Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Last Guard by K.J. Taylor

Guards stay at their posts, and die to defend their cities...Southerner Sergeant Kearney 'Red' Redguard is the last of a disgraced family, and a loyal guardsman.  And with a murderer stalking the streets, the city guard is his city's best defense.  But in the North, King Caedmon Taranisaii is gathering his army, and the cruel Night God prepares for the downfall of the South.  A new dark griffin roams the land, warning of the war to come.

Betrayed and sent on the run, Red must fight to save his homeland.  But it may already be too late...(taken from the back of the book)

Normally, I prefer to write my own description of the book, but after several attempts, I realized I couldn't with this one.  The description the book gives barely even scratches the surface, but it comes closer than I could.

The world building here is absolutely phenomenal.  I know that Taylor has several other book series out, and I'm hoping they're built in a similar world but with different characters.  It's sort of a Middle Earth meets alternate reality type of place.  Griffins are key players in this world.

The griffins are stunningly done.  Taylor gets to the heart of what makes a griffin tick and keeps them true to her vision.  There are several points where we see conversations that differentiate between griffin thoughts/actions and that of human.

'Taylor's character creation is perfection as well.  Each one, down to the tiniest throwaway character, has been intricately designed and given a unique personality.  Even if you only have a glimpse of them, they're real enough that you keep them in your memory.  Perhaps not connected to the name, since some of them are difficult, but the character itself you can remember.

If action is your thing, this is your book.  I picked it up and couldn't believe it started off in such dire circumstances.  Then I was happily reading and came to the end and thought to myself 'Wow! That was a great book, but short!' At that stage, I realized I was only on chapter three with plenty more book to go!  I had this experience several times while reading.  I felt certain everything was wrapped up, only to find out that I was so wrong!  About ten chapters into the book, I considered going on blood pressure medication to deal with all of the stress and pressure I was feeling by living vicariously through Red.

In the beginning, I only had one complaint.  Sometimes the dialogue doesn't really match what you'd think a character would say.  You read something and it gives you that tiny disjointed feeling, because it just doesn't match who you have in your head.  However!  This is absolutely necessary!  The characters randomly saying things that are so out of character add some much-needed levity to the book.  Those moments are when you get to breathe in between all of the action and chaos.  Instead of nitpicking, realize that it's written that way for a reason and it works!

The ending of this book is one of the best endings I've read in years.  I was devastated and overjoyed.  It was exactly how I wanted it to end and I hated every single moment of it.  Actually, my true devastation came in when I realized the sequel isn't out yet.  As soon as it comes out, it's mine!  Miiiine!

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