In this first book of her Guardians series, K A Denver introduces us to a world of magic, where fire bolts can be thrown and witches travel around by portals. But that’s not really what the story is about. The coven are family, their warriors a band of brothers: a whole series of relationships are built up between the characters, all of whom are brought to life by some excellent writing.
In fact, it is these characters that make this a stand-out work. Denver has invested heavily in them, and absolutely none are just making up numbers. The male bonding and buried sensitivities she allows to sneak passed the bravado and banter make her men not only believable but truly likeable - yes, even when they act just like men! (That, ladies, is great writing!) The women, both good and bad, are strong and complex, holding secrets and bearing grudges, coloured bold and dark by their histories. Even Parker the cat is thoroughly believable and comes complete with his own little back-story.
What else? Well, the overall concept of the coven and their forest is fantastic, whilst the magic-fuelled fights present us with ‘good versus evil’ set pieces that shine like Star Wars on speed. More than that, some scenes clutched at my heart but I won’t give spoilers by describing these.
I would say that it finished promptly after the all-action finale and perhaps with too little reflection of the aftermath: But then again, just right for a follow-up novel. (Soon please! And more Parker!)
My verdict? When I read this book, my belief was suspended. I believed in Eli and all his friends and enemies. I believed in magic.
So not just 5 stars. Five magic ones to wish on for more of this series.