- Title: The Guardians of Evernow
- Series: The Kingdoms of Evernow, Book 4
- Author: Heidi Catherine
- Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Sword & Sorcery, Epic Fantasy
- Where to buy: Amazon (affiliate link – releases Sept. 6)
- Would I recommend: If you haven’t started reading this series after my other reviews, what are you waiting for?! Go get all the books already!
Will he sacrifice everything for the one who sacrificed it all?
River is a Guardian, bred for courage and trained to fight. Her duty is to serve her King and her future was scripted long ago–marry a male Guardian and strengthen the bloodline of the next generation. But when the King decides his own bloodline must be strengthened, River’s bestowed the honor of marrying his son, and her future slips even further out of her grasp.
Tate is a Prince whose heart is as kind as River’s is strong. He’d rather protect the vulnerable and care for his reclusive sister than rule a kingdom. But he knows the time has come for him to step up. Marrying without love isn’t something he wishes for either, but he has no choice if he’s to take the throne and ensure the kingdom will live in peace.
But someone else has their eye on the throne… Someone who knows all about the tonics that are the key to the Guardians’ strength, and he’ll stop at nothing to bring the kingdom down so he can rule them all. Setting out on a path of destruction, he makes a cunning plan to marry the Princess and remove anyone standing in his way.
River and Prince Tate must work together as team to save the kingdom. As Guardians mysteriously die, boundaries are pushed and the threat of an invasion looms, they’ll discover if their marriage is built on more than just convenience. Is it possible that it’s also built on love?
With a story that will feed your imagination, the fourth book in the spellbinding The Kingdoms of Evernow series is a must-read by award-winning author, Heidi Catherine.
You might think that, after three books, the fourth book in a series might start to lag a little. Not so with The Guardians of Evernow. Heidi Catherine has a positive gift for creating amazing worlds and populating them with real, relatable characters. It just keeps on getting better with each book I read! I would give this one ten stars if I could.
The Guardians are the army of the kingdom of The Bay of Laurel. They’re strong and courageous, attributes enhanced by the tonics the kingdom’s herbalist, Ariel, prepares for them. The king wants his son, Tate, to have an heir that will embody the strength of the Guardians, so he selects a female Guardian for Tate to marry.
River has been raised a Guardian. She knows it is her duty to protect the kingdom, and she knows she’ll be called upon to marry another Guardian and strengthen their bloodlines. But when she is chosen to marry the Prince, she sees her future taking an unexpected – and not necessarily wanted – turn. Can this ever be a true marriage, to someone she doesn’t even know?
Tate and River are smart enough not to force their relationship, and Tate is smart enough to know he doesn’t want to be the kind of king his father is. But what they don’t realize at first is that there’s someone who aspires to take control of the kingdom, and who won’t stop at turning the tonics, the Guardians’ source of strength, against them. Edison, Ariel’s son, doesn’t want to be the next herbalist after his mother. He wants more. So very much more.
Each book in The Kingdoms of Evernow series deals with one of the five senses, and The Guardians of Evernow deals with taste/eating. We see the king’s gluttony. We see a gentle handling of the difficulties of eating disorders with Tate’s sister, Pip. We see the tonics, something consumed, used either to strengthen or to kill.
And we see the power of relationships, and what happens when they go bad. Tate and River give each other room to get to know each other before pushing to consummate their marriage, and it grows into something beautiful. The relationship between Tate and Edison, and Pip and Edison, was cut off when they were young, and Edison took it poorly. That shaped his future, his vision of how things should be, and he played on those old feelings when it suited him, misusing a past relationship.
The story is told partly in flashbacks, and I found this to be a very effective technique. It allowed the author to reveal at least one very significant plot twist that made me gasp aloud. I also really like how each successive story intertwines with characters from previous stories. It’s fun to see how the characters from the different kingdoms relate to each other. With that character crossover here, I cannot WAIT to get my hands on book 5!
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary advance reader copy from the author. All opinions expressed here are mine, and I don’t say nice things about books I don’t actually like.