2 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
Summary: Teenage orphan Darwin goes to New York City to live with his cousin, a famous football player who expects him to fend for himself financially until he turns 18. This is presented as being a huge dramatic shock, even though Darwin is 17 and can therefore legally get a job in the state of New York (something that never occurs to anyone at any point). And then some stuff happens for a bit, then stops happening, then other stuff happens, time passes, and eventually the book ends.
Despite being coined for and mainly relating to visual media, “show don’t tell” is an important rule that should be followed by pretty much every writer regardless of the format. It is also one that the writer of this book does not seem to be familiar with.
For every one thing that happens where the reader can experience it, two more things happen off-screen, and the audience only finds out after the characters discuss it amongst themselves. Character relationships get upgraded or downgraded based on nothing and without the audience being clued into to any of it, most plot points are brought up only to be resolved or abandoned within a short chapter or two, and important decisions are made based on events that the reader never sees and were given no indication were occurring.
The vast majority of the female characters are either awful, exist only to be brutalized and/or killed, or both, and the men aren’t much better, being either flat and flawless, or flat and evil. Our Hero is a complete cypher who shows little interiority or personality and is just generically nice and good at everything without really trying.
All of that is in addition to the poor formatting decisions, multitudinous typos, and clear lack of basic knowledge of geography (Pittsburgh is not in the Midwest and is also not spelled “Pittsburg”. There is a Pittsburg in California, but that is also not in the Midwest), religion (Judaism is not the same as Catholicism), and human behavior (characters burst into tears at the slightest provocation, and there’s a scene where a woman behaves oddly like a battered housewife, even though that’s not what’s going on at all) littered throughout the entire book.
I kinda really liked it? It’s not good by any metric, and there are a few parts, especially near the end, where it stretched its few charms past acceptable levels of “So Bad It’s Good”ness, but I enjoyed it more than I didn’t. If the bibliography at the end is any indicator, it seems the author is more comfortable and experienced with writing short stories and it shows in the somewhat aimless plotting, but it was an easy read and the clunky narration and inability to use ellipses properly made me nostalgic for the days when I used to read fanfiction.
There was potential; it just needed one or two more drafts to cut out some of the chaff and develop some of the more important plot points and characters, and an editor to proofread and save a poor woman from serving eggs twice in the same scene.
I can’t think of who I would recommend this book to, and it’s highly likely most people wouldn’t enjoy it, but I’ll give Guardian of Deceit 2 out of 4 stars. I had a good time with it and don’t regret reading it, but I doubt I’ll be spending much time thinking of it now that it’s done.
Guardian of Deceit
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon | on iTunes | on Smashwords
Like ABK's review? Post a comment saying so!