Rated 7.2 out of 10 Statistics
Occasional Coarse Language
Overall Rating: 7.21
Average Rating: 9 (Guests), 6.25 (Members)
Rating Count: 3 (1 Guests, 2 members)
1 indicates a weighted rating.
"Nice premise, lovely design, fails on execution" permalink
Cross-Posted from my blog
Guardians: Awakening caught my eye when I was browsing around for something new to read.
The premise is interesting. In many ways its a traditional fantasy plot in a futuristic fantasy setting, and I adore that sort of futuristic fantasy when I can find it.
The website is beautiful eye candy, which like a good cover on a book encourages you to have a read. I love the idea of having a little drawing of the POV character at the top of each chapter. It’s unusual and the layout is so well done that the prettiness doesn’t come at the detriment of a clean reading experience.
Unfortunately I have some issues with characterisation and pacing in the story.
There’s a lot of info-dumping early on. The pov characters spend a heck of a lot of time explaining things. This is a common bane of the Fantasy genre, of course, because authors naturally want to bring the setting to the table. Unfortunately when whole paragraphs are dedicated to set up you lose tension and readers start skimming instead of reading properly. Setting should be revealed by events not narration and backstory is best revealed in dribs and drabs.
Ironically what makes this worse is that in all the infodumping they miss something crucial which actually does need addressing earlier than it is (see below).
And all the attention spent on introducing the setting and setting things up means the pacing off and it takes several chapters to even get to the mention of disappearing temples etc (more on this below). By the time it did I was almost ready to give up as the story didn’t seem to be living up to its hype.
And then there’s the characterisation. Victorian teenagers did not behave like 21st century teenagers. Teenagers in one country will have a different culture than those in another. So why do the students at a military academy on another planet (and one which teaches the manipulation of a magic like energy called eisra at that) behave live 21st Century American teenagers? The society they come from is nothing like 21st Century America. If you did this in a traditional fantasy setting it would be called anacronistic – I’m not sure that’s the right word when dealing with a futuristic setting, but it’ll do until I find a better one.
And then there’s the fact that in a world with one religion which is centred on a goddess who has actively intevened in the past the characters don’t mention the fact that temples (and those who serve in them) are vanishing until several chapters in when it’s on the news. If this had been the first time the characters hear of it that would have been fine, but from their responses it’s clear it isn’t, and this stretched my suspension of disbelief a little too far.
I’m sorry – if churches, temples, mosques or other religious centres on Earth started disappearing into thin air taking hundreds of people with them everyone would be talking about it reguardless of religious affliliation. On a world like Elidi seems to be from the infodumps it would be a major distraction for students at a military academy who know they are likely to be called in to help with the situation. But none of this is mentioned at all until its mentioned on the news (at which point an infodump is triggered). It could have been handled a lot more naturally.
The anacronistic characterisation of the main characters, and the inserting of infodumps upset the pacing so much that I couldn’t really get into the story. Add to this the fact that the prose was rather dry and difficult to get absorbed by (though this is a matter of taste – I don’t like Philip Pullman or Anne Rice either but millions of people do, and I won’t say they’re wrong) and I found that as much as I like the premise I just could not get past the first saga.
Who would like this? I think American Teens (who are probably the target demographic) would probably be less bothered by the problems than I am might well enjoy this.
On the balance of things. – after weighing a good premise and beautiful design against a not entirely successful story – I’m giving the 2.5 stars. It’s possibly worth a look for young adults, but I suspect most other people would find the problems offputting.
Having said that it’s free, so you’ve got nothing except a few minutes to lose if you go and have a look to see if you agree with me.