2 out of 4 stars
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In Guardian of Deceit by William H. Coles, I give this book 2 out of 4 stars.
After the death of his parents, newly orphaned Darwin goes on to live in a posh suburban area, with his rich NFL uncle. We find out that his uninvolved uncle could care less about him, his live-in girlfriend, or his own gambling habit. Darwin is forced to keep secrets from his uncle's girlfriend about his gambling and cheating ways. Through Darwin's eyes I was drawn into the lives of the neighbors next door and the secrets they kept as well.
Although each of the individual storylines was interesting, I felt some of them weren't necessary and that Darwin's point of view ended abruptly on the final page. Very early on it felt very "paint by numbers" as you felt each character introduced had to somehow be expounded on even though they strayed from Darwin. The whole book felt very soap-opera and I could've spent some time watching the "Young and the Restless" with my grandmother instead.
With that being said it was nice to see Darwin evolve (hence the author's play on words to some aspect) into a grown man who becomes a doctor and takes on mature relationships. He had to grow up quickly after dealing with a passive aggressive baby-like pop-star and an immature uncle. It seemed like he was the only one who really changed besides his grandmother who pretended to not like him so much when he showed up at the mansion.
Overall, I felt it was okay but should've been developed in more depth with fewer characters. Grammatical errors were at zero and it was well edited. The writing pace was great and I did feel like I was truly engaged in the story. Also, the transitions were smooth between chapters and character changes. The chapters were not too short but some were a little abrupt. That could just be attributed to the writer's style versus content.
Even though I found some great content, the cover design was awful and is a huge distraction. The guardian angel design didn't really translate into Guardian of Deceit unless the author wanted us to think of Darwin as a "fallen angel" or aka "demon" holding an umbrella. I would think again about that design. I didn't get that impression at all from the book that Darwin was some dark insidious figure. The illustration did make me think that it was going to be some dark murder mystery or more sinister plot than it actually was. Another note is that the author could have left the words off of the illustrations. It gave away too much information to the reader and didn't allow them to use the imagination.
In my opinion, this was a great narrative with a weak ending and terrible illustrations. If the characters just had a little more meat on them it could go from soap opera to great novel. It felt disjointed with Darwin. This novel doesn't sizzle but the burner is mildly warm.
Guardian of Deceit
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