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Review: The Guardian – Chisto Healy

The Guardian - Chisto Healy

Genre: Fantasy

LGBTQ+ Category: Lesbian, Bi

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About The Book

A battle to avenge the past is also a fight to protect the future.

Twelve years ago, Marista, warrior for the royal guard of Avaron, was given the sworn duty of protecting her fallen kingdom’s infant prince, Derrin. Marista was hidden away with the prince while her people fought and died at the hands of the Vorcan raiders.

Now… Lord Vorcan is hunting them to eliminate what remains of his enemyWith no one to oppose him he could replace the Lands’ many cultures with a one world dictatorship ruled by his own iron fist. Avaron lives on in Marista’s heart and now she has more than a fallen kingdom to fight for. Derrin is no longer just her king, he is her son, and she will do anything to keep him safe. This means taking on slave traders, pirates, and the Vorcan Empire itself, and this is just the beginning. All of the Lands are about to discover that there is no greater fight than the one driven by love.

For Avaron.

The Review

I just finished reading Chisto Healy‘s new book The Guardian. It’s the start of an epic new Fantasy series starring a cast of swashbuckling female heroines. It’s told entirely from the point of view of Marista, a woman who was tasked with protecting the son of the Queen of Avaron when her nation was destroyed by Lord Vorcan, a demonic conqueror determined to swallow up all of the Lands.

The action starts when Vorcan discovers where Marista and young Derrin have been hiding, on the island of the Oracle. She gives them warning, and they set off before the evil forces arrive, catching a passing ship and going from the frying pan into the fire. I won’t give away too much of the plot, but along the way, Marista meet old friends and new allies, many of them strong female characters – one of the things I loved about the story.

The entire book is told in Marista’s POV. My regular readers know that I personally prefer to tell stories in three or five or even nine points of view, so this was a bit of a departure for me, especially in an epic fantasy.

But I think it serves the story well, grounding us in this one character’s worldview. She has an unrequited love for the queen, who was killed in action. She’s also totally devoted to taking care of Derrin, so that he may one day reclaim his kingdom and become a king of Avaron.

if I’m going to be nitpicky, there are a few things I would’ve liked here that I didn’t get. The first one is a map. For me, any epic fantasy should come with beautifully-drawn chart that I can use to figure out where the characters are and where they are going. I love getting a feel for how the world is laid out, and am I’m hoping that Healy adds one next time around.

And the second? Another point of view. It’s my personal preference, but it does start to get a little claustrophobic for me in a long work, when I only have one character through whose eyes I can see this amazing world.

That said, this is a strong first outing for a new fantasy series. The characters are well drawn and likable, and there’s enough tension in conflict among the cast to keep the story moving along well. Much of the time we’re at sea, until the climactic scenes toward the end.

Marista is not perfect, and that bodes well for her character’s long-term development. Derrin, on the other hand, is a little too perfect. Then again, he is just a young boy, and I’m sure he will get banged up a bit on the way to his destiny.

The Guardian is a fun ride. There’s lots of action, a promise of love, and all of the Lands to explore in future books in the series – I can’t wait to check out the rest of this world. And I love that this book is full of strong women – and decidedly not of the Conan, bikini wearing type. 

I’m glad that the author decided to take the leap into epic fantasy – it suits his talents well.

So grab a copy now and get reading. You won’t be disappointed, and like me, you will soon be eagerly awaiting book two!

The Reviewer

Scott is the founder of Queer Sci Fi, and a fantasy and sci fi writer in his own right, with more than 30 published short stories, novellas and novels to his credit, including two trilogies.  

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