Jul 13, 12
Read in July, 2012
Survival Book 1 of the Guardians of Vesturon Series Review 2nd edition
Maddie has had a sad life. An only child, she lost her mom when she 11 years old in a horrific automobile accident. Her dad was terrific, and they spent all their time together. Her dad taught her to love the outdoors, and they camped and hiked whenever they could, no matter what the weather. When she was 18 and in her final year in high school, she got the news that her dad had suffered a heart attack at work and had passed away. As both of her parents were also only children, and her grandparents had been long dead, Maddie was on her own. Due to her age, she was able to stay in the family home and finish her final year in high school.
Deciding to go to Western Carolina University, she shares a dorm room with 3 other girls. Catherine, January and Carlson are her new roommates and Catherine (Cat) and Maddie become very close. Cat and Maddie both like to hike and camp.
At Christmas time, Maddie decides to hike on the mountains close to her school and then drive down to the Florida Keys. Her plans change suddenly when she meets Darryl Carter.
Darryl Carter is not a nice man. He is a highly trained marksman and an even more skilled ghost in the forest. While serving in the army, he realized he liked to kill people and that he is very, very good at it. When he sees Maddie, he knows she's his kind of girl, the kind he likes to torture.
After spending time in Darryl's company, Maddie knows its only a matter of time until she is dead. She needs to call on all her reserves to get away from Darryl and find her way back to the trail. She breaks away and runs for her life but Darryl is an expert marksman and she feels searing pain in her calf then her shoulder. She's falling as everything around her goes black.
Upon awakening, the first thing Maddie sees is her dead mom who tells Maddie that she is destined for great things and that she needs to stay calm. As she falls into unconsciousness again, she can't feel her legs and can hear a low murmur that sounded like many people whispering. Who were these people and why are they helping her? Was she alive or had she lost her mind? And who is this Guardian, this Rayn Yarrister? How can a man this perfect be real and how can he read her mind? And always niggling at the back of her mind are two things, why can't I feel my legs and where is the horrible man, Darryl, who did this to her.
Although I found the story slow to start it soon picked up speed and carried me along to the end. The descriptions of the Appalachian Trail, the mountains and all the different characters are very well done. I grew up doing a lot of hiking and camping and these descriptions are particularly well done. The story itself had a good mix of fantasy, mystery, romance and suspense. I did find that the story did lag at certain points. The characters were very complex and well written. I did find that after time I got tired of Maddie's preoccupation with herself and with Sharra's always mixing up slang words and being corrected for it.
All together a great read for the YA audience and a solid foundation for the Guardians of Vesturon Series.