From the blurb:
Ben Pryor grew up as an average kid in Camden, Maine, unaware of the supernatural storm brewing in his Celtic blood. However, at nineteen, as the last born in the royal line of beings that once ruled Atlantis, Ben has eagerly embraced his newfound abilities and birthright.
When Caleb, his sister’s mate, goes missing under suspicious circumstances, the prime suspect is the last remaining member of the overthrown, corrupt Guardian Council.
With the discovery that an old acquaintance has been keeping secrets, and the future Ben was so sure of shifting before his eyes, the situation becomes more complicated and the ransom for Caleb too high.
In the sequel to Shades of Atlantis, Ben will delve deeper than he ever imagined into the old, magical ways of the Guardians, the secrets of Excalibur, and the truth behind the legend of King Arthur.
What exactly did the Council hide beneath the citadel of Camelot? And can it help get Caleb back without putting the world in danger?
Having read and very much enjoyed Shades of Atlantis (see my review at http://www.hannahfielding.net/?p=1063), I was keen to read the next book in the series, which picks up the story of the Guardians. It took me a week to read this book, and what a blissful week that was as I escaped into Carol’s fantasy world.
There are so many things I loved about the book:
The shift in protagonist from Book 1 to Book 2: In Shades of Atlantis, we saw the story from the point of view of Triona, as she fell in love with Caleb. Now, we move into Ben’s perspective, which adds a whole new dimension to the story world. I found this to be refreshingly different to the average approach to series writing, and I really enjoyed the experience of following a male protagonist in what is fundamentally a love story.
The inspiration the author finds in legends: I can’t tell you how delighted I was to discover the narrative bringing in such fascinating characters as King Arthur, Guinevere and Merlin, but with such inventive and original twists. Coupled with the English and Irish backdrops, I was quite swept away into the fantasy – except that Carol’s writing is so vivid and persuasive, it felt ever so real!
The characters: There is quite a cast, and yet I never got lost – and I felt empathy for each and every one (except Zeal, of course, the villain of the piece). I especially loved how important John and his family became in this story, and the conflict this created for both Triona and Ben.
The story: Twists and turns aplenty, and lots of drama to keep you turning the pages. I found myself picturing scenes in my mind like a film playing out on the big screen – this is an epic, gripping story that begs to be visualised.
The depth: There’s plenty of light-hearted, ‘young adult style’ banter in the book, but this is blended with a carefully thought out story full of meaning and poignancy. I especially like the meaning of shade in the book; as Amanda tells Ben: “Shade needs light and darkness to exist at all.”There is good and there is bad, there is light and there is darkness, and the exploration of this and all that lies between is what makes this series an intelligent, compelling read that stays with you long after you’ve closed the book.
Shades of Avalonis available now from Amazon; click on the book cover below to visit the store.