Only the most recent posts pop up on the HOME page. For searchable lists of titles/series reviewed on this Blog, click on one of the Page Tabs above. On each Page, click on the series name to go directly to my review.

AUTHOR SEARCH lists all authors reviewed on this Blog. CREATURE SEARCH groups all of the titles/series by their creature types. The RATINGS page explains the violence, sensuality, and humor (V-S-H) ratings codes found at the beginning of each Blog review and groups all titles/series by their Ratings. The PLOT TYPES page explains the SMR-UF-CH-HIS codes found at the beginning of each Blog review and groups all titles/series by their plot types. On this Blog, when you see a title, an author's name, or a word or phrase in pink type, this is a link. Just click on the pink to go to more information about that topic.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Diane Whiteside: "The Shadow Guard"

Ratings: V3; S5; H2
Publisher: Brava (2011)

     Whiteside, who also writes the TEXAS VAMPIRES series, brings us a possible new series with mages as the main charactersno other supernaturals (at least, not in this book). The story follows the fall-in-lust story of Astrid Carlson, a Sahir (mage) who works as a member of the Guardians, a secret group of immortals who protect humanity against evil forces. The hero of the story is Jake Hammond, a small-town homicide detective with some untapped magic of his own.

     The story begins as Astrid and her partner witness the murder of a young woman who works for the federal government. Jake is the officer in charge of the investigation. At first, the case moves along like a police procedural, but then the magical elements enter the picture and the plot starts falling apart. 

     When Jake learns about Astrid's magical powers, he is not fazednot one bit. Unbelievably, he accepts her magical powers immediately, with little or no doubt at all, even when she tells him that he is a Kubria kind of mystical power source that enhances the magic of a Sahir. Although both of them have one or two brief second thoughts about their relationship, there are none of the angst-ridden monologues that are common in SMR stories. They just seem to accept each other's eccentricities and move onkind of implausible.

     The couple decides to join forces to catch the killer. Then, a second piece of violence occurs when an attacker tries to take out a federal witness being protected by Astrid and Jake. The investigation gets more and more complicated and less and less clear to the reader. In the meantime, Astrid's superiors have warned her not to interfere in this mortal case (mortals are called farashas in this world) and are threatening her with death if she missteps in any way.  It was not clear to me how Astrid could walk away from her guardian duties for an entire week to help Jake full time when her superiors obviously are violently opposed to her actions. By the time the climax finally came along (and it's laughably preposterous), I was just turning the pages and hoping for the end to come quickly.

     I suspect that this will become a series, because Jake's brother is showing some attraction to one of Astrid's fellow Sahirs, and the feeling seems to be mutual. I'll give that book a try if it is actually published, but I hope that the plot will hang together much better than this one does and that the characters will be more believable.

No comments:

Post a Comment