ship Samden.

*waits as the storm of shouts fades away*



Allow me to explain. I really like Tristan! But he totally changed when he found out Sam was a girl, and not just any girl, but the girl he was betrothed to.
He started treating her like a girl. And by that, I mean in a subtly proprietary manner.
When she woke up, one of the first things he asked her was to marry him.
I was sitting there like she just woke up from a very nearly fatal stab wound close to the heart! And the first thing you do is treat her like the fairer sex and ask her to marry you?
It wasn't the marriage proposal I was opposed to. It was the way he treated her so delicately, and not like a wounded person. Like a delicate flower. Like a girl.
I didn't like how he started acting like a goofball either, and it was weird. I like him better around boys.
But I still like Tristan, as I said before. I ship Traddie!
I loved Addie and her attitude, by the way. She is absolutely FABULOUS!

I just realized that I have been using the word "fabulous" quite often lately. I go through phases in which I subconsciously get hooked on a certain word or phrase. Right now it's "Fabulous". A while ago is was "feel free to do so". Once upon a time, it was "cool beans". You get the idea.
I apologize if I use the word "fabulous" too much for your taste. I also feel the need to add that I felt this book warrants many uses of the word ^^

Back to the love triangle. So I always had a soft spot for Braeden. I went through mood swings about him. For example, when the High Commander shows up at their tent because he's actually Braeden's master. I wanted to KILL Braeden right then and there! I posted a status update on it too!

Buuuuuut that was before Braeden came in and became a hero. Uggh it's so hard to hate people when they do that!! Also he's totally HAWT!
Allow me to add an important piece of information.
Braeden is nicely cut, lean, and lithe.
Tristan is well-built and bulky.

I'm more of the lean guy girl. Honestly, the idea that a guys biceps could dwarf my face is kinda scary.
I think that may have been one of the other factors that drew me to Braeden.
I also like guys who have a sensitive side, whether it's obvious or not (many don't like to show their sensitive side ^^). Braeden definitely had a sensitive and caring side, and it showed even more once he found out that Sam was a girl. He did try to take care of her more, but Sam put a stop to that, thank goodness.

Can we talk about the moment of truth, when Braeden found out about Sam's gender identity?
ABSOLUTELY HILARIOUS!



After Tristan, Braeden, and Sam visit the Duke of Haywood (Samantha's father), Tristan learns that his betrothed Lady Samantha has "died".
A now-angry Tristan decides he wants to party and drink the sadness away (Guys, if you're depressed, do NOT try this at home.)
And by "party" he meant paying a nice visit to the local brothel.
Also Tristan is convinced that Sam is a virgin (which she is) and that it was time for "him" to become a man by losing "his" virginity.

*walks into brothel*
Tristan: As for special requests, do you have a girl who's good with, ah, inexperience?
.....later in the room....
Prostitute: There's naught but air in your codpiece........I felt what I felt.....you're a woman.
....later when Sam gets Braeden and brings him back to her room....
"Sam's whore sat on her knees in the middle of the bed, her hands and ankles bound behind her, her mouth gagged. She wore only her chemise; her bindings and gag appeared to have been fashioned from the white fabric of what used to be her dress.
'Gods, Sam.'
'It's not what you think!' Sam added quickly.


LOL! But, yeah. After they took off the prostitute's gag, she spilled the news about Sam.
Thankfully, Braeden wasn't like "CODE RED CODE RED! A WOMAN A WOMAN!"
He just hid Sam's secret and although he did act a bit more protective of her at times, she did keep reminding him of her strength and ability to take care of herself. She totally stood up for herself and dignity!



Technical aspects of this book:
The conversations were hilarious! And most of the time, they flowed so naturally I got so absorbed!
I almost forgot I was reading a book! That's how addicted I was!
Characters? Amazing!
Setting was pretty good as well.

Let's address the Uriel issue. Also what exactly does the High Commander want?? I like that Sander guy. It's interesting because in the case of this book, we're looking from the perspective of the villain in a way. It was strange to see the opposing side acting with such gentlemanly courtesy, even though he was being kidnapped!


Guys guys guys guys guys! Sam is so awesome and totally kick-ass! And we all know how much I love those ;)


So the million dollar question: Will I read the next one?



Profile Image for C.P. Cabaniss.
Author 4 books95 followers
April 4, 2016
*I received a copy of this novel through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

I requested this book because I love fantasy and it seemed fairly interesting. When I started I thought it would be enjoyable, but I didn't have high expectations. I got a lot more than I thought I would.

