Requiem, Changing Times
By R. J. Parker
Clint and Corbin are having a weird day. Best friends for life, things are getting a little strange around their town, and at school. When they're followed by a strange man looking for Clint and later attacked by an imp, it makes sense to retreat to the safety of home. But when strangers from another world, Banks and O'Neil, arrive with their medley of allies, things get even weirder. Why are they here? What do they want? And what is The Requiem that everyone keeps talking about? As Clint and his friends and family are drawn deeper into a thrilling adventure, only one thing is for sure. They may not be getting out alive. And class with Mrs Christenson will seem like a walk in the park after this.
"Have you ever had a bad idea that you dismiss at once because it was a terrible idea?" Corbin asked Clint. "Well this was one of those ideas that I should have dismissed."
Up until the moment a very intense stranger stopped them, the only thing Clint "Staeli" Holden and Corbin Jenkins had to fear was their teacher, Mrs Christenson, and principle Miller's office. Oh, and Amber — who every boy wanted to date apart from Clint who had the misfortune of catching Amber's eye. But then Clint's mother and step-father went on an unexpected cruise, and now Clint and Corbin are being chased by Furies, Orcs, and Imps. Not to mention that Clint's house has been taken over by members of the Salvation Alliance. If that were not bad enough, Clint and Corbin have yet to decide who they are going to take to their school's Halloween dance!
Whoever said seventh-grade was fun, was clearly out of their mind.
With an elegant turn of phrase and a narrative that is as enthralling as it is addictive, Requiem, Changing Times by R. J. Parker is, in all ways, a Young Adult, Science Fiction / Dystopian triumph.
With an impressive sweep and brilliance, Parker has penned a book that is filled to bursting with cliff-hanger tension and characters that a reader can get behind. The protagonists are fun, refreshing, and very relatable for their intended audience. The antagonists are cruelly evil, determined in their goal, and seemingly unstoppable. The plot is tautly gripping — the non-stop excitement and the witty one-liners made this book compulsively readable and laugh-out-loud funny. This book has it all and then some.
One cannot help but be bewitched by the cinematic quality of this story. There is an essence of Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes about this novel, especially in the opening chapters — Parker uses short sharp sentences to great effect. Likewise, the slowing down of the battle scenes by the use of long sentences enables the reader to experience the battles, rather than simply imagine. This approach to writing is incredibly hard to pull off, but Parker has seemingly mastered the art. Parker's innovative approach to his writing is refreshing, and it makes for a delightful read. This constant change in pace also makes a very long book seem somehow shorter.
This story is about two friends as their seemingly mundane life is torn asunder by the invasion of an alien mythological species which are determined to find the Requiem. The Requiem, an ancient relic, can either restore peace across the universe or cause chaos and suffering, so it mustn't fall into the wrong hands. Unfortunately for Clint, his name is somehow connected to the Requiem, and is, therefore, a target for those who want to use the Requiem for ill purposes. The friendship between Clint and Corbin is steadfast, and where one goes, the other is not far behind. Clint is the hero of this story — the invading army, is determined to kill him, but it was Corbin who really closed the deal on this book for me. Corbin is incredibly witty and provides much of the humour in this story, which for a dystopian novel is something that is, at times, desperately needed.
There are many mythical characters in this book — from the cold and wicked Spell Binder to the frightening Furies — that are determined to find the prize. Parker has crafted some genuinely frightful characters, whose intentions and vile threats are demonstrated through their actions rather than by long explanations. Like Clint, when his questions about these creatures are brushed aside and not answered, I felt frustrated. Clint is going into battle blind — he only knows that his life and that of his family and friends are in mortal danger, he really deserves to know whom he is fighting and why. However, the cleverly crafted use of word-building over the length of this novel conveys these monstrous characters in all their frightful depiction.
Clint also has to keep up a facade that nothing is going on — which seems to be a common theme in books such as this. The scenes at school are incredibly entertaining — especially as Clint desperately tries to hide from Amber, the prima-donna of his year. And his inability to form a sentence whenever Melanie, the girl he has feelings for, crosses his path is incredibly sweet. Clint may be trying to save the world, but he is a fumbling buffoon when it comes to romance!
Knights of the Salvation Alliance — Commander Banks and his second in command, O'Neil — are an alien species who are sent to earth to protect Clint and find the Requiem. These characters are introduced very early on in the story, and we are given a glimpse of the world in which these two inhabit. They are hardened warriors who are formidable opponents for the dangerous creatures who are now stalking the earth. I thought the portrayal of both Banks and O'Neil was sublime. Parker captured the very essence of these two characters remarkably well.
Fans of Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson will find something endlessly fascinating about R. J. Parker's Requiem, Changing Times. I look forward to reading Book 2 of what promises to be a fabulous series.
I Highly Recommend.
Review by Mary Anne Yarde.
The Coffee Pot Book Club.
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Requiem, Changing Times
R. J. Parker
Russell Parker was born in Bountiful, Utah. As his father was safety manager he had to move around until his senior year of high school, when he came to Cache Valley, Utah to stay. He married the most wonderful woman in the world and they are the parents of four fantastic kids, with one crazy dog. Russell played all kinds of sports and was an outdoors man until an accident brought him to writing. A writer since high school, encouragement brought his stories to life.