I really enjoyed this book - more than I expected to, actually. I expected something a bit more fluffy (not that fluffy is bad), but this was much grittier than I expected (in a good way). There's sacrifice and decisions to be made, and none of it is taken lightly. The stakes are real and no one is kidding around.
It felt like plunging straight into a different world - we jump directly into non-stop action and it's a testament to the author's skill that although there are a lot of questions, there were just enough answers to keep me going to the end.
Russell and Annabelle were completely sweet together, both of them fighters in their own way. Sometimes you get the feeling that one half of a couple is the weak link and you're not quite sure what brought them together -- that wasn't the case here. It was also lovely to see how Russell worked around Annabelle's muteness and how it was presented as just a part of Annabelle rather than a crippling disability.
I thought that this book would be heavy on the religious tones because of how it was presented, but it's not preachy at all. Sometimes, when you have Guardians that involve angels and other such, things can get sulfur-sweet fast, in the fire and brimstone preaching plus white and fluffy Love and Light sort of way but that wasn't the case here.
I will comment that I was surprised this was filed under YA. Annabelle isn't that old, but not to the point where I'd consider this YA. Also, I associate YA with people growing into themselves and dealing with change and growth and although there was a lot of stuff going on in here, I'm not sure that's how I would characterize this story.
Minor quibble, however.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I'm looking to the next book in the series.
Russell Leonard is a centuries-old Guardian who’s lost faith in his purpose. So when he’s charged with procuring the first female Guardian in over two centuries, he can only hope it’s the red-headed beauty who’s been haunting his dreams for months. And if it is, he intends to claim her as his. But when he finds his dream woman, Annabelle is mute and bears no Guardian’s Mark.
He soon realizes she’s been tainted by an ancient evil. Russell must somehow release the secrets trapped within this delicate soul to help her tap into the only weapon powerful enough to silence a millennia-old demon—her voice.
***A portion of all proceeds donated to American Cancer Society***