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Release Day Review: Guardian, by Carole Cummings

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Release Day Review: Guardian, by Carole Cummings

Book Info

Book Series
Aisling, Book 1
About the Author
Carole lives with her husband and family in Pennsylvania, USA, where she spends her time trying to find time to write.  Recipient of various amateur and professional writing awards, several of her short stories have been translated into Spanish, German, Chinese and Polish.
 Author of the Aisling and Wolf's-own series, Carole is currently in the process of developing several other works, including more short stories than anyone will ever want to read, and novels that turn into series when she's not looking.
Carole is an avid reader of just about anything that's written well and has good characters.  She is a lifelong writer of the 'movies' that run constantly in her head.   Surprisingly, she does manage sleep in there somewhere, and though she is rumored to live on coffee and Pixy Stix™, no one has as yet suggested she might be more comfortable in a padded room.
...Well. Not to her face.
Publication Date
August 15, 2017
Available Formats
epub, mobi, pdf
Pages
270
ISBN
978-1-63533-670-2
ASIN
B0737BF3GY
As he pursues a man who is not what he seems, Constable Dallin Brayden learns the lines between enemy and ally, truth and deception, and conscience and obedience are not only blurred, but malleable.

Constable Dallin Brayden knows who he is, what he’s about, and he doesn’t believe in Fate. “Wilfred Calder” has no idea who he is or what he’s about, and he’s been running from Fate for as long as he can remember. When Wil flees after witnessing a murder, it’s Dallin’s job to pursue him. Along the way, he’s pulled into a maelstrom of ancient myth, fanatical religion, and the delicate politics of a shaky truce between two perpetually warring countries—all of which rests on the slender shoulders of the man he knows is not Wilfred Calder.

Even Dallin’s success proves a hollow victory. Wil is vengeful, rebellious, and lethal, and his tale of magic and betrayal rocks the carefully constructed foundations of Dallin’s world. Suspicious and only half believing, Dallin must question not only his own integrity and his half-forgotten past, but the morality and motives of everyone around him—including those who hold his own country’s fate in their hands.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

A Little Long-Winded
Overall 
 
3.0

  Cover – Gorgeous!
 POV – 3rd person, dual POV
 Would I read it again – Maybe
 Genre – LGBT, Fantasy, Romance


 ** I WAS GIVEN THIS BOOK FOR MY READING PLEASURE **


 This was an interesting one, for me. I've only ever read the Wolf's Own series, by Carole Cummings before, so I figured I needed another book or two to decide how I felt about their writing. This one has just left me as confused as before.

 First off, I really liked the plot concept. It was interesting, had some nice twists and there were some great parts where we really got to connect to the central characters and feel the chemistry fizzling away in the recesses of Wil and Dallin's minds. There wasn't much romance involved, other than a growing sense of learning about and respecting each other, towards the end, so I did feel that was missing. However, I have hopes that it will pick up in the next book.

 When it comes to the writing style, I had issues. First off, there is no indication of timeline, era or the actual world this story takes place in. It has elements of Victorian Crime, Medieval Fantasy and a few Western influences (the saloon western and not the international 'western') It made it hard to orientate myself into the story. At one point there was a strong suggestion of the story being quite Penny Dreadful-esque, with a hint of magic as the only real fantasy element. The police parts read like a scene out of Ripper Street and there was very little fantasy content, as a whole. It was limited to the fact that Wil had this 'ability' to harness dreams etc, but that was the only single point of fantasy-related-content in the whole novel. There was talk of magic and sorcery, conjuring and trances, but all singularly surrounding Wil.

 There were some new elements, that made it slightly more original, with the likes of the Brethren and the Guild, being religious factions, while having locations such as Cynewisan and the Dominion. But, beyond that, everything was relatively familiar to a Victorian Crime/Western world. I got strong hints that the lands of Lind and The North Tongue were Celtic in origin, probably one of which is Scotland and the other Irish, or one of them possibly being welsh. The heritage, history and language were big indicators, but it also made it harder to figure out the timeline/era.

