The Guard: Book One – The Gathering
I was excited to read and review this superhero genre story not just because it looks super intriguing, and it’s one of my favorite types of reads, but it was written by a good friend of mine that I met through blogging! (You hear that Sean? Totally “good friend” status after letting me rant your ear off on your lunch break! Haha…
Now I haven’t read much fiction in recent years.. just keeping up with the Dresden Files and Mortal Instruments series whenever new books come out, and it’s been YEARS since I’ve reviewed a fiction book, so bear with me, yeah?
About the Book
Book description from Amazon.com:
The witch, an ageless spell-caster with a secret history. Refractor, a light-wielding hero as powerful as he is driven by his own guilt. Shillelagh, an Irish man who speaks loudly and carries a big stick anyway. The Fox, an art thief with the ability to control his own density on a mission of vengeance. The Tank Man, a trapped soul piloting a Nazi war machine. Five people, drawn together by fate in order to combat the creeping forces of darkness. Can they learn to work together in order to save the world from the things that lurk on the edge of reality? Find out that answer and more in The Guard, the first book from Bewildering Tales of Fiction! Featuring a cover by Savannah Mirabile!
About the Author
Author description from the mastermind himself (also stolen from Amazon.com, haha):
“My extensive exposure to TV and movies has made me an excellent source for pop culture, and a terrible source of real life skills, but I think I make manchild chic look pretty good.”
Sean Walsh is a 28-year-old comic fan, film journalist, and 9-5’er who can tell you an oral history of the Marvel Universe but stare at you blankly when it comes to a 401k. Despite his poor attempts at ‘adulthood,’ he ekes out a rather happy existence in Connecticut with his two handicapped cats, and really, who needs more than that?
My Thoughts on the Book
First off, the negative side to my review – and let me stress the “negative” for me all stems from personal preference in story content, not the actual quality of the content itself.
So two negatives for me. 1) I read out loud to my girls whenever I get a chance to have some “me time” and read, and so excessive swearing or disturbing content is hard to.. uhh.. censor. I have reached expert ninja stealth level when it comes to reading out loud without the naughty bits, but some books, even books I love, are hard to navigate around. (For instance, the last Dresden book? Holy freaking cow Jim Butcher, tone it down man!) So this book had just a wee bit too much cursing for my tastes.
2) I have a huge aversion to books, TV shows and movies where kids get hurt or corrupted / possessed in some way. I have actually changed Doctor Who and X-Files episodes when kids get hurt and stopped reading Anne Rice novels that I was otherwise engrossed in. I even threw a bit of a bitch fit when a kid got killed in Hansel and Gretel and made my husband turn the movie off. (Of course I was six month pregnant and emotional as heck, but still…) So the story segments with kids dying, and one of the primary characters being an evil child makes it a little difficult for me to fully abandon myself to the story without some personal discomfort / distaste. But I will say, the bits of content that I found personally appealing were not done in a gratuitous way – it was all story elements that moved the story along and built or helped define the character of primary persons in the story.
So if you’re not squeamish about those sorts of things, there’s no other issues I’ve found with the book.. it was a solid, intriguing and well-paced read! The world Walsh crafts is believable, personable and clearly shows well thought out planning – none of that meandering “I’m just making this up as I go along” quality that you find in many new and budding authors.
Walsh also has a way with words, and is able to pack a lot of description and emotion into a short amount of space, which is one of my favorite qualities in a wordsmith. None of the dialogue seemed forced, and the interjections of comedy and chemistry between the main players was effortless and enjoyable.
His ability to ease the severity of a scene with humorous dialogue, without ruining the momentum of the drama displays a very Whedon-esque flair, which I deeply enjoy. While I am interested in reading the next book in this series because he left it off on one hell of a cliffhanger, I would actually be far more interested in reading more works from Walsh that take on a bit of a lighter, less dark theme.
If you are interested in giving this book a look-see, and supporting a wonderfully talented up and coming author, you can purchase The Guard at Amazon.com (CLICK HERE) where it is currently just $8 on Amazon Prime!