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Brie's Corner

Supervillain book reviewer. Lover of secret pains and purple proses. I review over at Romance Around the Corner.

Guardian Demon

Guardian Demon - Meljean Brook Note: I had to modify the review to fit Goodreads, so I recommend reading this one on my my blog because the original format is much better.Warning: minor spoilers for previous books.As you guys know (because I keep telling you), this is my favorite series, and the final book, Guardian Demon, was one of my most anticipated book of, well, ever. So it's a bittersweet moment for me, because as much as I enjoyed the book, saying goodbye to a beloved series is never easy. The good news is that I read the book in May, so I’ve had time to get over the book hangover, and this review won’t be a blubbering mess.The blurb mentions a "terrifying encounter in Hell", and it's quite right. What Michael does to Taylor is almost unforgivably bad, but also serves as a way to bring down and humanize a guy who wouldn't have worked as a hero otherwise. And of course, other than figuring out how to be together (or if Taylor wants to be with Michael), they also have to deal with… stuff.Man, I’m getting really good at summarizing plots.The reason why I’m hesitant to say more about the story is because the book almost reads like a suspense novel, even if the rules of the genre guarantee a happy ending. But even knowing things will eventually resolve, there’s a feeling of incertitude and fear for the characters’ fate that permeates the whole reading experience, and I don’t want to rob someone of the whole experience by inadvertently giving away a minor detail or spoiler. So I’ll just say that there is a lot going, but everything that happens feeds the relationship between the characters at the core of the story. And that we get to see old friends in important roles that don’t feel like intrusive fan service.When a book is surrounded by so much love and expectations, there’s always the possibility that it will disappoint those who spent years feeding said love. Add to that a hero whose heroic qualities are dubious not because he’s morally corrupt, but because he’s perfect to the point of unattainable, we get a recipe for possible disaster. But as I said, the first thing that happens is that Michael stops being perfect, not only to us, but to Taylor. And so, not only does the love story become possible, but we almost become active participants in Taylor’s journey. The end result is an incredibly satisfying conclusion to the series.As much as I was intrigued by Michael, Taylor was the one I really cared about. I’ve liked her since I first met her all those books ago, and I’ve enjoyed getting to know her even before I knew she would be the final heroine. She’s always been an outsider who was forced to share the world with angels, demons and vampires, but who never felt comfortable or even accepted them. She’s a complex woman filled with strengths and very much aware of her vulnerabilities. She’s also torn between what’s right and what she wants to do, which is her main journey in this book, even taking preference over the impossible romance. The story is about her as an individual as much as it is about them as a couple.On the other hand, Michael took some getting used to. Ms. Brook’s brand of alpha male is different from what Paranormal Romance has us used to. These guys are strong leaders who take action, but they are not overbearing or abusive. However, Michael is really, really old and really, really powerful, something that complicates things. I was surprised by how believable his otherness was. It’s so easy to turn a character like that into a joke, but there’s nothing particularly laughable or exaggerated about him. It’s so well done that it made it hard for me to find something about him that read human or relatable; a problem I shared with Taylor. The problem gets slowly resolved once she begins to see him under a different light, so his transformation actually takes place within her.Guardian Demon was perfect for me, but it is not a perfect book. There is a lot going on in the story, and some parts felt rushed while others felt slow, so the pacing was uneven, and I wouldn’t be surprised if some readers found it boring, especially those unfamiliar with the series or not as emotionally invested as long-time fans. Certain resolutions happen too conveniently, and although there’s some clever foreshadowing that makes said convenience seem clever and surprising, I thought it was more about creating a problem impossible to solve without the use of certain elements that looked a lot like deus ex machina. But these are things easy to ignore with such an engrossing and riveting story, and considering everything the book accomplishes, they are nothing but minor issues.The review is already way too long, so I should warp things up, but I can’t leave without saying just how happy the book made me. I realize this review is even more subjective than usual, so you should take it with a bigger grain of salt, but the best endorsement I can give Guardian Demon is that I’m an unabashed fan of the series, I’ve been dying with the anticipation to read the book, and I can honestly say that this is the conclusion such a wonderful series deserves. If you’re new to the books, go back and read them in order.Source: A review copy was provided by the author.