For the record, this review is wrought with spoilers.

I sincerely debated giving this novel one star on the principle that I was forcing my way through to the end, but Paul knows how to write a sentence, he just didn’t catch the flow on how to tell a story. All of the reviews tell me this novel is written for young boys, but honestly, what age group? This novel is a mish-mash of wanting to be more adult and acting entirely too childish. “No, this character can’t die like this,” “No, let’s wait for the contrived story-telling,” and then in the same breath quite brutally kills off another character. The worst part about this novel is that when it is interesting the title character is nowhere to be found. Gladius is bland to the point of he could have been anyone else and been more interesting. Gladius also has this way of tripping over someone who can help, just in the nick of time.

The Bartlett Trial itself is barely explained, even though for the first 30% of the novel Paul was spoon-feeding us plot instead of letting it develop naturally. When it did develop naturally it was by the coincidence that, hey, there’s someone to help. We get a damsel who needs rescuing who should be dirtier and has absolutely not discernible reason ever given throughout the novel as to how she would be “helpful” later locked away from someone to just happen to trip over. Birds and bats can talk but the giant cat that attacked Gladius in the first scene can’t, why is that? We hear a very long story about a dragon that has nothing to do with anything other than the person works with dragons.

Oh, my favorite, “Gladius’ weight sent him falling past Elle and landing hard against the cliff fifteen feet below.” Someone ignores physics. If she is lower than him there is no way by simply falling he ends up under her “because of his weight”. No. Way. Speaking of no way moments, Albino bats? Kind of cool. Except they only come out in the day. You do know there are other problems with albino than that they are white, correct? The other being the sensitivity to light. So the author wanted day bats and for them to be white, that would have worked, but to call them Albino is just again going for the cool word rather than the logistics of the creature.

All of this honestly just makes me angrier because I can tell Paul can write, but to be honest it just was hardly worth the effort here. Does it mean I would never read anything by him again? No. I’d like to see him write something and just go for what it is he wants and not for what he thinks will sell.

Reasons to Read:

– Doc and the storyline between the two brothers are interesting

Reasons Not to Read:

– All of that stuff up there