My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Guardian is a 2014 paranormal romance novel, a revised version of Angelus which is the book that Lydia previously wrote and released. But this is the better version (as said by Lydia) and even though I haven’t read Angelus, I would have to agree that this book is pretty good.
It follows the story of 23 year old Sarah when she meets a Guardian Angel, Jacob, one day at the ice cream shop where she works. From that point, their romance seems to be fated to develop. But when their world comes under fierce attack by a group of Dark Angels who are plotting Jacob’s downfall, limits are tested, love is pushed to it’s boundaries and their whole world is at risk of becoming shattered by evil.
My thoughts on the book are simple. It was action packed, gripping and an all round great read.
One of the main things I liked about this book, was the way that Lydia created the archangels. They felt like soldiers to me, because they had ranks, Captains and they all seemed to feel a very strong and collective sense of duty to their roles as Guardians.
Jacob was an interesting character. He had the appeal of being completely devoted to religion and he exuded this aura of calmness and peace. I haven’t read many books about angels, but I have noted that in the ones I have read, religion is rarely mentioned. I think it’s important to acknowledge that angels exist alongside and originate from religion and the fact that this played a large role in the book was a really great thing in my opinion.
I enjoyed reading about Sarah’s best friend Gen. She was funny, outgoing and she almost brought Sarah’s character to life, who seemed to be particularly introverted at first and in need of a character boost. But as the novel continued, I realised that Sarah actually had quite a fiery spirit; one that she revealed to all the right people.
Playing key roles in the romantic element of the book, Sarah and Jacob felt like they were very well suited to me. Often I find that two characters are put together as complete opposites in novels, with the writer’s intention being that they can balance each other out. But here, I found that Jacob and Sarah were almost on the same level. They had a lot of the same views and attitudes, particularly in relation to being kind-hearted and genuinely wanting to help others. Their romance was touching and really well executed. Just simple things like Jacob only seeing her once and not being able to stop thinking about her or gently touching the side of her face. And even though she couldn’t see that he was there when he did this she still responded to it, which made their romance feel like it was fate and had always been destined to happen. The affection was somewhat fast paced, with Jacob going around for Thanksgiving dinner almost as soon as he saves Sarah from what would’ve been a rape attack. But it still worked well.
Although it seems that the problem is introduced when we meet Lord Samuel, an old friend of Jacob’s who was lured in by evil and chose to fall, it actually isn’t. Lord Samuel is one of the Fallen and leads a string of Dark Angels to help him lure Jacob in to joining him. Lord Samuel was painted as a manipulative figure in the book; twisting past events such as Jacob’s demotion from a Lieutenant to only a Guardian in previous years, to try and lull him in to thinking that evil is the better choice. But even though Jacob and Sarah face numerous attacks at Lord Samuel’s command, the actual problem is initiated when Sarah realises that she could be used as bait to blackmail Jacob in to falling and so she leaves him. The real problem in the novel then becomes that Sarah is unprotected and at risk of being attacked at any time by Lord Samuel and his Dark Angels.
Which is of course, exactly what happens. We see Sarah being kidnapped and taken over by Seth, who is Lord Samuel’s right hand man. He was almost disturbing to read about. In one scene, it seems as if he wants to force Sarah to have sex with him, speaking in a sadistic tone of voice as he says things like: “You might even enjoy it.” He does come across as a sexual predator and he isn’t a likeable character, but in all honesty it only added substance to the novel and heightened the danger surrounding Lord Samuel’s character. If these are the type of men that he has working under his command, then what is he himself capable of?
I don’t have many negative things to say about the book. I did notice several editing errors, but this is something that can be easily rectified and it didn’t hinder the quality or execution of the novel in my eyes.
There’s kidnapping, action packed fight scenes, romance, mystery and ancient figures all thrown in to one brilliant book. You should definitely read it.
In terms of the writing, I’m giving this book a 3 tick rating.
One of the main things I didn’t like, was that at times I felt that the novel was slightly slow paced, as the chapters were fairly long in my opinion. As an English Lit university student, I have a lot of books to read and I need to ensure that I make time for both compulsory and leisure reading. Therefore, I do generally prefer to read books with chapters that are short and sweet, because I find it easier to work my way through it at a controlled pace. But every writer has the right to choose how to complete their novel, whether that be with short chapters or long ones and the novel was still great to read.
The novel uses constant shifts between scenes with Sarah and Jacob, which I’ve seen before in books like Harry Potter and City of Bones. But I’ve always thought that it works particularly well in fantasy and paranormal books like this one because there’s often so much going on, that you need to be able to keep an easy track of everything that’s happening. Shifts like these allow you to gain a more holistic sight of the events as they’re happening. For example, we were able to see the scene with Sarah and Seth even though Jacob wasn’t there with her and we’re able to see scenes with Jacob even when Sarah isn’t with him.
The main reason that I felt it was successful in this book specifically, is because we got to learn a lot about Jacob and Sarah as standalone characters before they came together. I really think that this is important because often we’re given biased portrayals of love interests and secondary characters through the eyes of somebody else. For example, we only know characters like Edward Cullen and Augustus Waters (two of my favourite young adult male characters) through the eyes of Bella Swan and Hazel Grace. For all we know, Edward could have been really ugly and Augustus could’ve been less charismatic than Hazel made him seem. We only know that Edward is so strikingly beautiful and attractive and that Augustus is funny and sexy because the lead characters in those books have told us so; not because that’s necessarily the truth.
But a great thing about The Guardian, is that we get objective exposure to each character alone, so that we can decide for ourselves whether they really are the people that everybody else in the book thinks they are. For example, in the second chapter we see Jacob helping a struggling old woman on to a bus when nobody else does, so we don’t just have to take Sarah’s word for the fact that he is genuinely a very kind and caring person.
The action scenes in the book were very descriptive, with fight sequences that were really gripping to follow. They made for an enjoyable read.
As I’ve said, unfortunately, there were a few grammatical and syntax errors in the novel and it was difficult at times not to find them annoying, but the quality of the writing itself cannot be faulted and those are just editing mistakes after all. A tip to all writers out there would be to send your stories out to as many people as you can and get them to proof read it. I would do it in batches, so that you get one group of people to read it, give it back to you, you check it yourself and then you send it out again to another group so that they can double check for any mistakes you may have missed. This is what I’m going to be doing myself anyway.
Lydia also made a conscious choice to end the book with Sarah telling Caleb that they have work to do. Which means… that there will definitely be a sequel! And after everything that happened in the book, it’s difficult to not want to read on.