For most people, the race of the Sidhe are little more than legend, believed to be extinct for centuries after the males of the race rose up and fought alongside the humans subjugated and enslaved by the female Sidhe.
Jarek Reen however know different, he's seen them alive and well, still messing with humanity. They've already killed his sister, so he's not surprised when he discovers an old friend and her partner are next on the Sidhe's hitlist. Foiling the assassination attempt was only the beginning and now he's got two new recruits ready to fight to expose the insidious influence of the Sidhe, and their evil plans to enslave the human race again.
One of the things that really strike you about Guardians of Paradise is the way the author manages to create living, breathing characters and then place them in creative, striking worlds without once messing up the pace. Admittedly there are a few info dumps and the character of Taro does largely act as a device to start those dumps but the pace survives well by the use of short sharp chapters. The idea of the Sidhe is an ingenious one, a race with devastating mental powers and striking beauty, secretly messing with the human race for hundreds of years. I was a little cautious of reading this third novel in the series without reading the first two but I never felt lost, or that I was missing anything and the book seems to function perfectly well as a stand alone story.
Narrated in a strong, distinctive voice I was hooked from the very start - there is a real energy to the novel with plenty of action, thrills and a very imaginative story. I managed to bond with the characters of Jarek and Naul although Taro did get on my nerves a bit - a fairly nieve, troubled 17 year old along with all that this entails. Naul is a very interesting character and it was very rewarding to see her grow in both power and confidence through the novel while struggling to accept and overcome the limitations of her race. The majority of the story focuses on Naul and Taro along with thier growing relationship and at times it feels like Jarek is a spare part, I would have liked to see him play a larger part in the story, but that is a minor niggle really (born in part due to my annoyance at Taro)
The plot itself works well, and the authors makes excellent use of this well developed universe, with some exotic set pieces, plenty of intrigue and well placed action. Overall I really liked Guardians of Paradise, the world building is amongst the best i've seen in a science fiction setting, with a rich and vibrant voice, recommended.
Written on Monday 22nd August 2011 by Antony.
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