The characters were fun, the story interesting, the world well developed. It wasn't overly complex, but for the intended audience I think that works well. It was addictive. I had a hard time putting it down. The ending was beautiful but leaves plenty of room for a sequel (which I've heard is in progress). A solid read full of emotion.

You can read my full review here: http://courtneysreads.blogspot.com/20...
Profile Image for Alicia Batista (Addicted Readers).
256 reviews506 followers
January 12, 2016

4.5 STARS

PALADIN was a dark and entangled world where demons roam killing anything in their paths, and lies and deception baths the streets of their world, and one girl is willing to fight for what she believes in, even if she has to become someone else in the process…

THE PALADIN was such a great book that I thoroughly enjoyed! I was pleasantly surprised of how much I ended up liking this book. Because to be honest, I didn't have very high hopes for it after reading the synopsis. It sounded too common to be anything spectacular, but I was still intrigued enough to give it a try! And let me tell you, I am soooo happy I went out on a limb with this one, because it did NOT disappoint one bit!!

I enjoyed the world-building a lot. We weren't just in one setting throughout this novel, we traveled all over their fictional county. All while engaging in epic sword fights, evading vicious enemies, slaughtering evil demons, and fulfilling their High Commanders dubious agenda. I liked that the plot kept moving and we didn't stay in one place for more then a day or so, and with each new atmosphere we had a new thrilling adventure that brought tons of fun!

All three of the main characters were awesome. First up we have Sam, the quick tempered headstrong girl pretending to be a boy in order to follow her dreams of becoming a member of the Paladins, fighting to take down the wicked demons wreaking havoc all over their world. Sam has a feisty and determine personality, when she wants something bad enough she won't take no for an answer, and I admired that about her! She's strong mentally and physically, and a badass with a sword, and just as skilled in combat. I REALLY liked Sam from the very beginning, and by the end, I LOVED her!!

Next we have Tristin, the desirable and unbeatable Top Paladin that is either hated or praised for his skill and contbution to the Paladins. I liked Tristin a lot too, he was a great addition to their little trio group, and was Sam and Braeden's strong mentor and leader. He was the glue that held them all together. I liked his dominance and sure demeanor he carried. He was definitely attractive and would make any girl squeal in giddiness if he was near. But for me he was just not the one for Sam, and in the end I hated his bitterness he carried for her, and the lack of respect for her feelings. But other then that, Tristin was a GREAT character that I look forward to seeing more of in book two!!

Then we have my favorite male pratanitost, Braeden!! He raged a heart full of emotions within me! Braeden was half demon half human, but was always categorized and berated as a lowly demon, regardless of his noble acts. But in truth, even with his half demon blood, Braeden had a heart that would put most humans to shame! But he also had a dark side that would unintentionally crave horrible things, and would even ride the line of evil sometimes. But nevertheless, Braeden was a wonderful character with plenty of development and great personalization. And I LOVED the slow-burn relationship him and Sam developed throughout this book. It was sweet and perfect, and so utterly right in so many ways!

THE PLOT:

Samantha, Daughter of the Duke of Haywood is not ready to give into her fathers insane plans of marriage and popping out babies to a noble Lord. Instead, she wants her freedom to be who she really is, to wield her sword and fight like any good solider, but most importantly, to have the skill and knowhow to take down the same monsters that took her mother away, demons! And two years after her mothers brutal murder, she's ready to finally take the first step in claiming her life as hers, but first she has to become someone else…

Sam has always favored swords over dresses, and thanks to her mother pressuring her father, she was taught at a young age to defend herself. And now that demons killed her mother she wants to join the Paladins, a organization that defends the citizens against demons. But theirs just one problem, you have to be a boy to join, something "Samantha" is not. Until she cuts off her hair, binds her chest, and straps on her sword on top of boys clothes, now she must convince the Paladins that she is not only a boy, but also worthy of joining their cause…

Accepted into the Paladins and faced with more then she signed up for, Sam has to do her best to blend in and stay off anyone's radar. But when she's teamed with Tristin, her childhood savor, she realizes just how way in over her head she really is. But then another Paladin trainee is paired with her and Tristin, and she finds it hard keeping her heart from pounding and doing weird flips. But when you’re a girl pretending to be a boy, having uncertain feelings for a sunned half demon makes things a little complicated.

But all that could be the least of their worries as a new group is rising the ranks and challenging everything the Paladins stand for, and forcing their honor and motive to be questioned. In order to find answers, Sam, Tristin, and Braeden are tasked with a mission all over the lands, seeking answers and restoring the Paladins name. But as Sam and her little trio start to unravel the deceiving web, they start to question everything they once knew about the Paladins, and their leader that rules them all…

But with the demon count rising, and demons who have not been seen in thousands of years showing up and killing anyone they can get their hands on, and running into enemy groups as they travel, and Sam's undeniable attraction to Braeden, their all in for one hell of a ride. But first, Sam has to make them believe she's really a boy!!

