This novel was recommended by a dear friend, and although I didn’t find the blurb all that intriguing, I know her and she knows me, and, let’s face it, for less than the price of a cup of coffee in some pretentious coffee shop, you could just discover a gem.
I will admit – this book did not capture my imagination straight away. In fact, I gave it much longer than I normally do before moving onto the next in an ever growing TBR pile. However, something kept me going. Whether that was the fact my friend loved it, or whether there was some niggling ‘hmmm’ I kept going.
I was over 25% in before I started to like this book, and by the end, I really liked it, so much so that I downloaded the next in the series.
There are things I didn’t like – I’ll get to those – but for now, let me focus on ‘glass half full’.
Warden is about Max who is, in fact, a Warden, a protector of (a part of) the earth in some way, whether that be Air, Water, Fire…well, you get the point. However, Max is a warden of Life, that is, she is all those things.
But….and here’s the doozy – Max doesn’t know what she is. She knows she’s different – various spells in psychiatric facilities have told her that – but she has no clue of the hidden paranormal world that she is a key part of. That is, until in a dive bar trying to re-energise herself whilst fending off hapless advances, Max is discovered by three Paladins, knights who are sword to protect the Wardens, for they are few and far between, and yet are necessary for the balance of what we know to be the world around us.
The three Paladins, out for a quiet drink, find their life turned upside down when they take Max under their wing and try to educate her into her reason for being.
Problem is, Max is feisty, opinionated, a little fireball who refuses to meld into what she is supposed to be.
And then she meets Ryker, a Paladin who has a chequered history with his kind. When he tries to bend Max to his will, fireworks ensue. Good luck with that, buddy!
I loved Max. In fact, I might be a bit in love with Max. Some of her one-liners had me chuckling and wishing I’d thought of them – she is the Queen of the ‘put-down’, so much so, I’ve made a note of some. Surely I’ll be able to use them at some time in the future!
And now for the bits I didn’t like.
The writing is aimed at quite a young audience. Even though there is sex in this novel, and it is described in detail, Warden is clearly ensconced in the YA genre (and as much as I’d like to lie to myself, I was a Young Adult…..eons ago, sadly). Having said that, if YA isn’t your thing, I wouldn’t let that put you off. There is so much more to this story to keep your attention. And you don’t have to be a Young Adult to enjoy that genre. I am living proof.
There are a few too many ‘Ward-isms’ for my liking (for those who don’t follow the genius that is J R Ward – well, that’s who I’m referring to). As a writer myself, I know how hard it is to stop those things you love about novels you have read leaking into your own writing, but it is your duty to weed them out. You want people to think of you, and only you, when they read your novel, not be reminded of someone else’s work. Here’s an example – Peanut Gallery. Don’t use Peanut Gallery when describing a bunch of people surrounding an Alpha making a bit of a tit of himself and having a giggle at his expense. Ward has claimed that particular phrase as her own, and all it does is makes me think of a BDB novel when what I really wanted to do is think of a Montana Ash novel. She only used it once, but it was enough to drag me out of the story….the last thing you want a reader to do.
As an overall summary, I really liked Warden. I have downloaded the second novel, and I hope I enjoy it as much (or maybe even more) than Warden. I am definitely hoping for more of Max and her special brand of one-liners. If only I was blessed with a modicum of the wit Max has, I’d be a happy girl indeed!.