In Terrien’s (The Rampart Guards, 2016) YA fantasy sequel, a teenager comes face to face with shape-shifters and unwanted responsibilities.
Sadie Callahan is a 14-year-old orphan living with her grandmother, Mamo. The girl’s best friend, Jason Lex, is a Rampart Guard, responsible for maintaining the balance between humans and cryptids—supernatural beings such as Bigfoot, Yowies (“Like Bigfoot, but from Australia”), and the Loch Ness Monster. When Jason is called away, Sadie is able to spend some time being a normal 14-year-old girl—doing her homework, dealing with jerks at school, and meeting a boy. But just as Sadie’s life starts becoming comfortable and happy, it takes a turn for the worse. People start spontaneously and mysteriously falling asleep at school; then Mamo gets sick, and Sadie can’t get through to Jason. Then, one day, she comes home and finds Mamo unconscious on the floor, with a strange man kneeling at her side, appearing to throttle her. Sadie fights him off, but her questions are just beginning. It turns out that Mamo has been keeping secrets, and the past catches up with Sadie when a group called the Clan comes calling. In Sadie, Terrien presents readers with a strong, relatable female protagonist. She could have remained merely an important secondary character in the series—a curious Hermione Granger to Jason Lex’s adventurous Harry Potter; instead, she’s entrusted with the lead role here, and Terrien makes sure that she plays it very well. The author also paints the Callahans’ home life with the kind of vivid familiarity that makes them seem like real people, each with their own distinct likes and dislikes, personalities, drives, and mannerisms. Sadie herself is resilient yet vulnerable—a teen whose adolescent concerns and travails do much to complement the supernatural storyline, and her relationship with Mamo, in particular, is one of the book’s highlights. Terrien’s prose style is undemanding but inclusive; the audience will quickly find themselves caught by the plot’s current, but it’s the unaffectedness of Terrien’s writing that will first entice them into the water.
A fresh installment with a realistic protagonist whom teens will want to follow into the realms of the paranormal.