cover image The Blood Guard

The Blood Guard

Carter Roy. Amazon/Two Lions, $17.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-4778-4725-1

Debut novelist Roy (a pseudonym for agent Michael Stearns) launches a sharp and energetic trilogy with a breakneck opening and an everyboy narrator who becomes enmeshed in extraordinary circumstances. The improbably named (outside of fantasy novels) Evelyn Ronan Truelove's mother picks him up from school and takes him on a madcap car chase. Once they escape their pursuers, she explains that Ronan's many extracurricular activities—gymnastics, judo, etc.—were to help train him to join the Blood Guard, the secret organization she belongs to whose job it is to protect The Pure, the handful of humans so impossibly good, they balance out the sins of the rest of the world. Along the way, Ronan fights an evil organization called the Bend Sinister and teams up with a girl named Greta and a boy named Jack. The use of familiar fantasy devices is balanced by Roy's narrative verve and multilayered characters, who display genuine emotion and self-awareness. Breathless action, witty dialogue, and unabashed fun should keep most readers from noticing that the plot sometimes stretches itself thin. Ages 10–up. Agent: the Inkhouse. (Mar.)