Monday, May 19, 2014

Review and Giveaway: The Guild

The Guild (Guardians of Destiny - Book 3) by Jean Johnson

Publication Date: 05/06/2014
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Sensation
Genre: Fantasy Romance/ Paranormal
Pages: 400
ISBN-10: 042526226X
ISBN-13: 978-0425262269

(Received for an honest review from Berkley Sensation)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Indiebound

Jean Johnson on the WEB: website, twitter, facebook, goodreads

Books in the series

Guardians of Destiny

1. The Tower 
2. The Grove
3. The Guild

Coverart: Click the Image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.

Excerpt from, The Guild, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature.



Cult’s awareness, it shall rise:
Hidden people, gather now;
Fight the demons, fight your doubt.
Gearman’s strength shall then endow,
When Guild’s defender casts them out. 

For centuries, the mages of Mekhana have done their best to hide themselves and their powers from the rapacious needs of their so-called Patron Deity, Mekha. Greatest of their secrets is the Vortex, a Fountain hidden in the heart of the Hydraulics Guild. But even after the dissolution of Mekha and the freeing of his people, Alonnen isn’t ready to reveal his guardianship to outsiders. Particularly when the remnants of Mekha’s priesthood start looking for a new monstrosity to worship.

Rexei has hidden more than her powers for most of her life; she has also hidden her gender, wary of the hungers of the old priesthood. Only in the safety of the Hydraulics Guild’s innermost secrets can she be herself. While the rest of her people struggle to reinvent themselves and find a deity they can trust, Rexei struggles to trust just one man, the Guardian of the Vortex. Events are moving fast, though; the priesthood is desperate for any new source of power, even a demonic one that requires certain sacrifices to access.


Jean Johnson continues her Guardians of Destiny series, with the character driven third book, The Guild. Steampunk and fantasy romance fans will love the extreme detail and fantastic world building in this series, featuring a political and religious environment that will take their breathe away. Johnson builds this series from a prophecy that affects every character and person in her world. Where obligation and honor are above all else and protecting the secrets of the guilds may be more than just an duty.

What I liked:

I am a fan of fantasy all types. I am a fan of steampunk, though I feel I am relatively new to the genre. I am a fan of paranormal stories. The Guardian's of Destiny series, satisfies all three of these reading pleasures for me. Jean Johnson's books are about magic and machines and supernatural abilities and all things that make a reader question the laws of the universe and where they fit into it. Her world building is phenomenal and her character development is exceptional. I look forward to every one of her books coming out. The Guild is book three in the series and is just as good or better than all those that have come before.

This series thrives on the complexity of it's world building. Johnson has created a world that is continually developing and changing with each new book to the series. It is all based on a political and religious civilization that is overwhelmed by it's magical properties. There is simply too much magic. Religious orders have sprung up serving deities of every kind and bringing an organized form of chaos to the world, but the boundaries are slipping. Some gods are being destroyed while other more terrifying deities are surfacing. The guilds hold secrets that not even all the priests know about and in this third book in the series it is evident that there are more dangerous things lurking in the dark than even the guardians know about. 

I loved the eerie quality that surrounded this book. It was just a feeling that permeated the fabric of the story. The reader may feel a bit unsettled and unsure that they have it all figured out. The Guild completely changed my perspective on where Johnson was taking this series. At first that was disconcerting because I felt a little left out of the loop but as the book progressed and more and more was revealed I got really excited to see what happened next. The world is surely in dire trouble but Johnson focuses more on the plight and circumstances of her characters than the ultimate save the world scenario. That was refreshingly different for the genre, and kept me guessing as to how it would all play out in the end.

Rexei and Alonnen were a great pair. He a guardian of the Vortex, deep in the Hydraulic's guild and she a mage who has hidden her identity, as well as, her gender for most of her life. Their romance was a slow build up to a passionate relationship and I was glad that Johnson chose to go a different route and make their specific story and love even more important the overall series goal of saving the world. It made it so much more intimate and realistic. Because in the midst of life's storms, is often where love blooms. The concept worked amazingly well. 

There are some steamy moments in this one, and there are some moments of levity. There are evil gods and demons, fantastic machines and more magic than the reader will know what to do with, but at the heart of it all is a man who knows where his duty lies and woman who is just now coming out of her cocoon and spreading her wings as a mage. Johnson obviously has a complex vision for this series and I love the fact that I can't exactly put my finger on it. 

What I didn't like:

This one is a bit too complex to be read as a stand alone. The dynamics of the guilds, the deities and the guardians themselves, build throughout the series. The romantic elements can be read alone, but I think the reader will really be missing out not to read them in order.

Bottom Line:

This is a fantastic fantasy romance book, with great steampunk elements and a romance that is breathtaking. I loved everything about it, from the complexity of the world building to intricate character development. If you are fan of this kind of writing you can't miss with this author. 

The Guild is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

About the Author:

Jean Johnson lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family. She is the author of the Sons of Destiny novels and the Guardians of Destiny novels

Giveaway Details:

The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of The Guild by Jean Johnson.

~ You must be an email subscriber to participate.
~ US addresses only.
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST, June 2nd.

1. Please leave a comment about other fantasy romance series that readers might enjoy.

2. Please fill out the FORM.


Texas Book Lover said...

I love Sherrilyn Kenyon's League series which to me is rantasy romance!

traveler said...

Kelley Armstrong's series are great. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

jmcgaugh said...

I'd suggest C.L. Wilson's Tairen Soul series.

Charlotte said...

I can't think of any at this time.

CrystalGB said...

I recommend Kinley MacGregor's Lords of Avalon. :)

bn100 said...

don't know any

Natasha said...

I love the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series by Laurell K. Hamilton.
Thanks for the chance to win!