Title: The Guardians
Author: T.M. Franklin
Genre: YA, fantasy
Series? Yes, #2 in the MORE Trilogy
Publisher: The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House (November 7, 2013)
Rating: 6/6 – Can this series get any better??
SPOILERS AHEAD IF YOU HAVEN’T READ MORE (#1)
Synopsis from NetGalley: Ava’s life is . . . complicated.
After all, it’s not every day a girl learns she’s not entirely human, or unlocks hidden powers strong enough to make even the First Race sit up and take notice. After surviving an attempted kidnapping and standing up to the Race’s Ruling Council, Ava Michaels returns to college and what she hopes is a normal life. But Ava quickly realizes that for her, normal may not even exist anymore.
In fact, the Council wants her under their control, and they’re not the only ones. The mysterious Rogues have a plan of their own, and it turns out Ava’s a big part of it, whether she wants to be or not.
On top of that, her new relationship is tested in ways she never expected. Her boyfriend, Caleb Foster, has disappeared—accused of betraying the Race—and Ava herself stands implicated in a crime she didn’t commit.
Clearing both their names will mean uncovering a web of deceit and intrigue with Ava woven right in the center. To unravel the strands, she joins forces with some unlikely allies; a Protector who once haunted her nightmares, a young girl with secrets as unexpected as Ava’s, and a group of rebel Guardians who have their own fight against the Council.
Together they stand in a battle to find the truth, bring Caleb home, and secure Ava’s freedom—not to mention save her life.
My Initial Thoughts/Rambling: You know, I always worry a little bit with sequels, especially sequels of books that I absolutely loved. There’s always that fear of “what if it’s not as good? What if it doesn’t continue like I hoped??” Well, all of those fears were quickly shattered when I started reading The Guardians – and I think I actually like this one better than its predecessor! Spoilers ahead if you haven’t read book one, MORE.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of The Guardians from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
What did I think about the characters? They’re all the same well developed and diverse characters from MORE, but there’s also a lot of development for the entire cast. Ava is learning about her heritage as part of the Race, and trying to control and develop her newfound powers at the same time. She never starts whining or complaining – that same courage from book one is still there, and as strong as ever. When Caleb goes missing, she’s determined to find him, but not in that possessive girlfriend way. I can still see their love and dedication to each other, but in a very healthy and believable way.
With Caleb, there’s a huge personality change, but it’s explained near the end of the book and everything makes sense. He’s not being a jerk for no reason – and that only increased my sympathy and adoration for him! Although if I hadn’t read a GoodReads review where Andrea flat-out states that Caleb has “a pole stuck up his ass for a lot of the book,” I would have been really upset because he just isn’t the same Caleb from the first book! In the end, though, he redeems himself and is back to his usual good-natured self.
Tiernan, one of the secondary characters from MORE, has a bigger role in this story, and I love where Franklin takes his character! He still has that gruff, burly exterior, but he proves that he’s not just muscle. He’s snarky and witty (two of my favorite traits), and has a bunch of little quirks (like listening to 80s boy bands). Even when Ava gets in his way, he doesn’t lose his temper, but instead accepts her presence stoically and works her into his plan. I couldn’t help but fall in love with him!
And the concept and plot? As with MORE, the concept is fantastic. In The Guardians, Franklin introduces some more Race with different powers, including a “brain scrambler” – who I won’t talk about much because she’s a huge plot point!
The plot was just as strong, if not stronger, than MORE. My heart was racing as Ava and Tiernan were rescuing Caleb – my sister interrupted me in the middle of reading to tell me to get the keys and drive her home and I made her sit for a few extra minutes while I finished the chapter. Heart-pounding in all the right places, but not so much action that I was worn out! And then that plot twist – I think I dislocated my jaw when it dropped. I thought I had it all figured out, and then NOPE I was totally wrong and now there’s a huge cliffhanger and I need the third book now.
One other thing: with Ava and Tiernan spending a lot more time together in The Guardians, I was really worried that there would be a love triangle. And this was perhaps the best part of this book – no love triangle! Tiernan stays just a platonic friend, and not in the friend-zoned way. He’s truly just like a brother to Ava, and their relationship is so much more meaningful that way. This leaves room for Ava and Caleb’s romance, another aspect of the book that I still love. Caleb takes it slow with Ava, because the more physical intimacy involved in the Race relationships, the stronger their Bond – which can only be broken by death once established. I don’t know what would have happened without the Bond, but as it is I really appreciated Franklin highlighting a relationship that progresses over months, slowly and with an overwhelming strength in the end. It’s the polar opposite of insta-love, and I love it.
What about the writing style? As with MORE, there’s not much else to say! I’ve been converted to the T.M. Franklin fan club, and I’ll be keeping a close eye out for her future books!
Anything else you’d like to add? You can bet I’ll be buying a paperback version when it comes out! A huge thanks to NetGalley and TWCS Publishing House for the chance to read this ARC!
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