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104 of 112 people found the following review helpful
on February 25, 2004
I've never written a review before, but I thought that this book really qualifies for one. I couldn't put the darn thing down! I am a college student, and for that day or two that I read this book I never got anything done. I could never find a good "stop spot" for the night. When I was near the end of the book I ended up staying awake until 3 in the morning finishing it. I absolutely love reading, but I have never cried or got so emotional over a book before. This one did me in at 3 in the morning. And that is saying a lot if you knew me. I highly recommend this book. It's an easy read, but if you are in college like me, sometimes you just want something that you can indulge yourself into without the analysis and critical thinking. Read this, and then read all of Sparks other books! Go, Now! Stop reading reviews! Shoo!
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71 of 79 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2003
I was disappointed with Nicholas Sparks' The Rescue and A Bend in the Road, and I wasn't sure if I'd read his next novel. I read Nights in Rodanthe which was very good, so I decided to read The Guardian. I am very happy to say that this is the best book he's written since The Notebook. It's an excellent read, that catches you off-guard and pulls you in until you just can't put the book down! The first half of the book is a bit slow in parts, but the second half of the book is exciting, engrossing, and very fast-paced. You will not be disappointed. In the Author's Note at the back of this book Sparks explains how difficult this book was for him to write. (It is quite different than his previous works.) The Guardian is not Sparks' typical love story but is unquestionably entirely successful. My only complaint is that sometimes his dialogue is a bit stilted and unrealistic. (This is true in some of his other novels as well.) It has a way of pulling me out of the story and kind of rolling my eyes. But even so, I liked this book very much, found it believable, and the characters well-defined and realistic. I strongly recommend it! :>
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40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on April 9, 2003
I just finished reading Nicholas Sparks latest work The Guardian...It was absolutely fantastic! It was so different from his other novels in that it was new ground for was a bit of a thriller. I found myself turning page after page and could not tear myself away from this book....of course that is how all of Nicholas's books are for me....but this one had the added element of suspense and surprise. There was still a love story involved as well. This book just is an outstanding examlpe of Sparks talents and shows he is capable of branching out into new territory with success.
I found a bit of laugh out loud humor in this book which was a nice addition. Of course I also the first few pages of the book if you can belive it....Sparks has a way of really getting to you with the crying.... and he didn't waste any time getting right down to business. I don't think I have ever read one of his books and have not shed a tear. I also found the characters to be so believable.
With out ruining your reading experience I must add.....what an exciting ending!!!!!
Buy this book as soon as you can and I trust you will not be disappointed whether you are familiar with Spark's works or not!!!!!!
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78 of 99 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon May 27, 2003
Despite the eight major revisions discussed in the Author's Note at the end of this novel, the final version still doesn't work for me. The final revision should have been to turn it into a film script. Due to differences in the nature of print as compared with film media, I think that the key elements of this story could be an excellent movie (perhaps that is the eventual intention).
The storyline is very straightforward: Julie Barenson's best friend and husband Jim died of cancer when she was only twenty five years old, and four years later when the novel begins she is only beginning to truly deal with the grief which overwhelmed her. She has decided to stay in Swansboro, N.C., which is where Jim found her a job and they later married after he met her as a lost young woman on her own. While her presence in Swansboro is a painful reminder of how Jim's premature death cut short their time together, the town also provides the support of their friends and the comfort of her memories. Furthermore, she feels safe there, protected both by Jim's promise that he would always look down as her guardian angel and also by her constant companion Singer, the Great Dane who was delivered as a Christmas Eve gift from Jim exactly forty days after his death. This aspect of the plot is similar to other books by the author that examine the relationship betwen grief and love, but he chose to also make the book "a thriller' (this is his word for that aspect of the plot). Julie is at the point in her life that she has started dating again , but a meaningful romantic relationship still seems to be impossible given her emotional state combined with the paucity of potential candidates in such a small town. However, when Richard Franklin, a consulting engineer on temporary assignment, asks her for a date, Julie enjoys herself tremendously and feels an instant affinity towards him. This soon creates tension between Julie and Mike Harris, Jim's best friend who has been Julie and Singer's usual companion since Jim's death. While Julie and Mike have been hesitant to become involved romantically, all their friends believe that they would be the perfect couple.
The story is told from the multiple viewpoints of these three characters in a fairly effective manner; the downside of this technique is that the reader's knowledge is much greater than any of the participants. When complications from the relationship turn jealousy into something much more sinister, we don't the outcome but we sure know who we hope wins. In addition, the minor characters, several of whom have crucial roles, are very poorly developed and in some case charicatures of small town America. This is especially true of the two police officers drawn into the situation as disturbing incidents begin to occur and the violence escalates. Pete Gandy is portrayed as a typical MCP cop and in contrast his trainee associate Jennifer Romanelli seems to possess unfailing instincts at every turn. The best character by far is Singer, whose humanness will be immediately recognized by all Great Dane lovers.
