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Book Review: Knight in Paper Armor

Knight in Paper Armor

  • Title: Knight in Paper Armor
  • Author: Nicholas Conley
  • Series: None
  • Genre: Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Dystopian
  • Publishing Date: September 17th, 2020
  • Publishing Co.: Red Adept Publishing
  • Length: 436 pages
  • Format: Paperback, Kindle
  • Acquired: Given free digital copy in exchange for an honest review
  • Amazon Link: Knight in Paper Armor

Billy Jakobek has always been different. Born with strange and powerful psychic abilities, he has grown up in the laboratories of Thorne Century, a ruthless megacorporation that economically, socially, and politically dominates American society. Every day, Billy absorbs the emotional energies, dreams, and traumas of everyone he meets—from his grandmother’s memories of the Holocaust, to the terror his sheer existence inflicts upon his captors—and he yearns to break free, so he can use his powers to help others. Natalia Gonzalez, a rebellious artist and daughter of Guatemalan immigrants, lives in Heaven’s Hole, an industrial town built inside a meteor crater, where the poverty-stricken population struggles to survive the nightmarish working conditions of the local Thorne Century factory. Natalia takes care of her ailing mother, her grandmother, and her two younger brothers, and while she dreams of escape, she knows she cannot leave her family behind. When Billy is transferred to Heaven’s Hole, his chance encounter with Natalia sends shockwaves rippling across the blighted landscape. The two outsiders are pitted against the all-powerful monopoly, while Billy experiences visions of an otherworldly figure known as the Shape, which prophesizes an apocalyptic future that could decimate the world they know.

First Chapter Challenge:

For the first chapter, we get a glimpse into Billy Jakobek’s life as a child. Immediately, readers are drawn to this boy, who cannot touch other people for fear of getting hurt. Even as a young kid, Billy is different. Just from this brief glimpse, I am already intrigued by the book, but I hope that it jumps forward in later chapters, as I personally do not care for a book about a young child. Guess I’ll just have to keep reading and find out!

How does Billy absorb people’s memories and emotions? Who is that dark scary figure in his grandmother’s thoughts?

Final Judgment: 4 Stars out of 5

A beautifully written YA-esque (although with adult content) book about a teenage boy, ostracized from everyone else with powers unimaginable, and who is saved by the confident, brave young girl he meets at school. Billy Jakobek isn’t like other children–he lives as a kind of science experiment, his very existence a mystery. Natalia Gonzalez is a Guatemalan immigrant working hard to keep her family whole and well, and her life is turned upside down when she meets the strange new boy. Will their friendship and developing relationship survive what’s coming?

This book was brilliantly written, and made me feel as if I was actually walking in Billy and Natalia’s shoes. For a superhero-type novel, it was quite realistic due to the relationships between the characters and the emotions that each drew up inside of me. The only thing I have a qualm with are some of the circumstances–at the beginning of the novel, Billy is let out of the tank, and he is immediately expected to go to school that same morning. It seems a bit off that the scientists would expect him to be able to mentally–and even physically–cope with school after spending months in a water tank.

The pacing is a bit strange, with what would seem at first to be the climax of the book not even halfway through. Because I enjoyed the characters and getting to know their individual stories, I would have preferred if this novel had been expanded and split into two separate books, with the end of the first book being the big event that happened in the middle (won’t say more because spoilers). Then, the second book could have focused on what happened after. However, I still really enjoyed the plot. In fact, I wanted more because I so enjoyed the plot. There was never a dull moment, with something new popping up every other page.

The highlight of the book was the characters and their interactions with each other. From Billy and Natalia, to Natalia’s family, to the scientists, and beyond. There is a bit of mystery involved, and it was difficult for me to figure out what the outcome would be–which is a good thing. There’s nothing worse than a book that’s completely predictable. All in all, a great read.

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