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Guardian    by Claire Delacroix order for
by Claire Delacroix
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2009 (2009)
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* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Seer Delilia Desjardins has lived all of her young life as an outcast of the Republic. She is nothing more than a number, a Shade, a genetically deformed deviant whose very existence within the Republic is considered abhorrent; she is therefore relegated to the dark underbelly of society where Lilia is treated no better than a slave. But as the day approaches when a new Oracle is to be named, Lilia is determined that her voice will be heard - she knows she is the true Oracle, not the impostor the Republic plans to instal. Those in power, however, would kill her rather than have her reveal the truth.

When she's kidnapped, Lilia believes that her enemies have come to silence her. She soon realises that the man who's taken her has other plans and that he's willing to risk his own life to ensure she finds her true calling. As they race to stay one step ahead of relentless killers, Lilia and fallen angel Rafael succumb to their attraction. But can they ever find happiness together? Her visions say they cannot - that their love will bring nothing but death and destruction.

Guardian progresses forward from the plotline and mythology established in book one - that of Lilia Desjardins' need to find the daughter she'd lost to the Republic. Unfortunately neither the events, the characters or the romance of this second instalment lived up to expectation. The story breaks down to a series of protracted and clichéd chase sequences as bounty hunters and various traitors try to stymie Delilia and Rafael's goal to install her as the true Oracle of the Republic. When the story does finally find its feet, the conclusion falls flat.

What is still nicely evident in Delacroix's story is her richly imagined and disturbing post apocalyptic regime that is as medieval as it is darkly Orwellian - a society that I hope will be further explored and fit more prominently into the third instalment's storyline.

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