Thursday, January 8, 2015

Book Review: The Eighth Guardian (Annum Guard, #1)

Author| Meredith McCardle
Edition| Kindle eBook
Genre| YA Fantasy/Time Travel
Rating| 3.5-4 stars

This is a book I picked up a while ago when it was on sale on the kindle store.  It had some pretty good reviews, but I put off reading it until now for a couple reasons.  For one, I already have a favorite time travel series (if one can have one, that is) and am actually infatuated with the idea of it.  The way a story can have so many twists and turns and unexpected things happen because of the fluidity has always intrigued me.

The book follows Amanda (code name: Iris), a recent, and unexpected, grad from a top school where they train people to be CIA and FBI.  She whisked away to a secret organization, called Annum Guard, where the agents there go back in time to change it and "enhance" the present.  She's rebellious at first but decides to tough out their trial session in order to learn the truth about her father, who mysteriously died.

So why was the rating for this book so hard to pin down?  I have the Chronos Files (my favorite time-travel story, so far at least) to compare it to.  In my mind, those books live on a pedestal and won't be taken down by anything (at least not since Moffat started running Doctor Who), so directly comparing this series and that is like putting Annum Guard in a race it can't win.

Taking out the Chronos Files comparison, I still had a few problems with the book.  For most of the book, the main character is annoying.  It got on my nerves how the world revolved around her, but as the story progressed I came to believe this was done on purpose by the author to help show the character growth.  Amanda's still not perfect by the end, but she has changed, and I believe there are still several books to come.

The side characters, too, were rather weak.  They could have done with some fleshing out, but Amanda doesn't exactly spend much time with them, so the places where they could be developed lacked in and of themselves.  The two other side characters that deserved deeper plots and weren't given them were Yellow and Abe, both of whom I'm sure will turn up in the next book and (hopefully) get backstory's of.  The plot does rely on keeping readers, and Amanda, in the dark, so while I found it lacking, again, I'm pretty sure it was done on purpose.

Enough with the complaining though.  This book really was a lot of fun.  There were points where I lost track of how much I was reading and just kept going.  That rarely happens to me since I have so much going on and I like to set check points for myself.  Props for McCardle for sucking me into the story.

I have received an ARC of the sequel, so chances are that's the next, or one of the next, reviews you'll see on here.  I can't wait to get cracking on it, because the central mystery is pretty good.  Plus, I totally ship Yellow and Amanda (weird, because I don't do many slash-ships, but I feel like it totally works here); and if I'm invested enough to ship the characters, I'm invested enough to continue.

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