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Scotland's Guardians: Myths and Legends from the Highlands Kindle Edition
|Length: 217 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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- Bryanna and Kaylee’s friendship goes through natural ups and downs. Their loyalties are tested in numerous ways.
- Because this is a fantasy, the plot takes some delightful and weird twists and turns. At times, the journey seemed simply for the sake of the journey, but overall, the plot moved nicely to the climax.
- The end was a tad anticlimactic. I think the end battle took place in about ten minutes.
- The narrator did a wonderful job with all the tough pronunciations.
- Bryanna and Kaylee are likable main characters. I suppose Kaylee could be seen as a side character, but if she is, she’s very well-developed.
- Some of the hidden nature of certain relationships seemed ridiculous in the long run, more for the reader’s benefit of surprise than for the main character.
- Along the way the girls get into some crazy situations. That keeps the journey interesting.
- Bryanna’s got a good heart. That comes through pretty clearly.
A strong tale of friendship set in fantasy settings.
*I received a free copy of the audiobook from the author. This did not influence my decision to provide a review, nor did it affect the rating or the words.*
Note that if you are looking for a book to tide over fans of Brotherband, Ranger's Apprentice, Percy Jackson, or the Last Olympians this may work. I say may because the series mentioned have more focus on the action of the story, where as this book has more focus on the relationships in my opinion. I would say this book is for around the 8-13 or pre-teen crowd. It would make a good lead up to the series above if you have a child who perhaps is iffy on too much action/evil in a story. My 10 year old son tried the Percy Jackson series a year ago-he stated it was too "scary" and hasn't gone back to it (despite reading Ranger's apprentice and Brotherband). I suspect this book would have been a great fit for him then. Now, I am not sure it will fit as well, as he is developing into an action junkie. I will recommend it to him. If he reads it I will update this review with his impressions. However, I would expect girls to enjoy this more than boys because the main characters are girls, and the main focus is on their developing relationship as best friends as they travel together learning about their parents, past and magic as they figure out how to be guardians.
I would like to thank Katharina Gerlach for giving me the opportunity to read her book! I really enjoyed it a lot. Bryanna starts out in Scotland thinking she is like any other ordinary Scottish girl. Her father is a little eccentric, sure, but it makes life more interesting, right? Her father, Angus, is an expert on "mythological" (ha ha) creatures such as the Loch Ness Monster. This hasn't gained him a lot of credibility in the academic world, but that doesn't bother him much, because he knows what he knows. At the beginning of the story, Bryanna comes home to find she and her father are being visited by Morag, a mysterious, yet strangely familiar woman. Bryanna eavesdrops on her father and Morag and hears a very strange conversation. Something about someone who was very powerful, who was supposed to take her father's place as-Guardian? Her father says that he is not quite prepared to relinquish his position as Guardian, especially since his successor is required to kill him to get the post. This naturally frightens Bryanna and she isn't about to stand for someone killing her father.
Suddenly Morag leaves the house and takes Angus with her, without any explanation for Bryanna. She follows them, which begins the adventure of a lifetime-several lifetimes. Bryanna soon realizes that there is more to the situation than she could have possibly ever realized. Fairies, kelpies, goblins, elves and others-all real. She almost catches Morag at a bus station, but is attacked by goblins (who look like boy scouts to everyone else). She receives help from a girl named Kaylee, who is also more than she seems. She finds out that Scotland's Guardian is a person who guards the way between Scotland and places that most humans would consider mythical, a fantastic place with fantastic creatures. The Guardian decides which creatures may pass back and forth and has a lot of power.
Bryanna soon learns that she herself is not what she had always thought. She has special gifts and is a natural for learning and performing spells. Kaylee travels with her on her journey to find her father, and she finds out that Kaylee is from a place called Alba. Ordinary humans don't know it, but our world runs sort of parallel with other worlds. Worlds are separated by a kind of thin veil, called the World Weave. Those who know how can make small openings in the weave and pass through. As Bryanna and Kaylee journey to find Bryanna's father, Bryanna learns to manipulate, open and close the weave so that she and Kaylee can pass through. Alba and Scotland occupy, so to speak, the same space. You're walking along, and it's pouring down rain in Scotland? Pass through to Alba and walk there for a while instead-it gets you to the same place. Redcaps attacking you in Alba? Walk in Scotland for a while. I thought that was very handy and creative. Bryanna learns many spells along the way and passes some of them to Kaylee. The girls meet many strange and wonderful people along the way, some of them teaching the girls new things, some healing them, some of them pointing the way to go next to find Angus and what may be a final confrontation.
As Bryanna and Kaylee travel, they grow to love each other and become best friends. Bryanna realizes that SHE is the person who is supposed to kill her own father and take his place as Guardian. Of course, she vows that she will never kill her father, but things gets complicated when it is revealed that Kaylee is the other possibility for the position as Guardian. Kaylee's father (I'm not telling who he is!) is determined that Kaylee will become Guardian so that he can manipulate her and make her run things the way he wants. He wants Kaylee to kill Bryanna and steal her knowledge (there's a spell for that). Bryanna loves Kaylee and is sure that Kaylee won't betray her, but she has moments wondering if she really can trust Kaylee. What if the unthinkable happens and Kaylee does try to kill Bryanna? Could Bryanna kill her friend in self-defense? This conundrum is an ever present conflict in the story, one that constantly worries both girls.
Almost the whole of the story is taken up in the journey to find Bryanna's father (some interesting things are revealed about the mystery woman, Morag, too). There were some moments when I seemed to find that the journey was stretching out impossibly long, the only thing I would really have a little different. Interesting things do happen all along the way, but occasionally I would think, Man, are they STILL walking (or flying!)? I believe, though I'm not positive, that the author is a native German speaker, and I am amazed and very impressed at her perfect English. I found in some spots that unusual word choices could make the meaning of a sentence uncertain and I would read it over a couple of times to be sure. These are not things I could call mistakes-just not quite the way you would say it in English, and it didn't happen often. I wish my German was as good as her English, that's for sure. I really enjoyed the story a lot and was never really sure just how it was going to end. Would Bryanna be forced to kill Kaylee, or vice versa? Would Bryanna be somehow forced into killing her own father? Is there a way for her to be Guardian without killing him, could she and Kaylee both be Guardians, without ever hurting anyone? We all expect happy endings all the time, and it's a pretty good author who can make you feel constantly uncertain of getting one. I was uncertain the whole book-and I'm not telling.
Jane McBride~Kindle Book Review
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