MAGICAL BEASTS SERIES
by Geoffrey Saign
Book 1: GUARDIAN, THE CHOICE
A demon haunts Samantha Green\’s dreams.
And she fears it\’s coming for her…
When wildlife prodigy Sam and her crush—quirky handsome Jake—are attacked by a dragon assassin, Sam discovers her secret past. A past connected to a supernatural giant cat and a glowing faerie.
Sam is quickly pulled into a high stakes battle for the world. Everyone, including a creepy ancient villain, wants her supernatural staff, which she doesn’t know how to use. Sophisticated ninja dragons, a kong-sized gorilla, and mysterious beasts offer help—but are they friends or enemies? Sam has a big heart, but will her love for all creatures tear her life apart?
To survive the hardest choice she\’s ever made, Sam will have to unlock the hidden power inside her.
Ready or not, Sam is about to find out if she has what it takes to be a guardian…
Guardian: The Choice is the new exciting start of a magic-filled fantasy four book series starring a powerful heroine, a tough brawny hero, and a slew of not-so-friendly magical beasts.
Book 2: GUARDIAN, THE QUEST
Sam and Jake must capture a magical golden dragon—or Jake dies. Can Sam can save the man she loves? And will she have to die to do it?
But everyone wants the golden dragon, including the powerful Evil One, who has been hiding for centuries and has sworn to destroy all of life. No one can be trusted. Death Matches and ancient secrets test the guardians as never before.
Sam fears that whatever she does, she won’t be able to save Jake…nor stop the Evil One.
EXCERPT FROM THE CHOICE
A guttural roar splits the evening air in the meadow, sending shivers along my bare arms.
I stand rigidly, listening, while I stare across the hundred-yard-wide circular pond at the distant Superior National Forest. Shadows hide everything in the thick woods. The roar was too loud for a bear, too wild and harsh for any animal in northern Minnesota.
My thoughts flash back to the fanged and clawed demon from my nightmares of the last two weeks. Coming to kill me as it does in my dreams. Can’t be real. Can’t be happening. I try to calm myself by breathing evenly.
Slowly I back up through the waist-high meadow grass, my legs stiff. I focus my gaze across the pond. Ski-tailed emerald dragonflies and red damselflies flit by, as do a few yellow jackets. Mink frogs creak from the shoreline. Everything seems normal, except for the roar.
I’m standing at the far eastern edge of Dad’s property. I have the staff with me, still wrapped in burlap. WhipEye. An odd name. I don’t know what it means, or how I know it.
Two specks of gold appear in the distant forest. They look like eyes. The rest of the body is hidden in shadows.
The gold eyes move toward me through the trees, about eight feet off the ground. I turn and bolt like a jackrabbit.
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~THE QUEST will be $2.99 during the tour
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REVIEW OF THE CHOICE
This is an action-packed ya fantasy with a lot of tension, fascinating creatures, and a real mythological/portal fantasy feel. I found the sheer number of creatures and the animals they represented to be impressive. The world of KiraKu also felt realized. And it was lovely. Provided nothing wanted to kill me, I’d love to go see it.
While there were parts of this I found interesting, though, the overall story left me feeling confused and a bit detached. From the beginning, I didn’t feel like I got to know either Sam or Jake in a way that made me truly care about them. I was dropped right into a desperate situation without any time to see them in their regular lives and connect before their lives were in danger. Sam had her staff, and both had been experiencing odd dreams that seemed to abruptly be reality, and neither of their parents seemed surprised. Jake frequently calls Sam “touchy feely” because she loves all animals and wants to pet them. This extends to the KiraKu creatures, and Sam would frequently think about how she didn’t want to hurt any of them during a battle. And then a few sentences later, there would be a threat, and Sam would get ready to smack it down. There was a lot of flipflopping, and it detracted from my reading experience.
The threats almost felt like they were too much. After a battle with a mythical creature at the very beginning, a special division of the U.S. government shows up and announces that Sam and Jake are enemies of the country. They even have grainy video proof that Sam and Jake were involved in another battle. I wanted to know why this elite branch of the government couldn’t get better footage. I also wanted to know why this was all coming as a surprise to Sam and Jake. I got my answer to the second question. Evidently, their minds were erased after the last battle, which explained a bit about why Sam and Jake seemed at least a little familiar with what was happening. Overall, though, it left me with more questions than answers. There is apparently a prequel to this, and I wonder if it would fully resolve my confusion. On the other hand, the first book in a series shouldn’t need a prequel to answer why its characters do what they do.
I really wanted to love this. The idea of ancient creatures modeled after animals and a protagonist who loved animals drew me in. Unfortunately, the execution fell short for me. Not being able to connect with the characters at the beginning left me dangling for the rest of the story. The sheer number of people and animals who wanted to kill Sam and Jake was staggering. I lost track of them, as well as the crosses and double-crosses and triple-crosses. I couldn’t figure out if Jake and Sam were just friends or more. The description suggested more, but they seem to be only friends. In short, there is something fantastic in here, but I personally needed more connection to the characters and a lot of clarification.
Geoffrey Saign’s love of wildlife led him to write the award-winning fantasy series, Magical Beasts. He often experiences the magic of nature and wildlife while hiking and swimming. He has a degree in biology and has assisted in field research on hummingbirds and humpback whales.
Geoff loves to sail big boats, hike, and cook—and he infuses all of his writing with his passion for nature. As a swimmer he considers himself fortunate to live in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, Minnesota. See what he’s up to at https://geoffreysaign.net/magical-beasts
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Geoffrey Saign will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.a Rafflecopter giveaway