The Palladium by Thorsten Brandl
4 stars – one of the best I’ve read
This is also an ARC read, and luckily, I could listen to it. I always find it hard to read eBook formats; either a hard copy or audiobook for me.
Read: Nov. 7 – Nov. 11, 2022
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Fully Exceeded My Expectations
Michael Baker is just a struggling author, not expecting that the day he claims a prize from the local radio station that his life will flip upside down. Now, he finds himself with a stray dog, a strange new tattoo, and the fate of the world on his shoulders. An ancient artifact known as the Palladium has been lost to the enemy, and demons are set on dragging every human soul down to Hell, with only Michael and a handful of others standing in their way.
My expectations were middle-of-the-road for this one, and oh my gosh did it blow those out of the water! I’ve never enjoyed an ARC read so much as I did this one! I have a few critiques, but overall, this was a very well-written novel and I highly recommend it. The only reason I haven’t rated this with five stars is because of the romantic subplot not being to my taste and because of the minor grammatical/spelling errors.
It’s not initially obvious, but this book takes place in Germany in 1996 (the epilogue takes place in 2021). It is mentioned that the characters are speaking in German, as one character is distinctly described to switch to “perfect English” when speaking to Michael, who lived in America for a while.
The characters were all delightful and believable to read, though my biggest criticism comes from the romantic interests within this book. It delves into soulmates, and while I’m not averse to romance in books, I am averse to that. I don’t believe in soulmates as a concept except in books where the plot revolves around the idea. If the book is mainly action, adventure, or otherwise, I don’t like it.
The main character, Michael, and the ensemble around him were interesting. Michael was a great protagonist, not overly powerful but still special enough to be the Chosen One, as it were. He spent a lot of time being confused so the reader could learn things alongside him, and I liked that it wasn’t overly expositional as it divulged this important information. As for the rest of the cast, I was reminded heavily of Michael Scott’s The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series, in which gods and monsters and historical figures were used in the story. I liked the idea of these people being in the story, and while I’m not a history buff, it seemed to me that the author did his research.
The overall quality of the novel was good, but I found quite a few mistakes that slipped passed editing. It is written in third person limited, giving the reader insight into Michael’s thoughts though not relying on an unreliable narrator. At times, it focuses on other characters, specifically keeping them in shadows so the reader doesn’t have a clear idea of what’s going on—only some clues.
As I mentioned above, this novel surprisingly blew my expectations out of the water. It’s not often that I’m excited to read a sequel, but I’m genuinely curious as to where this story is going, and I will for sure be awaiting the next book by Thorsten Brandl. This is a great book for people who like to read books with mythical historical figures. I found hints of Percy Jackson, the Night at the Museum movie series, and video game mechanics throughout the story, all meshed together in a fun and dangerous adventure.