Monday, January 13, 2014

Review: The Guardian (Book Two): To Run with the Swift by Gerald N. Lund

International intrigue, realism with a touch of magic, characters to entertain any age, clean and suspenseful, a hint of romance written by the masterful Gerald N. Lund--what's not to like?

But perhaps I shouldn't have signed up to review To Run with the Swift. I loved The Work and the Glory series, and when I was given the chance to read and review this book, I figured it would be right up my alley. The only problem was--I haven't read The Guardian (Book One). Yeah, probably would have been a good idea.

In my own defense, I've read several series not always starting at the beginning, and doing so has sometimes not been confusing and actually prompted me to go back and read the other books. (I also thought I asked the marketing director if I needed to read the first book first and when the book ended up on my doorstep, I figured the answer had been "no." Until I looked back through my emails and found out I never sent the query. Oops!)

So my first suggestion is to read from the beginning--read the first book first. Where some sequels fill in the necessary gaps as you go along, I still have questions in my mind about events referenced from the first book. Some might say that's not the author's fault, and I would tend to agree. Finding that balance of explaining everything through each book in a series instead of expecting an informed reader is a difficult one, and I tend to think that Lund did a pretty good job of keeping me informed versus alienating the audience who'd actually read the first book. Even though I didn't always know exactly what happened, I knew enough to be interested in continuing with the story.

I was especially intrigued with the first section of the book, but wasn't quite prepared for when it jumped from Europe to the US and totally different characters. (I know, if I'd only read the first book...) After that, the excitement seemed to take a little time to get going again. Much of the first half was taken up with "wrapping up" what transpired in the first book. By the middle, when the family went overseas, I found myself more invested in the story and it finally felt like its own plot rather than a continuation of the first. It was then that I became immersed in the McAllisters' world and the pace picked up, though my favorite part remained the history and back story.

Another thing to note: Since my only experience with Lund's books were The Work and the Glory series, I'd expected LDS characters. Even though the McAllisters were LDS, it wasn't an integral part of the plot--just so you're aware.

Description by Deseret Book:
"After Danni McAllister and her family escaped from El Cobra and his kidnapping ring, they thought life would basically return to normal. Little did they know that their peril had just begun.

As secrets from the past begin to unfold, it becomes evident that the motives driving the attacks on the McAllister family go much deeper than money—and they're not going to stop anytime soon. Now, as Danni faces evils even more sinister than before, she has to wonder if even the Guardian will be equal to the dangers ahead.

The whole family will love this page-turning conclusion to the story of Le Gardien, the enchanted pouch that guides, protects, and teaches those who have it in their keeping."

Where to Find It:
Interested in reading The Guardian: To Run with the Swift? Try Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Deseret Book and don't forget to add it to your "To Read" shelf on Goodreads.