The Guards of the Shadowlands 1&2
Paranormal Young Adult
Amazon Children's Publishing
Fractured releases October 29th
THE STORY - FRACTURED (from Goodreads)
In the week since Lela returned to Rhode Island as Captain of the Guard with Malachi as her second in command, local news has been dominated by chilling sightings of human-like creatures running on all fours. Lela knows there’s only one explanation: the Mazikin have arrived in the land of the living.
Needing to maintain the appearance of a normal life for her foster mother, her probation officer, and her classmates, Lela returns to Warwick High along with Malachi. At night they secretly hunt for the Mazikin nest. To assist, two new Guards from very different parts of the Shadowlands are assigned to Lela’s unit, including the bad boy Jim, who repeatedly challenges Lela's authority. Lela struggles to keep all her Guards on the right side of the law, but their mistakes come at a terrible cost.
As one painful revelation follows another and the Mazikin start targeting those closest to her, Lela finds herself more vulnerable than she’s ever been, wanting a future more than she ever has. With an enemy determined to separate soul from body, one question remains: how much is she willing to sacrifice to protect those she loves?
The Guards of the Shadowlands is a stunningly dark and beautifully challenging series, testing our mental and emotional endurance as Lela and Malachi are tested again and again, but luckily for us Ms. Fine seems to have a direct link to our hearts, knowing just where the line dividing what is bearable from what is overwhelming lies to guide us on a terribly stunning journey along its edge without ever letting us tip over. She provides us with a pair of protagonists in possession of infinite strength despite the cracks that spiderweb their emotional armor, giving them a gorgeous vulnerability to contrast their impressive physical prowess and add yet more colors to an already striking and vibrant couple.
Lela is an exceedingly memorable young woman, her utter devotion to those select few who have shown her compassion and kindness connecting us to her instantly, while the brutal truth of her past launches her to the top of the list of people we admire. She's a fighter through and through, her determination to ensure the safety and happiness of others when she so rarely feels safe herself causing goosebumps to run unchecked across our skin, so moved are we by her actions. Her relationship with Malachi is a perfect sort of torture, her poor sense of self worth–compliments of her gut-wrenching past– creating such fragile moments between them, their emotionally delicate interactions an intricate dance of pain, hope, friendship and budding love.
Malachi is as richly nuanced as Lela, his bad boy status not simply a young adult fiction label but rather an extraordinarily apt description; death and violence a cloak he appears to wear with confidence and surety. Underneath the blood though is a pair of hands that itch with a desire to hold and protect Lela; hands that bring as much comfort when she comes barreling into his world as they instill fear into those terrorizing the Shadowlands and the human realm. He is as uneasy in romantic situations as Lela is, the tension between them a pulsing beat we can practically feel reverberate through the pages, and we can do nothing other than cherish every quiet moment between them as it's clear to us their road will never be one easily walked.
Fractured, book two, does adopt the typical middle book ploy in which the primary romance dissolves, but instead of irritating us Ms. Fine makes sure we're devastated instead, the new distance between them like a clawed Mazikin hand sending a raging infection of wrongness through our bloodstream. Additionally, where Sanctum wraps up nicely Fractured leaves us far more off-kilter, but our faith in Lela and what's she's capable of is a spark in the blackness; one we lunge toward in the concluding chapters and cling to like a safety net as we begin the painfully long wait for book three.
I had the opportunity to interview Sarah a few weeks ago, if you didn't get a chance to check that interview out, you can do so HERE.
Fractured was given to me by the publisher at BEA free of charge for the purpose of a review.
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.