I was sent an e-Book copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review. I have to say I have mixed feelings about this book. It has such great potential and I believe that the author did a very good job.
Ashley was abandoned at an early age, and has grown up in an orphanage for mentally unstable teenagers. Ashley has awful panic attacks and dreams that are all too real. If Ashley is hurt in her dream, it happens to her in real life. The only person she can rely on is her best friend, Tara – who is her shoulder to cry on and as close to a sister as she’ll ever have. Countless doctors and psychiatrists having been telling Ashley that she’s ill and of need of help, and she’s grown to believe that they’re right. That she’s insane - except she isn’t. When Ashley and Tara are kidnapped one evening during a fire drill, she finds herself tucked away in a house in the hills of Belize and finds out that the man stalking her in her dreams is actually real.
She also learns that her captors are not captors at all, but her long lost family – her uncle and cousin. Ashley soon learns that she’s destined to be The Stone Guardian, a person whom guards an ancient and powerful Mayan stone that her diseased mother used to guard. However, the stone is not in the possession of the ‘good guys’ anymore, but was stolen seventeen years ago from her mother by her enemy, Sarian. Together with her new found family - Arwan; a totally hot time bender and Peter; a healer – Ashley sets out to claim the stone back and finally bond with it to become its primary protector.
I was hooked on this book from the very start, the premise was fantastic and I found it hard to put it down. However, even though I found this book a pleasure to read – it was not without its faults. There wasn’t a whole lot of world building and I found myself confused about what was happening some of the time. I also found that the plot moved a little too fast, jumping right from one event to another, with barely any breather in-between.
I really liked Ashley’s character and I thought she was very loyal; however she was a little wishy-washy at times, a bit of a pushover and was easily swayed by other people’s decisions. Ashley was probably one of the most emotional characters I’ve ever read – not that that’s a bad thing! She’s had a pretty awful life, living in an orphanage all her life, and having psychiatric medications pushed upon her – she finds can only trust her best friend, Tara. Even though I liked her character a lot, I did think she wept way too much – there was always a scene where she was crying hysterically. Either she was just a very emotional person or she was probably depressed – I wished this was covered in the book.
Arwan is a time-bender, someone who has special abilities like Ashley, but can manipulate time. He also has a smoking hot body, as Ashley can’t help but notice constantly. The minute Arwan see’s Ashley; he falls for her and vows to protect her – not because she’s The Stone Guardian, but because she fills a void in his heart that was created by the death of his mother some years ago. I loved Arwan’s character, he was so sweet and caring, even though he acted like a selfish idiot at times, I thought he was great all the same.
Something this novel had that I hoped it wouldn’t was insta-love. I have to say, I’m not a fan of insta-love at all. I don’t believe in love at first sight, I believe two people can meet and be attracted to each other, but love comes much later. The minute Ashley and Arwan meet, there’s a connection and they have the hots for each other – which is perfectly fine and understandable. However, a day or so later, they’re ‘in love’. I believe their relationship could have been better developed, but their romance was sweet, which made the insta-love a little bit more bearable.
Overall, I really loved reading this book – I thought it was amazing. Unfortunately I had to bump it down to 4/5 stars because of the various little problems and titbits that annoyed me. The characters were great; although some of them were a little under developed they were enjoyable to read all the same. It was an original read, with a fantastic plot – not to mention the cliff-hanger ending! I can’t wait until the next book is released and to find out what happens next.