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The Guardian (The Gifted) Paperback – March 31, 2013
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"The writing is rich with imagination, and tells an engaging story that lends itself well to the heroic fantasy quest genre, with the added appeal of a contemporary YA novel. " - Judge, Writer's Digest 21st Annual Self-Published Book Awards
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The author notes that this is her first serious attempts at writing fiction, and there are moments where this shows. For instance, telling a story about how a foreigner from another land learns a language is a particularly challenging narrative task, and there were times when I found myself thinking, ‘he wouldn’t be able to know how to say that yet — that word is too advanced or the syntax too complicated’. Some of the time compressions also took a bit of mental processing. But these are minor quibbles, especially in this genre that is based on the reader’s selective suspension of belief.
I spent many a happy hour reading this book, and I hope that you will too...
I liked C.L. McCourt’s The Guardian in some ways but also had some problems with it. It starts well; Daen’s arrival in semi-rural America is well done and oddly credible. It’s quite a long book, though, and at times the action flags. The woman Daen must save, a college student, appears too late in the book. Also, although I enjoy good fantasy, I thought this was written more with younger readers in mind. College-age readers, in particular, may find it easier to identify with the characters, which may make it easier for them to suspend disbelief. After the first couple of chapters, I found it hard to do so. I’d have liked something a bit more subtle.
However, there are some promising signs in The Guardian that bode well for the rest of the series. The woman Daen has come to help suffers from terrible nightmares (she realises they might be visions). They are rather well described, albeit too briefly. A very nice touch is that Luxatra isn’t conventionally depicted as a planet in another solar system, but as a parallel world that seems in some way to lie over or under our own – and that there are varying levels of communication. There are also heroes and villains, and echoes of a Lord of the Rings-like struggle between good and evil that is clearly going to be played out in the next three books.
The Guardian didn’t quite work for me; the pace was a little too slow, especially in the first half, and I couldn’t quite suspend disbelief. But for the right reader, it will work – especially (though not only) younger ones who would identify with the college-age characters. They might well like this, and might certainly want to read the rest of the series.
(The author kindly provided an ebook for review purposes.)
I was excited about reading this book. The concept sounded really cool, in some ways it reminded me of the movie Timeline.
I thought the way Daen appeared in the book was kind of random though. He was on this quest, but it was as if he’d come to our universe off pure chance. Daen befriends Randell, the boy who ‘called him forth’ and is taken in by Randell’s family.
The story is split into two parts, and for about half of the book we are reading about Daen’s interaction with Randell/Randell helping Daen in his search for the mystery woman, Rhea. The other part focuses on Rhea’s collage life/experiences/nightmares.
Rhea’s a troubled character. She’s having these disturbing visions. Her adoptive parents and friends don’t understand her. She really has no one to turn to. She and Daen meet in Professor Randell’s classroom - older Randell several years later. There’s a connection between them, though Rhea is confused as to where it stems from.
When they finally become acquainted, Rhea shares her visions with Daen. She begins utilizing her energy sources, or gifts. Apparently it’s rare when a Luxatran has more than one gift. Rhea was given up for adoption when her real mother and father discovered she may have been born with two. Those with more than one gift are very powerful and therefore feared.
I don’t really know what I was initially hoping for in this book, but it just felt like a really slow read for me because I couldn’t get into the story. I'm sure other readers will love it though.