Fiction, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Review: Knightfall by Robert Lawrence

Knightfall book cover
Image from R. Jackson-Lawrence; used by permission

Title: Knightfall (Chronicles of Benjamin Knight #1)

Author: R. Jackson-Lawrence

Genre: Science Fiction

When his world changing experiment is sabotaged, fifteen year old genius Benjamin Knight is cast into another world where an uneasy peace hangs in the balance. Saved from near death by a band of traders, he joins the Road Trains on their journey north as he struggles to understand what has happened to him. However, Ben soon realizes that everyone has their secrets and that no one is safe, especially when one man has the power to realize his ambitions. Friends are lost, plots revealed and battles fought as the unlikely companions seek to prevent war.

This is one of those books that I thought sounded good, but I can’t put my finger on exactly why. It wasn’t the back cover, which was actually pretty boring. The cover wasn’t all that exciting, either. But whatever it was, I picked it up.

I really liked Ben. Sure, he was supposed to be a genius, but he seemed a lot like a friendly kid who was way out of his element. And he seemed so young…it was super easy to root for him, and I found myself concerned for his life on a few occasions.

Matthew, the Road Train leader, seemed slightly bipolar at the beginning, but later he evened out to a responsible and caring, if paranoid, leader. Carl the driver wasn’t exactly the brains of the operation, but he was brave, loyal, and friendly. I kind of want to mention every Road Train character Ben meets, but there’s only so much space.

There’s a lot going on in Knightfall. Whatever the heck happened to Ben, a war, an evil regent, massacres, torture, revenge, technology, insanity… There was a lot more blood and death and pain than I expected, and I admit it, sometimes the descriptions of torture were a little too much. But for the most part, it fit with the impending-war plot.

The story seemed almost incongruous at times, with middle-grade-like characters and a plot towards the older side of YA.

I really enjoyed the alternate world Ben ended up in. It seemed kind of like the past, even though it was obvious it was the far future. It was fun learning the details and how things had changed, and seeing how the Road Trains’ economies worked. (That sounds boring, but trust me, it was really cool.)

One thing that really annoyed me was the escape from prison. Everybody knew it was too easy, but they couldn’t figure out why – even though I found it absurdly obvious. I wanted to talk some sense into them (or maybe smack some sense into them), because it was so obvious.

Even though Knightfall wasn’t really what I was expecting, I enjoyed it. And there was enough of a cliffhanger that I want to read the second book, Darkest Before Dawn.

I received a free review copy of Knightfall from the author. His generosity in no way influenced, or sought to influence, this review.

The Chronicles of Benjamin Knight:

  1. Knightfall
  2. Darkest Before Dawn
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