Dreams and destiny, magic and mystery, and an impossible romance that has pierced the veil and holds the power to alter worlds.
Every human being knows heartbreak, but Lilly shouldn’t be feeling that…not anymore. Her time as a human ended long ago. She’s a Soul Guardian now, lending guidance from beyond the stars. But when she’s sent to soothe the human with the fathomless green eyes and crushed spirit, the impossible happens.
Is it fate, magic, or a power much greater that has pierced the veil between worlds and brought them face to face? A past that was locked away and forgotten is rising to the surface, stirring emotions she can’t accept or deny. Her pristine, harmonious city is becoming plagued with misfortune. A mysterious, dusty manuscript is calling to share its secrets. And Lilly is being tested by feelings so powerful that nothing can hold them back – not even time, space or death. Little does she know, that she and the green-eyed boy are spinning the threads of fate that will alter the course of worlds.
Fans of Laini Taylor, Marie Rutkoski and Leigh Bardugo will fall in love with this daring, new fantasy romance series. The Guardian's Heart will draw you into a visionary world, hidden beyond a million burning stars, and leave you believing that magic really does live within us all.
Beautiful and heartfelt
The Guardian’s Heart by Gabriel Lea -- 4 stars
The Guardian’s Heart is a beautifully woven first book in author Gabriel Lea’s Lost Souls series. It follows Lilly, a young soul guardian whose life purpose is to heal and help guide human souls through pain or suffering. When she is called to the same soul twice, and unable to fight the strong connection she feels to him, her entire life and the equilibrium of her world turn upside down.
I cannot say enough how beautifully written the Guardian’s Heart was. Ms. Lea’s descriptions were so eloquent and well thought out, reading this book felt like a vacation to another world. Not to mention that the world of Panacea was absolutely breathtaking and unique. I took off a star because some of the dialogue and action seemed to move a bit slowly. However, the depth of the characters and the worlds involved kept me hooked from page one. I would definitely recommend this for other YA or fantasy lovers. I cannot wait to read book two.
A Romance of Souls
For me, this was a solid 3.5. The world that Lilly inhabits, Panacea, is beautifully constructed and described. I want to hop into the book and live there. I want to swim in the lake, and eat food from the markets, and attend the university. At times I felt that the descriptions were a bit verbose, but they led to such vivid images in my mind and I found myself getting lost in the world Lea created.
In addition to the detailed world building, the abilities of the Go-Lites (those who live on Panacea) are mysterious and intriguing. I left the book still wanting to know more about how their powers function, what makes different people express different abilities, and what the limits of human and Go-Lite abilities might be. I was particularly drawn to the Translator ability. I would so love to speak to animals, and it would be great to learn more about that ability through the book's main Translator, Christian, in future installments.
Speaking of animals, one of the major reasons I enjoyed this book were the similarities I found to 'Johnathan Livingston Seagull' by Richard Bach, one of my favorite books of all time. In that story, seagulls pass through dimensions of existence based on the knowledge they attain through their lives. Ultimately Johnathan learns that the most important lesson of all is love, and he returns to a previous dimension to try and pass that lesson on to less fortunate gulls. Some of the abilities, themes, and even names in 'Guardian's Heart' just related so strongly to Bach's book that I thought for sure it was an inspiration for this story. I learned that it wasn't, however!
One of the major things I struggled with, and the reason I feel I can't rate this a 4.5/5, is relating to Lilly. Because of her nature as a Go-Lite she is almost perfect. Her memories of her past lives bring her more of a human nature, but she frequently recoils at the idea that she might be thinking or acting like a human does. I wouldn't say I felt ostracized, or insulted as a human reader by any means, but it did make me question my understanding of Lilly as a character. I'm sure it's largely personal preference, and I tend to like my characters with a dose of darkness. Lilly is all light, and it's beautiful just not the type of character that I really engage with. That being said, Jay (the resident human) was very relatable. His struggles felt so similar it was almost scary. At times the expression of his pain bordered on the melodramatic, but I have certainly felt the same feelings and thought some of the same thoughts throughout my life. It was interesting to read a character who I felt was struggling with a bipolar personality disorder. I thought that the depiction of his mental health struggles were good, given the exceptional circumstances.
My second real criticism is that Lilly seemed to contradict herself. Again, this could be because she was getting in touch with some part of remaining humanity in her memories. She frequently mentions that Go-Lites are accepting and loving beings, but when she finds herself in a difficult (and possibly dangerous) scenario, she keeps it to herself instead of sharing it with other Go-Lites who could help her. A good portion of the book was kept in motion solely based on her secrets, and the use of secrets like this in stories is something I don't always enjoy. I felt that she should have been more open and honest with people, especially after living a whole life surrounded by love and acceptance. If unconditional love is a constant, why would she suddenly question her community's ability to love and accept her situation? When she needed guidance most, of course they would be there to help her. Perhaps my understanding of the Go-Lite law is simply lacking, but I felt distracted by this while reading.
My last comment goes back to Christian's story. I thought he was a wonderful character, and I really enjoyed the dynamic between him and Lilly. Though love triangles are sometimes a struggle for me, I found this one rather compelling! I would love to know more about his story line, since we're left with a bit of a cliffhanger where he's concerned.
Ultimately, I enjoyed my time on Panacea and I would love to return there with the next book. The story is engaging and pretty fast paced. The mystery of the story was fascinating, and I wanted more of that but in the end it is about a romance of souls. There are a lot of unanswered questions, and I think I will like future books even more! Can't wait to see what comes next from this author.
Comforting to the soul
I was pleasantly surprised at how this book flowed. It wasn't too Fantasy like - just the right amount!
The two main characters, Lilly and Jay are both relatable, even though they are from different worlds.
The feels were real with this book!
And my how there was a moment near the climax of this book that made me change the way I viewed the world- brilliantly composed!
Also the author did a fantastic job in her ending of this book! It was quite beautifully done and left me craving MORE!