Liquid Silver Books, $3.99, ISBN 978-1-59578-904-4
Fantasy Romance, 2012
Our artist heroine Claire Stillwell’s day can only get better. First off, she’s late for the first time to work. It’s her last day, as she has tendered her resignation to open her own gallery, but she hates to be late. It’s a matter of principle, you see. So she takes a short cut through some scary alleys that are filled with “gang symbols” and what not, and… eek, a shadow! Fortunately for her, our hero Roman Hunt happens to be stalking her by sitting at the café where she works and, I guess, glowering at her in that dark and sexy way that makes him a running candidate for the Mr America’s Most Wanted beauty pageant.
On that day, alarmed that Claire is late for her waitressing gig, he decides to go look for her. Roman is a Guardian who… uh, anyway, he senses just in time that a Spirit is lingering around Claire, waiting to possess Claire, so he swoops in and stab that bugger with his powerful dagger. It’s not a really fair fight, if you ask me, since Ms Print has made it such that Spirits cannot sense a Guardian nearby until the Guardian begins his attack. Maybe the Spirits are blind or something? After saving Claire, and realizing that she’s still a bit sane in that she doesn’t succumb into a swoon for creepy stalkers brandishing daggers, he uses his powers of Persuasion on her. Lo, she manages to resist him! Because he can’t mind rape her, he turns into a scary black dog – figures that he would turn into that – and scares her into a faint. And then he puts her up in his home, which is probably just next door to Casa Cullen in some woods in a mountainous area, and reveals to her that he is a Gargoyle. Apparently Gargoyles are Guardians who protect humans from evil Spirits and Claire is special because she is… is…
Oh god, I can’t do this. I can’t go on without collapsing into another round of hysterical guffaw. Guardian is competently written, if I can overlook the obnoxious capitalization of the first letters of Very Special Words like Persuasion and Spirits and Whatever, but the plot! This story comes off like an amateur’s first fanfiction effect, with shallow canon that is put together using common tropes in a superficial manner that is, at the same time, unintentionally hilarious. The main characters are by-the-numbers type of stock characters – the Brooding Stalker (with Sequel Bait Band of Brothers accessories) and the Special Snowflake, to be more exact, and I have come across these same characters so many times before in stories of this nature. There is nothing noteworthy about this story other than how it often dips into unintentional ham, especially when the author tries to sell me that Roman’s creepy stalker antics is some kind of sexy-all-the-way thing, so I don’t know. I mean, it’s not unreadable, but it’s not exactly what I’d consider a “buy this and read it now” story.
But at least I’m not bored while reading this thing, I suppose.