My main complaint is that the attempt to meld the two genres did not succeed. Almost immediately it becomes obvious that one of the characters is evil and the resulting tension is intense as the reader waits for the story to develop. Yet the book proceeds at an incredibly slow pace as the details of all the various relationships are leisurely described (this part of the book is much like some of the author's other work, which is fine for descriptive tales of love and heartbreak where the details add to the mood of the story, but not for thrillers) I could only read a few chapters at a time and almost just skipped ahead to see how it ended. Then, slightly more than halfway through it turns into a typical thriller and proceeds at breakneck pace, almost nonstop action with litle further character development. While this would have saved the story if there had been unexpected developments in the plot, the conclusion was as close to predictable as you can get given the nature of Nicholas Sparks' previousstories.
While I recognize that a negative review may earn me some unhelpful votes from the author's most loyal devotees (my wife thinks that I am too harsh and that the book deserves four stars), writing this review reinforced my convictions that this is too trite and straightforward for a real thriller. While it works as a love story, I don't enjoy tension filled ones with such bittersweet endings. Thus, I recommend that if you are interested in a story by Nicholas Sparks about grief and the healing power of love you should instead read the wonderful NIGHTS IN RODANTHE. If you want a real mystery thriller with a subplot involving the nature of perserverance, love and potential redemption, then instead read LOST LIGHT by Michael Connelly.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on October 2, 2005
If you ever wanted to decide whether it is better to fall in love with an exotic, handsome stanger or your best male friend, then this is the book for you. The plot twist with every page. It leaves you wanting breathless, excited, and scared with each new twist. A MUST READ!!
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on February 10, 2004
This was my first (and trust me, last) Sparks effort. My wife said I'd like this one; it was different and suspenseful. Well, to say the plot and characters were trite is putting it mildly. This has been done a million times before and a thousand times better. I literally was filling in the next line, the next scene, what was around the corner,etc., in my mind before even getting there. If you've never read a single "suspense" book before, you may get a little something out of this. Otherwise it's a wilted parsley sprig when you're looking for a T-bone steak.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on April 30, 2003
Nicholas Sparks has another winner in his new novel, "The Guardian". In this book, Sparks branches out as he very tastefully combines a love story and a suspenseful thriller.
The tears at the beginning and tears at the end are brought together with a middle full of frightening suspense and anxiety.
Pet owners, like me, are indulged in that "The Guardian" not only focuses on a love story between humans, but also on the love between a woman and her dog, a Great Dane named Singer.
Sparks cleverly plays with us as he builds suspense, layer on layer, which has both his characters and us looking over our respective shoulders.
Romance and suspense are equally represented, as they play against one another, in "The Guardian". This is a must read for all Nicholas Sparks fans.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on July 23, 2004
I am a fan of Nicolas Sparks, but this wasn't his best work. I am yet to read books that measure up to "Message In a Bottle" or "A Walk to Remember."

"The Guardian" was incredibly predictable, the characters seemed cliche, and so did the plot. Honestly, reading the book was like watching a cheesy made-for-TV movie that only comes on after 3am.

For the record, I hated the ending.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on April 22, 2003
I've been a fan of Nicholas Sparks ever since I read "A Walk to Remember" one night during high school and sobbed for a long time after it was finished.
Since then, I've read all of his novels and loved them. Several months ago, I read "Nights in Rodanthe" and wasn't all that impressed with it. It wasn't anything new or exciting, as all of his other books had been, and it seemed to be too much like "Bridges of Madison County." All in all, it was pretty predictable.
This year, being my first year in college, I have found myself reading a lot of books to fill my newfound free time. None, however, have even come close to "The Guardian." I admit I was a little worried that I would be disappointed like I was in "Nights in Rodanthe," but instead I was shocked at how great Spark's newest book turned out to be!
"The Guardian" is Spark's most suspenseful book so far. It's great to see that he is branching out into new territory. I couldn't put this book down, and enjoyed it very much. More than once I found myself on the edge of my seat, my heart pounding. It was great because it is unpredictable and takes many unexpected turns. He incorporates a suspenseful, terrifying tale of a man sick with obsession, paired with the touching love story of a young widow and her late husband's best friend.
Congratulations to Nicholas Sparks for writing a book that grabbed my attention and wouldn't let go. This is by far his most engaging, touching novel- a must read!
If you like Sparks, I would also suggest Kirk Martin's "The Shade of the Maple" and "The Gravel Drive". Kirk Martin is a wonderful author who cares very much about his readers and donates money to various charities. Both of his books are terrific. He's great at developing unexpected turns in his novels so the reader never knows quite what to expect.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on July 15, 2003
I am a huge fan of Nicholas Sparks. The Notebook, Message in a Bottle, A Walk to Remember, all great. So it was with great expectation when I opened to read The Guardian. And it is such a disappointment! A contrived love story mixed with a slow and predictable mystery. The most interesting character was Singer, the dog. Maybe Sparks should have written a love story about Singer because the Julie/Mike relationship just never got developed. My recommendation is that if you MUST read this novel, then borrow it from a friend or check it out from the library, but learn from my mistake, and spend your $$ and time on something more enjoyable.
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