The Guardians

Christian - Fantasy/Sci-Fi
406 Pages
Reviewed on 06/20/2023
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Parul Sood for Readers' Favorite

The Guardians by S. Lee Holland delves into the themes of faith, self-discovery, and the eternal struggle between light and darkness. In this young adult novel, Holland introduces us to the narrator and protagonist Cassie, who must confront her inner demons while embarking on an unexpected journey of destiny. Cassie's path is interwoven with the turbulence of teenage aspirations and the profound burden of loss. Haunted by the memories of her father's passing, she seeks refuge in a meticulously constructed facade of popularity. Cassie's enigmatic encounter with the angel Hamaliel reveals her divine selection as a chosen one, given a special purpose. Guided by her sister Tessa and new neighbor Jack, Cassie sets off on a transformative quest that reveals her true identity as one of the Guardians - a group of sword-wielding warriors entrusted with safeguarding the "Link" from the clutches of Satan's dark forces. As Cassie wrestles with conflicting emotions, torn between her devotion to God and her earthly desires, she also grapples with her deep affection for Nathan, the possible chosen Link, and the love of her life.

S. Lee Holland's writing effortlessly captures the emotional tumult of adolescence and the intricate complexities of faith. The evolution of Cassie's character is truly commendable, as she evolves from a cynical, sharp-tongued girl into a vessel brimming with God's boundless love - a transformation portrayed with striking authenticity and profound depth. The dynamics between the characters are nuanced and realistic, further enriching the complex narrative. The Guardians is a page-turner, masterfully blending supernatural elements with relatable themes. Holland's skillful storytelling keeps readers spellbound from the start, touching upon experiences of suspense, romance, and spiritual growth through a great selection of characters. Enthusiasts of young adult fiction will find themselves invested in Cassie's journey.

Foluso Falaye

After her father died from ALS, Cassie lost faith in God and discovered a way to appear unemotional and flippant. The new Cassie joins the popular crowd in Pinedale High and finds herself dating Nathan—a rich, handsome, athletic boy. Cassie's perspective about God changes when she meets an angel, an experience she shares with her younger sister Tessa and an abandoned crush, Jack. She eventually receives the gift of compassion and joins a group of six young guardians chosen to save "someone" and "something" from the forces of evil. Is Cassie ready to fully accept her new role as a Christian warrior? S. Lee Holland's The Guardians is a grand, suspense-filled story about a group of young Christian soldiers whose chance of defeating evil depends on their faith level, scripture knowledge, and ability to work together.

The characters are distinct and memorable, and the reader will find them easy to understand. Cassie is more in touch with the fashion trends, while Tessa is brainier. Cassie is seen offering tips on improving her sister's fashion at a point: "Lighten up on the eyeliner just a tad." I loved that The Guardians included vivid descriptions of monsters and thoughtfully placed hints of impending danger. I just had to see what would become of the heroes. Additionally, The Guardians is a captivating reminder that faith in God can save us from the evil forces of the world. Its biblical messages and inspiring characters, who remember to pray in the most trying times, will bring the reader closer to God. Young adults who enjoy Christian fantasy will love S. Lee Holland's book. You won't want it to end.

Sefina Hawke

The Guardians by S. Lee Holland is a Christian-orientated science fiction work that would appeal mainly to a mixed audience of young adults and adults who enjoy Christian fantasy but do not mind the inclusion of profanity, drugs, sexual encounters, and violence. Cassie Conner is a high school girl whose experience of past grief led her to create a popular girl persona with no room for faith, quirkiness, or weakness. Cassie’s high school life takes a surprising turn when she comes face to face with the angel her sister kept telling her about. Does Cassie have what it takes to become a sword-wielding warrior of the Most High or will her lack of faith be her undoing?

The Guardians by S. Lee Holland is a well-written account with a simply beautifully intriguing cover that piqued my interest the moment I first saw it. This story sets itself apart from most Christian fantasies right from the start with the inclusion of bad language, violent behavior, drugs, and sex, yet the author did an amazing job of using these elements to highlight the need for caution. My favorite part is when Cassie meets the angel that her sister Tessa had been telling her about. It was during that first encounter with Hamaliel that I started to like Cassie as a character. I found this supernatural tale to be an enjoyable read and I loved the way it had elements of mystery and action blended into it in a way that kept me on the edge of my seat and left me longing for the next installment in the series.