Requiem, Changing Times – R.J. Parker

*I received a free copy of this book, with thanks to the author. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*

Blurb: 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.

Requiem, Changing Times packs a whole lot of story and action inside its pages.

The main story follows schoolboys Clint and Corbin, along with their siblings, friends and crushes, as they attempt to evade mysterious, shapeshifting assassins and avoid school detentions. However, we only meet the young heroes when we are quite a few chapters into the story. Instead we start with a 24-style thriller, as a pro-assassin breaks into a secure facility to steal information on some cutting-edge, world-changing DNA research. Then we suddenly skip to a Middle-Earth-esque setting and follow Banks and O’Neill as they run from unspecified chasers, fight trolls and orcs, and try to get their glowing secret packages to their quest destination, with a short detour to follow troll Vascoss as he is ordered to find them and retrieve ‘The Requiem’. Then we pop in on a farmer called Cooper as he is attacked by imps. Only after all of this action-packed, but disjointed, adventure do we finally meet the young protagonists.

From that point on, worlds collide, as the standard childhood struggles of the two friends are hijacked by a contingent of fantasy warriors, sepulchral sorcerors and other mythological beings. The juxtaposition between their world of homework and part-time jobs in the local petrol station, and the mystical Requiem quest is thrilling for young readers, but the focus on character points such as O’Neil’s alcohol enthusiasm seem to point to more mature readers.

As an adult reader, I found the characterisations a little too sparse to fully engage with the many characters we are introduced to (Corbin laughs uncontrollably, Cody shouts, Mel is sweet – everyone seems to have just one main character trait). However, I read some sections to Minishine (8) and she found the characters interesting and had no trouble distinguishing them, so perhaps I am simply not the right target audience for this story!

The main plot – the quest to find the Requiem – is still left open by the ending, as are many of the reasons and motivations behind the actions in the story, but this is clearly because the book is planned as the first in a series, so readers would need to continue to Requiem, Perception Rising to find out what it all means.

Overall, I enjoyed the humour and found the plot interesting, if a little uneven, but feel this is a book better suited to older middle-grade or younger teen readers in terms of tone and characters.

“We are going to take back what was taken from us. We are going to kill all those who oppose us. You will come with us to retrieve that which will turn the tide in our favor, won’t you? We will rule all and never see anything that is not ours again.”

“What part of this be mine as those whom I was after be only two and long gone be they?” Voscass asked with more confidence in his voice. Now that it felt like his insides had come back, he lowered his swords, thinking that this was not the moment to show physical strength.

“Before long we will have it. We will have the Requiem.”

– R.J. Parker, Requiem, Changing Times

Find more from R.J. Parker at his website here, or follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Goodreads.

Requiem, Changing Times is available on Amazon right now.

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