2 out of 4 stars
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Tragedy came to Darwin Hastings at an early age. The death of his parents meant he had to learn to fend for himself and mature rapidly. When his aunt became ill and could no longer support him, he went to live with his cousin, Luther, a famous football player. Darwin hoped to achieve his dream of becoming a doctor like his father. However, nothing could have prepared him for life with his troubled cousin. Darwin gets mixed up in Luther’s lifestyle of gambling, violence, adultery, and witnesses a darker side to his football career. He is sickened by Luther’s attitude towards women and the way he treats them. Realizing his whole life will be defined by the choices he now makes, Darwin must find a way to thrive under these conditions and become the person his parents would have hoped for.
I found Guardian of Deceit to be an interesting read. Although not the most captivating or suspenseful book, some of the characters were extremely likable and added much needed depth to the story. The general premise of the book had plenty of potential and could have been great, but I was left a bit frustrated and disappointed.
The story would have been better for me if there was a less hurried progression in time. I was left irritated and lost count of the times the story had moved on by a few weeks, or in some cases, a few months from the previous chapter. While I understand it is sometimes necessary to do this, I couldn’t help but feel I was missing elements of the characters lives and their development. There were also scenes in the book which I felt were either unnecessary or filled with pointless dialogue. This ruined the flow of the book somewhat. The actual plot turned out to be a bit of a letdown for me, leaving a touch of disappointment at the end. It just did not do enough to satisfy, and failed to answer questions about certain characters. More could have been done here to strengthen the story line.
I should point out the book contains some infrequent use of bad language, none of which was out of context and did not spoil the reading experience. A sex scene was included, in which a private tutor made love to her student during a lesson. The story also contained some violence and a brief but graphic description of a dead body, which some people may find disturbing. Given all these factors, this book would not be suitable for younger readers.
The story excelled in its characters and development of them. This was most notably evident with Darwin. We see him change from a hesitant, anxious teenager, to a young man brimming with confidence and knowledge, ready for life’s challenges. He matured incredibly through the relationships he experienced and learnt a great deal about love. The whole book proved to be very much character driven, which was fantastic. There was a great variety in the characters and each had a uniqueness which made them thoroughly believable. I thought the quality of writing was terrific. It flowed brilliantly and was easy to understand, yet at the same time incredibly descriptive with great use of English. I barely noticed a mistake in the book.
Overall I would say Guardian of Deceit was a fair read, and I can envisage readers being drawn into the story and the excellent characters. Although there is plenty to like about it, I did find myself struggling at times, needing an extra push to carry on reading. I give it a rating of 2 out of 4 stars, as ultimately the book ran out of steam and left me wondering what could have been.
Guardian of Deceit
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