Friday, February 17, 2012

The Last Guardian, Joan Hazel

I admit that I rarely read Paranormal Fantasy, what with my personal addiction to elves and dragons, but I enjoyed THE HECK out of reading this book!  The heroes are sexy, funny and full of mischief. The plot is not the usual good vs evil plot that I am used to, but is more subtle. Yes, good does battle evil, but some of evil's companions have redeeming qualities that are not fully explored in this book. This does set it up nicely for a sequel.

The guardians were created by the Norse Goddess Freya to care for her children, who (in this tale) are shapeshifters. Norse Mythology figures quite strongly in this tale, as does the lore of the Lakota People, a unique melding of the two.

Starting off immediately in a state of suspense and action, the "pack" is introduced with all the bravado of a special op. attack force. Hazel quickly plunges her reader into the personalities and relationships of the four pack members: Fergus, Saint, Mika, and Ghost. In the opening sequence a member of the pack is injured and the rest rush to save him.  His injuries are so serious that his abilities are compromised.  As the story progresses, the complicated relationships between the pack members drive the storyline, and the action keeps you on the edge of your seat.

These strong male characters are complemented by the protagonist CJ Carson. Charlie Jean, or CJ, is about to be thrown into a world she does not understand, and yet holds the answers to questions that have nagged at her all her life. Unbeknownst to her, she was born into a family whose sole occupation for generations has been to be the Guardians who keep the secrets of the shapeshifters and protect them. 

Unfortunately there are traitors within the shapeshifting community and they plot to free themselves of the guardians. They murder the man who was actually CJ’s father, and when they discover her existence, her life is then in danger.

The pack must bring CJ safely into their community, but the antagonists will stop at nothing to prevent that.  The final battle in this book is heart-stopping adventure and is one of the best parts in a book that is filled with great moments.

The pack is comprised of sexy, ooh-la-la men, and they are witty as well as easy on the eyes.  CJ and her friends are well drawn and compelling characters.

The plot is well paced and keeps the reader interested.  This is quite a romantic book even though it never drops into 'romance-novel' territory. The chemistry between Mika and CJ is good. I whiled away a rainy Sunday reading this book, and highly recommend it!


Gary Hoover said...

I have it on my Kindle. Can't wait to read it!

jennymilch said...

The cover is beautiful. I love anything with a "pack" in it. Just the concept is evocative.

Connie J Jasperson said...

Jenny - it is one of the coolest covers I have seen!