Overall, PALADIN was such a fun read that surprised me in so many ways. I loved just about everything about this book and am eagerly awaiting and anticipating the much needed sequel releasing in 2016.
Profile Image for Kathryn Ford.
Author 1 book83 followers
December 29, 2015
It is strange, this book didn't have a great story line, the detail was really lacking until the last third of the book where it suddenly turned it up! So many things were inconsistent regarding the paladin training, travelling distances, demons... And the plot was pretty predictable, there was only one surprise that I didn't see coming! Yet I really enjoyed this book! It was the amazing characters that brought it all to life. I haven't read a book where the characters stand out so much and can actually make me enjoy a book even with all the mistakes and lack of detail. I hope that the next book follows the detail of the last third of this book!

Sam, was an amazing female lead. She was brave, witty, very likable and even though she was pretending to be male, she still didn't lose her femininity completely. I enjoyed reading her personal struggles with herself. And okay I do love a female lead that can land a guy on his ass! ;)

Tryston, hahahaha! What an idiot! But, I liked him. He made me laugh so much. He was trying to be this big mentor and everything, but he was such an idiot.

Braden, wow now he was definitely unique. I enjoyed his personal struggles not just with society but with himself and yeah I can't say too much without giving things away.

I enjoyed that we followed all three characters, not only getting how they viewed themselves, but how the others viewed them. It was a good mix.
So even though the story, the plot, the world is lacking a lot, I'd say still give it a try, just sit back and enjoy the characters. :)
Profile Image for Hollie.
1,672 reviews
March 17, 2016

This made for a fun fantasy read. I'm not usually a big fan of Young Adult reads but I'm glad to have given this one a try. Here's my breakdown:

Pros:
* Offered as a kindleunlimited
* A strong willed and independent, badass heroine
* Action packed

Cons:
* At times I found myself tiring of the 3 main characters constantly moving from one town to another - It felt as if much of the book was wasted by redundant details of them moving from one area to the next and little else occurred.
* I'm not a fan of love triangles, and this one did have that to an extent, but it wasn’t overly done and I was never excessively bothered by this - I still could have done without that element though
* The ending left much to be desired - I just wanted more - an epilogue years down the road could have done wonders

Overall, I'm glad to have given this one a try and I will definitely check out more of this writers work.
Profile Image for Carol (StarAngel's Reviews) Allen.
1,681 reviews595 followers
May 31, 2016
Very enjoyable book about Sam and her adventures of being a boy/Paladin.

The author did a great job of throwing in some comedic areas to break apart the seriousness of their journey into the West.

I loved the Demon aspect and never saw the Master and who he was coming....totally threw me for a loop!

I'm still debating whether I am going to read the next book in the series because I was kinda depressed with the triangle thingy.
Profile Image for Anja H..
697 reviews450 followers
January 29, 2019
I read this book some time ago and I really liked it!
Profile Image for Tina.
422 reviews43 followers
September 30, 2016
4,5 very good one!


Vorbemerkung
..........................

Kurz vorweg erzählt: Die Autorin Sally Slater hatte "Paladin" zunächst Stück für Stück vollständig auf Wattpad veröffentlicht, bis es dann in überarbeiteter Fassung im Verlag erschien. Schon dabei hat sie zahlreiche Fans gewonnen, die mit Freuden das Buch später (obwohl sie es im Prinzip schon kannten) "noch einmal" gelesen/gekauft haben. Fairerweise muss man aber sagen, die Überarbeitung war enorm. Die Autorin erklärte es so, im Prinzip ein neues Buch, aber mit denselben Charakteren, derselben Stimmung etc. "Paladin" hat also eine riesen Entwicklung hinter sich.

Inhalt
.............

Lady Samantha von Haywood macht ihrem Namen keine allzu große Ehre. Statt in hübschen Kleidchen zu dinieren, schwingt sie lieber das Schwert und jagt Dämonen. Als ihr Vater Heiratspläne für sie schmiedet, gibt es nur einen Ausweg: die Flucht ins Unbekannte. Aus Lady Samantha wird Sam, die sich verkleidet der Ausbildung als Paladin stellt. Dort zeigt sich schnell, dass Sam einiges auf dem Kasten hat. Doch ihr Ausbilder ist ausgerecht Tristan, der ihr einst das Leben rettete. Das macht es für Sam umso schwerer, ihre neue Rolle zu spielen. Aber nicht nur sie hat mit sich und ihrer Welt zu kämpfen, auch ihr Trainee-Partner Braeden halb Dämon halb Mensch muss einen steinigen Weg gehen...

