Note: This is an excerpt from my full review, which is posted at That's What I'm Talking About here: http://twimom227.com/2013/08/review-guardian-demon-by-meljean-brook.html
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for purposes of a review.
My Rating: 5 stars: Personal favorite - a must read (A+)
The end is finally here. After waiting almost two years for Ms. Brook’s grand finale to her marvelous Guardian series, I started Guardian Demon with mixed feelings. I was excited to finally read Michael’s book... I was sad knowing this was the end of one of my favorite series. So on that note... Let me share with you my thoughts. Please note: as the eighth and final book of this series, it truly is not meant for the first time reader, and my review will inevitably contain spoilers from earlier books in the series.
Ms. Brook is a master at conveying true emotional depth in her stories. I cried - no bawled - at several points during Guardian Demon. At one point I was unable to read because my eyes were so full of tears. This is a wonderful thing because it means I was able to connect with and care for these characters, especially Michael and Taylor. (Note: sometimes the tears were joyful!) Have tissues at the ready!
At over 570 pages, this book is a behemoth. There is no way I can accurately or succinctly summarize all that occurs. But the bottom line is, Ms. Brook’s does a marvelous job finalizing the series. She takes the time to not only explore the complex relationship between Michael and Taylor, but she explains the whats and whys of how the world got to the place it is in by the time the final battles occur. She brings back all of the previous characters and lets readers know where they are and what they’ve been up to. She furthers her own wonderful mythology, while providing a means to an end. Guardian Demon most certainly wraps up and gives finality to the overall story arc of good vs. bad, Caelum vs. Hell, Guardians vs. Demons, Michael vs. Lucifer.
Michael and Taylor... what a wonderful combination. From the first moments that the pair met, you knew they would have a highly charged and powerful romance. I am happy to report that Ms. Brook does deliver. What starts out as a somewhat standoffish relationship, grows and blossoms into a thing of beauty. There were thorns and a lot of pain along the way, but the journey was just so good. They worked and played together so well - learning from one another and helping us along on their journey. I lost count of how many times I smiled or sobbed because of this pair. Each character is so strong, yet so vulnerable. They start out in lonely, isolated places, but then they each allow themselves to feel... to experience... to trust. Sure they have physical chemistry - and WOW! are they hot together. It’s all very needy and about possession and uncontrollable hunger, which makes me fan myself just thinking about it. But it is the emotional growth between the pair that makes them one of my all-time favorite couples. The emotional highs and lows (and there are plenty of both) create a connection that held onto my heart and still brings tears to my eyes. I love this pair!
What made this story so ideal is that although everything that needed to be wrapped up was done so with a bow, Meljean took time to explore all aspects of the outcome - the good and bad, the easy and messy. It was predictable, yet surprising. There was no easy path, and at over 570 pages, there were challenges. I never felt that the story was overwritten, but there were a few times when I found myself itching and anxious to move on to the next scene. These were usually the times of fairly deep philosophical discussions between Michael and Taylor. Even though they slowed down the pace of the book, after reading those sections I felt like I got a better understanding of the characters. These sections also allowed the author to explore and explain the entire Guardian workings and world that spanned eight books and five novellas.
Ms. Brook has a sublime talent for world-building - literally, as we witness the rebirth of realm of Caelum at the hands of novice Taylor. Every locale visited, every battle fought, every tender moment… these were seamlessly described with intricate details which allowed the reader to be right there with the characters. There was no "telling," only "showing." Some how, the story never gets bogged down under the weight of the details, only enhanced by the words that brought this story to life.
Everyone of the cast and crew from early books is present for the conclusion of the series. Even though it's been two years since the last story, I never felt lost - and that is saying a lot coming from me. I forget what I ate for breakfast as soon as the dishes are in the dishwasher. The previous tales are mentioned in a way that seemed like a comfortable memory - I didn't need to know every detail, but rather I was reminded how I felt and what generally happened. I truly am amazed that I wasn't continually reaching for my books, searching for the back stories.
So in the end, I couldn't be more pleased with Guardian Demon. While it is not an affective stand alone book, it is perfect for long-time fans of the series.