The Guild Book One

Fiction - Thriller - General
370 Pages
Reviewed on 07/02/2022
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Nichole M. Willden is a poet, writer, and author of The Guild series. A survivor of indoctrination and abuse, Nichole has spent decades writing fiction that sizzles with themes of enslavement, hope, and resilience. She is an inspirational new voice in adult fiction. Nichole lives and writes in the Rocky Mountains with her wife, who is helpful to the writing process, and their puppy, Potion, who is delightfully unhelpful.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite

In Obedience, when we meet Emma and the only parents she knows, she calls her father by the odd moniker of “Leader”. Our first question is why? The woman she knows as her mother is the icy Monique. Emma is on constant tenterhooks around both of them as she is trained to “learn, grow and obey”. She does attend school but has no friends. She and her “siblings” participate in social functions with their parents but each child is given a mission to fulfill at these events. Lying or disobedience is harshly punished, but the children are being brainwashed to believe it’s all for their own good. Of course, while Emma complies out of fear, anger and the desire for freedom are raging within her. When a persistent young suitor offers escape, the resulting conflict within her and with the family brings everything to a head with catastrophic results in unexpected ways for both Emma and the reader. What will happen next? That we will find out as Nichole M. Willden writes the continuation of the “Guild” series.

As a victim of childhood abuse, I am incessantly drawn to books, both fiction and nonfiction, that depict the psychological effects on growing children of harsh discipline, curtailed freedoms, unfair parental expectations, and constant activity monitoring. Obedience by Nichole M. Willden explores all these aspects in a cult-type setting, and the result is a tension-filled tale that keeps readers perplexed and glued to its pages. Though a long book, Obedience is well-crafted. The plot is engaging, the characters captivating in their uniqueness. Willden has aimed her story at young adults who will quickly identify with the emotions and pastimes of the teens in this story while being somewhat “freaked out” by the circumstances of Emma’s home life. I was intrigued enough by Obedience to check out Nichole M. Willden’s bio. It explains everything about what prompted her to write this engrossing story. The seeds of her novel are rooted in her upbringing. You can learn more about that on the author's website.

Alma Boucher

Emma is the youngest member of the Guild and her only responsibility is to be obedient. This theme is explored in Obedience: The Guild, Book One. They were invited for dinner with Monique’s colleagues where she met Benjamin. Being a part of the family meant playing a part and creating an image, and for that night she had to appear to be the daughter Leader and Monique could brag about. She does not have any friends because they move often and there was no time to befriend anyone. She confided in Monique that she hated school and but Monique was unsympathetic and told Emma that she did not have to make friends. When Cara from her biology class invited her to a party, Emma went without telling the family. At the party, she saw Benjamin again and a friendship developed between them. Nichole M. Willden relates how Emma's disobedience had repercussions she did not expect.

Obedience: The Guild, Book One by Nichole M. Willden has a very complicated and unusual plot. The story was easy to follow and there never was a dull moment. The suspense kept me on the edge of my seat, and I could not turn the pages fast enough to find out what was going to happen next. It is fast-paced and full of action but never felt rushed and the chapters flow naturally. The characters were well developed, each with their unique traits. They were different from each other with their own set of skills but still formed a strong unit. The book is well written and interesting, while the Guild and its purpose were described perfectly. I enjoyed reading this story and it far exceeded my expectations.

Stephanie Chapman

Emma just wants a normal life. Nichole M. Willden composes anything but normal in Obedience. As a member of “The Guild,” Emma has to do whatever her superiors tell her. Sadly, she is at the lowest level and has one aim: to obey. She struggles with making friends at school, but cannot find sympathy from her pretend family. She knows they are not her actual family, but doesn’t know where she came from or even what the purpose of The Guild is. One evening, she accompanies her family and meets Benjamin. Later the same evening, she receives a call from Cara, who invites her to a birthday party. Emma is happy to discover Benjamin is present at the party. However, her joy falls apart when “Leader” crashes the party and drags her home. Leader proves she belongs to The Guild and will never be normal.

Every teenager wants to be accepted and have friends. Nichole M. Willden describes the inner turmoil Emma faces, especially since she knows that her father, Leader, isn’t her actual parent. She was alone with nobody to confide in. Therefore, I had hoped for Benjamin to be someone to rescue her from The Guild. The story was full of tension and suspense, capturing my full attention with every detail. Danger radiates from every page, especially with Leader’s second in command, Monique, brandishing a gun to threaten compliance. The end of the book came too fast for me, and I am eager to read the sequel. Readers who enjoy an unpredictable action series with an undertone of government espionage or Mafia involvement will find Obedience a perfect thriller.