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First off I am a huge fan of fantasy and science fiction novels and when I was browsing the sections in the bookstore and my eyes lay upon these books, I knew I had to read them. The Guardian Cycle consists of five novels, each with their own various stories and plots but all of them containing the main characters. The author of these books is Julia Gray who had previously wrote two other novels, Isle of the Dead and Ice Mage, both of which I have not read.
The birth of an Emperor's son has been prophesied for centuries and this child would be the guardian to the floating islands of Vandanis who would save them from a catastrophe so great it would destroy everything and everyone. But what wasn't foreseen was the birth of twins on that fateful night. The first is Jax who is raised in the palace as prince and groomed to become the future leader. His twin is Terrel who is born handicapped. On seeing her deformed child the Empress is horrified and orders for Terrel to be sent away to live in a mental asylum where his life will be filled with pain and grief.
Terrel lives his life unknowing of who he really is and what family he belongs to. He appreciates the time that he spends with his two best friends Elam and Alyssa until one horrid day that will change Terrels life and the world forever.
Both twins have talents that are unknown at first but soon become quite apparent to all. When the ancient prophecy begins to come to pass it become clear that the identity of the guardian has to be known, but is it either one of the twins?
This is the first novel in the spellbinding series of the guardian cycle. It follows Terrel and his perilous journey into the unknown where he will face prejudice and hardships but at times joy and friendship.
I was absorbed into the world of Vandanis as soon as I read the first few eventful pages. This book has all the ingredients for a masterpiece with adventure, drama, romance, humour, mystery and just good fun. Her writing style is extremely descriptive and not that much dialogue is presented in the novel. This might tire out some people who can't stand to read pages and pages of description. You might enjoy it but it's entirely on what you prefer. However I find that by doing this she presents a world to us that is so vivid we could actually imagine it in our minds. Everything is so clear and detailed that nothing is missed out and the reader is not left annoyed or flummoxed.
In terms of the plot and story this book is very intriguing. Lots of questions arise in this book and it made me extremely eager to find out what is going to happen. I found the Dark Moon quite original although it really is a basic boy saves world story but I love how she blended a story of growing up and maturity into the plot. I liked the ending to this book but a friend of mine who has also read it told me she found it rather confusing. She also felt rather unfulfilled and was left annoyed by the ending. I have heard similar annoyances by other people so either they just dont like fantasy or the book really isnt as good as I think it is.
The characters in this book are fascinating and I found it exciting to learn all about them and the relationships between them all. During this novel all of the characters developed emotionally and I loved how each relationship changes.
Terrel is born very unfortunate and you instantly fall in love with his caring and healing nature. He is just a teenager when he ventures out into the big world and is met with hostility and hate. However his character just doesnt seem to have the same charm as the others and this can become quite tiresome as he is the main focus of the book. This is probably a big flaw in the novels and one of the reasons I didnt like this book as much as I could have.
Jax is completely opposite to Terrel in every single way and you either hate or love him. Me I liked the bad boy. He is selfish, cruel and slightly psychotic. The prince is given everything he could possibly want and his idea of fun is to annoy Terrel whenever he gets the opportunity.
Alyssa has the innocence of a child yet the maturity of an adult and I felt like I could be her and found myself identifying with her ideals and emotions. She is one of Terrels best friends at the asylum and provides him with emotional support.
These are the three main characters in all of the books however Terrel does encounter many friends and foes in each book that are all incredibly detailed and intricate characters. Elam is one of Terrels friends who gives him support in any way throughout the novel. Terrel also has friends who are ghosts and give him information on the prophecies that seem to rule Terrels life.
My Overall Opinion
Her description overload may become unbearable for some and the problem of Terrel as a main character is a massive flaw in these novels. I thought its ending was good but in others opinions it isnt so I guess that is all to do with your personal opinion.
Now I will briefly mention the entire series in order to get my point across. If you are one of those people that if you read one book in a series then you have to read the rest, I seriously do not recommend this for you. This book is fine on its own and provides a good read, however the entire series is another story. I found each book after this one becoming repetitive and boring. The endings in specific are pretty much the same for every book. The only other book in this series which I thought was as original and on par with Dark Moon is the last novel of the series. Heed my warning as I was only able to read these books by having about a years gap in between.
This book is a must buy for all who love a good science fiction and fantasy novel. If you like such authors such as Terry Goodkind, Terry Pratchett, Michelle West and Elizabeth Moon then I recommend this book to you.
Other novels by Julia Gray
Isle of the Dead
The Guardian Cycle includes:
The Jasper Forest
The Crystal Desert
The Red Glacier
You can buy it from any high street book retailer for around £6.99 or buy it amazon.co.uk for £5.59.
The publisher is Orbit and there are 536 pages
This review was also posted in other quarters.
The birth of the Emperor's son had been prophesied many years before. The child would be the Guardian; saviour of his people. What had not been foreseen was the fact that there would be two imperial children born that night. Second-born Terrell is banished and grows up unaware of his birthright.