Carter Roy showed up a little while ago on Fangirlish in a 2 for 1 Friday Review Column. His The Blood Guard series reminding me a lot of the show Librarians. In his books, while the leads are much younger, the grappling of destiny and protection of the best in this world holds true for them just as much as it does for the adults in the Librarians. We all should task ourselves accordingly given the destructive nature society as a whole has embraced without realizing how much of the arts has been lost because of it.
What I like best about Roy’s books is what they’re inspired by. The Blood Guard series follows three main individuals – Ronan, Greta and Sammy – who all find places among the the Blood Guard. This secret society, explained in the first book of the series, The Blood Guard, protect the Pure— thirty-six noble souls whose safety is crucial if the world as we know it, is to survive. While clearly a work of imaginative fantasy, this concept is taken from the Kabbalah, which says there exists thirty-six special people whose purity of soul redeems the rest of humanity. (Kabbalistic folklore calls them tzaddikim or nistarim, though elsewhere, and in The Blood Guard series, they are known as the thirty-six Pure.) If the souls of enough of these pure ones were somehow to be permanently or prematurely extinguished, our world would end.
It gives readers pause and I hope makes them see the importance of humanity. We should all be looking out for each other whether or not we believe there are souls out there who if were gone would cause the world to end. Just be nice, yeah?
The Glass Gauntlet, (which came out yesterday!!!) reinforces this idea that who we are, the decisions we make affect others more than we realize and that a little kindness can make huge differences in the world. It picks up the action where The Blood Guard left off and delivers another thrilling escapade. Ronan just barely escaped from his father’s clutches, and now, determined to prove himself worthy of being a member of the Blood Guard, he embarks on a mission with his friends Greta and Sammy, led by the strangely immortal and enigmatic Jack Dawkins.
In order to acquire the Damascene ’Scope, a device that is key to the Blood Guard’s plan, the kids must enter a competition called The Glass Gauntlet, in which they perform dangerous tasks with no rules and no safety net. The friends soon discover none of their competitors are who they seem, and there are hidden threats at every turn. As Ronan tries to win the tests and determine who if any are his allies, he steels himself for another inevitable face-off with his father.
Nothing like a Star Wars set up to get the fantasy lover in me wondering if there will be a redemption arc. Speaking of which, yeah… that comparison of Ronan’s father to the dark side was done on purpose. I do think middle grade fans of Star Wars, Percy Jackson and the Magisterium series should check this series out – for obvious reasons, right? Well okay, if it isn’t obvious Carter Roy writes snarky dialogue, knows his audience what with references to Minecraft and quirky Tees with adventure-filled plots and heroes of all types… then check out our exclusive interview with him. He’s one cool dude! You’re really going to like him.
- Favorite Color & Why?
- Scarlet. It’s the color of fever and passion; of the Pimpernel and one of Robin Hood’s Merry Men. Long ago it meant “wicked,” but these days it more simply means “fiery” and dangerous. It’s the kind of color that won’t back down.
- Favorite Fictional Villain & Why?
- Severus Snape. No, he’s not truly a villain—but we think he is a baddie right up until the end of the Harry Potter series, when we understand that he is one of the great heroes of the books. He’s one of the saddest and most complex characters in kids’ lit.
- Favorite Hero & Why?
- John Carter of Mars. There’s his name, for one thing. But as was made clear in the truly excellent movie, he’s a virtuous character no matter which world he finds himself on. The Edgar Rice Burroughs books are longtime favorites of mine.
- Favorite Summer Vacation?
- Camp Marston, a camp in San Diego I attended for a few weeks when I was eleven. Absolutely awesome. Swimming, canoeing, hiking, horseback riding, and topping it off each night, ghost stories told round a campfire. Best thing ever for a city kid like me.
- Favorite Subject in School & Why?
- English and creative writing. What can I say? I have always loved reading and writing.
- Pokemon or Transformers?
- Pokémon, most definitely. They fight battles, they gain in skill, and they can even evolve into higher level creatures. Not to slam Transformers, of course. Sometimes what you need is a giant robot to beat some sense into the world.
- Zelda or Mario Bros.?
- Can I have both? Characters with Mario skills and abilities solving Zelda-like adventures? Wouldn’t that be cool? It totally would. Someone needs to get on the horn to Nintendo and get them to cross the two franchises. I would play that game in a heartbeat.
Carter Roy is the author of The Blood Guard and its sequels, as well as a forthcoming novel from Delacorte/Random House Children’s Books. He lives in New York with his wife, a spiky cat, and far too many books.
And for those of you dying to know about the next book… oh yeah… I got you some scoop.
Though the surface struggle is Ronan’s fight with the Bend Sinister, the more interesting dilemma – and the one that will prove Ronan has come into his own – has to do with Greta. Is he her friend or her protector? Can he both? Hmmm… while Ronan struggles to come to grips with those questions, he has to play games of cat and mouse on the subways of NYC, learn surprising revelations about the Blood Guard and have an epic face-off with his father atop the suspension cables of the Brooklyn Bridge.