Mein Eindruck
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Ich muss sagen, ich war von "Paladin" hin und weg. Es hatte so viel Charakter, enorm viel Herz und Gefühl. Gerade emotional gesehen hat "Paladin" ein Level, bei dem ich selbst mit Haut und Haaren dabei bin. Kein Kitsch, kein Ramsch, stattdessen spielen sich die Konflikte in ihren Grundfesten ab und sind äußerst nachvollziehbar. Sam hat Träume und Wünsche, doch dafür das falsche Geschlecht. Darum wirft sie alles über Bord, startet neu und stellt sich dabei großen Gefahren. Denn jeden Moment könnte ihre Verkleidung als junger Mann enttarnt werden - doch das ist es wert. Jede Sekunde, in der sie Schweiß und Tränen lässt, aber stetig über sich hinauswächst und sich den Dämonen stellt.

An ihrer Seite ist Tristan Lyons, der bereits legendäre aber selbst noch relativ junge Paladin und Ausbilder. Dann natürlich noch Braeden, der gemeinsam mit Sam die Ausbildung zum Paladin begonnen hat. Braeden ist ein absolut wundervoller Charakter. Halb Mensch, halb Dämon steht er ständig an der Schwelle zwischen noch Menschsein und dem Monster, zu dem er jederzeit werden kann. Doch nicht nur das, ständig muss er gegen Vorurteile seiner Mitmenschen kämpfen und sich behaupten. Sam und Braeden verbindet mit der Zeit ein ganz besonderes Band der Freundschaft, aus Akzeptanz und Toleranz. Doch auch Tristan spielt eine große Rolle, er ist von Ehrgefühl und Treue geleitet, bekommt aber zunehmend Befehle, die ihn zwiespalten.

So gesehen ist "Paladin" tatsächlich eine große und lange Reise. Drei Gefährten, jede Menge Konflikte, aber auch große Gefühle von Freundschaft und Zusammenhalt. Es macht einen riesen Spaß diesen Charakteren durch eine Welt voller Gefahren und Dämonen zu folgen. Die Menschheit wird hier seit jeher von Dämonen bedroht, nach zahlreichen Rückschlägen, aber auch Siegen, droht nun eine endgültige Auseinandersetzung. Gleichzeitig sind auch die Menschen gespalten, zwischen den traditionsreichen Paladin und den Uriel, die sich unabhängig dem Kampf gegen die Dämonen verschrieben haben. Tristan, Sam und Braeden geraten zwischen die Fronten und müssen sich irgendwann entscheiden...

"Paladin" hat vielleicht nicht die grandioseste Storyline, doch es bietet dabei so viel Stimmung, Charakter und Herz, dass es nicht allzu sehr ins Gewicht fällt. Hier zeigt sich wieder einmal, wie wichtig die Figuren eines Buches sind. Stimmt hier alles, hat der Rest es nicht allzu schwer auch zu überzeugen. Alles in allem ergibt sich ein rundes Gesamtbild, das mir jede Menge Freude bereitet hat. Nur sprachlich gesehen wünschte ich, die Figuren wären nur etwa halb so oft "errötet". Aber bei einem Debüt lasse ich das noch einmal durchgehen und komme dennoch zu den höchsten Regionen meiner Bewertung. Denn "Paladin" hat es sich mit seinem stimmigen Gesamtpaket durch und durch verdient!

Fazit
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Es gibt Bücher, die gehen mitten ins Herz und das trifft auf Paladin zu 150 % zu. Sam, Breaden und Tristan, diese Figuren wird man so schnell nicht vergessen. Sicher an manchen Stellen hätte der Plot raffinierter und noch durchdachter sein können - doch er ist mitreißend und kann gerade so noch bei Stimmung, Figuren und Emotionen mithalten. Sam ist eine überragende Heldin, die sich mit einem Schwert zu verteidigen weiß, aber noch viel zu lernen hat. Doch auch in emotionaler Hinsicht muss sie erst noch begreifen, was es heißt, eine Kriegerin zu sein. Selten habe ich ein Buch erlebt, das so stimmig in all seinen emotionalen Konflikten war, da werde selbst ich stellenweise zur Romantikerin. Daumen hoch und hoffentlich gibt es bald noch mehr zu lesen!


Voller Charme und Herz - sehr empfehlenswert!
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