On The Cover: Ethan lives a secret life as a Guardian of the Named. Under the guidance of Arkarian, his mentor, and with the help of Isabel, his unlikely but highly capable apprentice, Ethan has become a valued member of this other-worldly corps. As the only defense against the evil Order of Chaos, the Named travel through time to prevent the Order from altering history and thereby gaining power in the present and the future.
As the threat from the Order intensifies, secrets of the past are revealed and villains and heroes are exposed. This gripping fantasy is set in modern times, but is infused with intrigue from the past, super-natural characters and surprising plot twists. Curley has written a winner through to the end.
Why I Chose It: I had read The Named when I was a teenager and I was curious to read it again and see if I still loved the story.
I absolutely love the secret society in this story. The way that Isobel becomes an apprentice and begins training definitely appeals to my adventurous side and I get swept up in the excitement. There are so many good details about training that allows the reader to progressively learn about the Guardians along with Isabel, but it never feels like an information dump or a boring history – the story remains upbeat and interesting as Isabel tackles the next task. Plus the idea that they are working for a greater cause remains strong throughout the book and I loved that there was a bigger picture to the story, making me eager to read and learn more.
A huge aspect of this novel is the time travel, and this is one of those stories that hits the nail on the head. The time traveling aspect is believable because Ethan and Isabel don’t quite understand how it works, and so the reader is not required to know either. I really appreciate that there are established rules about time travel that Ethan and Isabel have to follow, and the suggestion that the greater beings have set these rules in place. Finally, the setting and situations they encounter in the past are completely believable and I really enjoyed the trips to different times.
Finally, I have to mention the love story. This is one of those love stories I remember fondly. There is no love triangle, which wins major points from me, but more than that it’s not obvious, and I love that a love story can catch me off guard and delight me so much. The story is really organic and sweet, and my heart always melts when I read it. But as great as the love story is, it is not the main issue nor does it take over the story, which all adds up to a really well-balanced novel.
I enjoyed this story a lot when I was younger, and I’m happy to say I still enjoy it now. This is just one of the really great adventure stories that you can read again and again and still get swept away. There are so many good mysteries and questions, and the story definitely feeds into the reader’s need to know more. The writing may be a little simple for adult readers, but is well-suited for teenaged readers. Definitely check this one out if you’re looking for an adventure, training for secret societies, or time travel!
Rating: 4 / 5
“The most difficult aspect of my own training was getting past my inner disbelief. The amazing things Arkarian told me about, I had to see for myself. And I was only four, an age when imagination and reality run a fine line. So I decide, as long as I’m careful no one’s watching, to show Isabel a little of what I can do.” p 35
“Now I know I really should tell him, but again he hasn’t stopped for ask, assuming, I guess, that as I’m a girl, a small one at that, I wouldn’t have any physical skills. So I let him explain the basic points on stance and breathing and how important it is to control the mind. He paces through a simple self-defensive movement I learned six years ago in my first lesson. Then I throw him.” p 68
“The Citadel? It’s neither here nor there. You can’t see it in the mortal world, that’s all I know. Arkarian says it kind of dwells in a place between worlds. But I’m assured it’s the safest place in the universe. It can’t be got to, even though both sides inhabit its interior in their transit stages. The problem is, we can’t stay long ’cause time is immeasurable here, and it’s easy to linger longer than you think with too much time passing in our mortal world.” p 115