First of all the fantasy genre; sure this is a fantasy novel, the world is totally out of the imaginary of the author, names, places, wars are maybe loosely connected to a XIX European century, but that’s all; what puzzled me at the beginning is that, the first scene is about a police detective (Dallin, constable since apparently we are in an simil-like European environment) questioning a witness of a murder. How the reader is prepared to the scene, with the constable speaking with his boss, the setting, the attitude of the police department, even the crimes, it’s all resembling a today contemporary setting. Then piece by piece (Wil for example is working in the stables of an inn) we realize that outside that questioning room, there is a world that probably stopped more or less 200 years before (in modern time counting), and so the reader is “slowly” taken back to that time.
Second point the world-building: as said before, it was not confusing, or boring, since basically the reader was given the info when necessary and piece by piece, not all together trying to prove the setting was complex and original. Sometime that is the mistake of many authors, trying to dress to impress their novels. Here basically Carole Cummings takes her time, and not even at the end of the book everything is clear, probably since this is not really the end, but simply part 1 out of 3.
Last point the length of this book, not short at all, in comparison to the knowledge there are other two coming. That is something that actually was soon forget since, just the first scene, when Dallin questions Wil, takes almost 50 pages or something, and so the reader soon realizes that, following the flow, they are leading easily to the end of the book and prepared to the following book and then to the next.
I read a quite heated complaint that this book was “yet again” a M/M romance with a feminine character (Wil) being the “wife” and a masculine character (Dallin) being the “husband”, and that is not realistic since gay men don’t take “role”… sorry but that is wrong for so many reason. First of all this is not a M/M romance, there is very little romance at all, probably just a glance or two, some innuendo on sex when Dallin was trying to understand if Will was a prostitute, but a) I didn’t feel then any sexual interest in Dallin for Wil, b) Wil is not a prostitute and then sex completely disappeared from the picture. There is no sex, very little romance, and I would hardly define Wil and Dallin a “couple”, maybe something will happen in a later book, but for now, this is a Fantasy novel, Young Adult probably since there is not sex. And so even the feminine or masculine characterization is out of question, if you really want to be pedant, this is a Guardian/protégé story, as, by the way, the same title suggest.
Amazon: Aisling, Book One: Guardian
Amazon Kindle: Aisling, Book One: Guardian
Paperback: 334 pages
Publisher: Prizm (December 15, 2010)