 There are some odd writing choices, like incomplete sentences being used as descriptive text (e.g. “A waggle of thin eyebrows beneath a lank fringe of greasy brown hair.”) which has always felt a little lazy, to me, personally. There are also editing issues, with the likes of missing punctuation and such, and a few instances of needless repetition. For example, the quote “Head down, eyes to the ground, gold between his fingers.” made no sense, because I had no idea at the time if that mean he weaved gold, like in the fairytale, or whether it meant actual coin, which wouldn't make sense either, since we were given no indication of where the coin might have come from or how it got into his hands that were generally empty a minute ago.

 I was quite stunned to find that Chapter 1 was a total 14% all of it's own. All in Dallin's POV and all without much more than a scene break or two, it made the story feel interminably long. If that had been chopped in half, I still probably would have found it too long for a single Chapter. Especially one that introduces us to the main characters and sets the scene. I had barely begun to orientate myself into the world or to care about the characters, so it felt like too much was being thrown at me at once, with no real opportunity to stop, breathe and take a break to process what I'd read so far.

 What made it even worse was that it meant that the dual POV didn't enter until 14% when it switched to Chapter 2, in Wil's POV, which slowed the story even more with a barrage of unnecessary 'travelling' description. On top of that, it usually took half a page, once entering a new chapter, to discover who the POV was for. Half the time I had to make an educated guess and hope that, when it was finally revealed, I was right, or else I'd have to start again.

 When it comes to the 'romance' aspect, I was disappointed. Though I did like that Dallin and Mal got to know each other well and tested their trust boundaries and each other, quite often, I did feel that I was missing out on the component of at least romantic potential. From the start, both men have only ever salivated over women, and any time even a hint of thoughts of attraction towards each other pop up they react with disgust. It doesn't inspire me to believe that these two could ever be anything close to romantic with each other. They're too straight, too closed-minded and the little flash at the end of the book of Dallin having had a 'gay moment' in his past really didn't encourage, inspire or convince me that it was real. It felt more like a last-ditch effort to convince readers that at least one of the two could have gay tendencies, but it didn't feel real or natural at any point.

 In fact, their first kiss is at 32% and there's nothing romantic about it – it's a ploy by Wil to distract or coerce Dallin into what he wants. It's pure manipulation, which only confirmed my already building theory that I didn't like either main character all that much. Dallin was this tough cop, but was a bit of a pushover and obsessed with not facing the truth even when it punched him in the face – literally. Wil was manipulative, violent, vindictive and liked to push people to breaking point, for most of the novel. The few times that he actually inspired sympathy were short lived, because it was generally followed by another show of his quick temper and ferociousness.

 The original aspects were what I liked best – the dream element, the way they met and how Dallin's heritage unfolded, and the journey they went on, though the constant fighting with each other grew old after a while. It was the subtle, fragile friendship that formed throughout the book that I enjoyed the most and the way that Wil opened up about himself, even though it hurt, because he felt that, for the first time ever, he wasn't truly alone. I like that he was, naturally, ignorant of a lot of 'normal' things about life in the world, due to his long term imprisonment and how that affected him, mentally and emotionally, and how it made him want things that weren't particularly coveted by 'normal' people.

 However, the ending threw me for a loop. It was far too sudden, it ended without any resolution to the plot or any of the sub-plots and left me wondering just how long this series/journey might be if it had only progressed so far in this novel.

 Overall, with the mish-mash of genres, the long winded storytelling and how long it took to get anywhere, I had to take some stars off the final rating. The abrupt ending made it necessary, too. Although I enjoyed the overall story and the concept, it was just far too laborious to work through and I'm of two minds about whether I want to venture into the next book or not. At the moment, I'm leaning towards not. The thought of it just makes me feel tired already.

 ~

 Favourite Quotes

 “Wil blinked. Damn. It appeared the consequence of demanding to be addressed like an actual person was that you were then expected to provide half of an actual conversation.”

 “There was a line somewhere between using brutality to survive and just brutality, and Wil walked it according to his own moral compass – stepped back and forth across that line easily and without so much as blinking.”

EW
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