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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Jeremy Austin and the Paladin by Rod C. Spence is the second book in the Jeremy Austin series. Six teenagers are far from home; 2.4 million light years away to be exact. They only wanted to find their scientist parents, but their rescue mission quickly went awry when they found themselves trapped on a hostile planet called Genesis. The teenagers not only have to face the dangers of the planet but also the Meta Universal soldiers that are willing to harm them if the teens go against their plans. When three of the teenagers have been taken by the gnomes, they get a look at the violent plans the gnome king has in store. Each of the teenagers has a role to play and each must rise to their full potential if they stand a chance at surviving.
The world is brutal and gritty, full of violence and with danger around every turn as the characters constantly face being enslaved or held captive. Everything takes place on the planet Genesis which is a world like a high fantasy adventure with elves, gnomes, and wizards, among other beings. But Rod C. Spence also incorporates a science fiction flair running through the story as the events revolve around a failed expedition to find a missing expedition. The science fiction elements focus on the companies TerraGen and Meta Universal, which make use of biotechnology and allow for travel to this hostile planet. The story weaves through various perspectives with each tying back to the expedition or to the theme of survival. Jeremy is the Paladin, but he struggles to believe in himself and in his role through each volatile moment. Throughout, people either want the Paladin dead or have placed all their hopes in him and, as the story progresses, the meaning of the Paladin is explored and what Jeremy is capable of.
Every second these teenagers struggle to survive while everyone seems to work against them. Spence keeps you on the edge of your seat through every moment, leaving you to wonder if these teenagers are going to make it through to the end. Along with the perspectives of the teenagers are a few others seen from TerraGen and the mystery of the missing expedition only grows. Jeremy Austin and the Paladin is an addictive read with a dangerous adventure, six teenagers in a fight for survival, and a planet looking for hope.