Review: The Guardian, a Sword, & Stilettos (Enlighten #1) by Kristin D. Van Risseghem

the guardian, a sword & silettosTitle: The Guardian, a Sword, & Stilettos
Author: Kristin D. Van Risseghem
Series: Enlighten #1
Rating: 3 stars
Genres: Young Adult Fantasy
Links:

Blurb:
Zoe Jabril could be just another 17-year-old girl attending parties with her friends and checking out cute guys—except her best friend is a Guardian Angel, and the boy she crushes on is a Nephilim, half-angel, both sent to Earth to protect her. A high school classmate happens to be a trendsetting shopaholic fairy. And now there’s a new werewolf in town.

Zoe has to deal with her feelings toward Shay, who spreads a strange electrical current through her body every time he touches her. Now Zoe is under constant attack from demons, trying to kill and stop her from fulfilling the Prophecy: a girl will be born who will unite the Enlightens to battle evil. Then on top of that, between boring homework and drama with girls at school, she has to control new found talents if she’s to prevent the devil from escaping Hell.

In order to do so, Zoe must devise a kick-ass plan ASAP or watch everyone die, because she’s running out of time. She turns eighteen in two months—the date Armageddon kicks off.

My Review:
I have mixed views on this book, and while I did enjoy reading it, I can’t say that it blew me away. I’m still undecided on whether to continue the series.

This book started off really well, with an exciting chase and subsequent fighting scene, and we were quickly introduced to the main themes. I love stories about angels and demons and I was really into the story at the beginning. Zoe finds out that she is the Redeemer and the subject of a prophecy which is due to kick off when she turns 18, in about two months time. Oh, and the world is going to go to hell in a handbasket when demons have free reign over the Earth. It’s up to her to save everyone. Yay! I thought, brill, right up my alley. I hunkered down to read- all great so far.

However, it quickly fell apart when the focus became all about the romance. (And believe me when I say it is so weird for me to say that because I love my romance.) There was a significant lack of action, which was disappointing and not what I expected. I kept waiting for something pivotal to happen and when stuff did happen it felt quite anti-climactic.

I enjoyed the author’s writing style, and she has a natural way with words. The pacing was fairly consistent. The world building was fab, and while not always original, I think Kristin managed to create her own ideas and put her own stamp on things, and I did enjoy the fantasy aspect of the story.

The biggest issue I had was with characterization and emotional depth. I felt the characters needed more fleshing out, and scenes that should have packed an emotional punch fell way short of the mark. To be fair, this is a debut novel, and it is something that I’m sure will improve in later books.

Some of the dialogue was stiff and unnatural and some of the scenes were downright cringeworthy. I hated that Shay was into One Direction and The Wanted (even though I personally like both bands) as it seemed completely out of character. Even if he had been an ordinary teenager (and not an 80-year-old neph) it would have seemed weird. I don’t know many teenage boys who would openly admit to such musical taste in front of the girl they are crushing on, let alone rely on them to woo her in part.

Zoe was a typical MC and though she irritated me with her lack of regard for the situation, and her shallow focus on boys and dresses, I can forgive that because she’s a teenager in love for the first time. I didn’t love her or hate her; I suppose I tolerated her.

Some of the side characters were much better developed and I liked Sidelle and Finn, in particular. And the boys – I loved Kieran and Shay, despite some minor irritations over character inconsistency. But they were both totally swoon-worthy and really decent leading men.

Reading back over this review, it may seem that I didn’t like the book, which would be unfair to say. In summary, I did enjoy reading this book, and there were certain aspects that were very good, however, there were some issues that detracted from my overall enjoyment. With that ending, I am still curious to see where the story is heading, so maybe I will check out the sequel. I anticipate that a lot of the issues I had with this one would be non-issues in the next book.

I think if you enjoy your fantasy reads with a strong focus on romance and a high-school kinda vibe then you will love this one. It should also appeal to fans of Fallen, Hush Hush etc.

Thanks to the publisher for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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