Book Review, The Order of the Key
Author Justine Manzano
by Julie Carpenter
Jacklyn Madison thinks she’s an ordinary teenager just trying to make it through school when she’s attacked by an interdimensional monster in an alley. Suddenly her life and family history come into question. Her future trajectory changes almost instantaneously. Jacklyn has discovered she is a Key, a gifted human who has been tasked with protecting humanity.
This book has a lot to like for YA fiction fans. The characters, settings, and plot are great for young readers. The characters are likable and recognizable, good to hang out with on a weekend during quarantine! This novel is fast-paced and action packed. Jacklyn, the protagonist, is a breath of fresh air as she is very athletic and strong while her boyfriend is more cerebral. Every character has different wants and needs and even the villains ultimately have some redeeming qualities as the reader slowly begins to understand why and how the order may have been compromised.
Like all the best YA fiction, the book centers on a group of teens who have to rely on themselves since their parents are either not present, not capable of helping them, or simply on the wrong side of the battle. In the very beginning, Jacklyn, her younger teenage sister, and her mother are whisked away to a mysterious estate where others like them live, an interesting and mysterious setting. While there, she must find a way to protect her family, rethink her history with her estranged father, and still navigate her relationship with Kyp, another member of the order with whom she has a secret past.
Not only that, but Jacklyn must learn to become an adult. She discovers that she must rely on herself, that adults are not always to be trusted. She must decide what’s important and learn to grown into her talents.
While I occasionally wished the setting of the book was more varied and that there was more interaction with the other dimensions, the ending of the book leaves plenty of room to explore these avenues the next time around. I’m sure we will see Jacklyn again, and I’m sure a lot of readers will want to know what happens next!
Julie Carpenter is the creator of the Sacred Chickens website and author of Things Get Weird in Whistlestop, a collection of short stories . She is dedicated to telling stories and making sure that indie writers and publishers have a way to be heard. She uses narrative, her own and others’, to help interpret the world. She has a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Memphis, with an emphasis in Composition Theory. She wants to bend reality one story at a time. Julie’s work has appeared in Fiction on the Web and has appeared in The New Guard. She is currently working on a novel.