Ethan is like most teenaged superheroes. He keeps his true identity secret. He maintains the illusion of being an average high school student, except in history class, which he can't help but excel. No one would suspect that he is anything but a normal boy in the normal town of Angel Falls. But like the town, the boy has something else going on below the surface.
Ethan is, in fact, a Guardian of Time—an member of the Guard—a defender of history. He regularly travels back in time to prevent agents of the Order of Chaos from re-shaping history to the taste of the evil Goddess they serve. While his body sleeps, his mind is transported to a Citadel outside the universe, where he is given gear, knowledge, a complete makeover, and a new identity to fit each mission. And then, armed with the power to create illusions and to move objects with his mind, supported by a 600-year-old sidekick named Arkarian, and trained in the arts of combat, he goes forth to battle the agents of Chaos.
Nor is Angel Falls all it appears to be. It is built over the ruins of a lost city whose walls are inscribed with a prophecy. In Ethan's time, that prophecy achieves a new level of urgency. The council that governs the Guard, and which has the power to make or break Ethan as a Guardian, begins to put unheard-of pressure on the boy. All the while, other members of both the Guard and the Order are revealed, one by one, within the city limits of Angel Falls.
The first new discovery is Isabella, the kid sister of Ethan's former best friend Matt. Though a seductive girl named Rochelle came between the buddies and destroyed their friendship, Isabella still nurses a raging crush on Ethan. Before she quite understands what is going on, Isabella has become Ethan's first Apprentice. And he has only a few weeks to prepare her for her first mission.
As Ethan and Isabella defend history in the time of England's King Richard II, and the childhood of America's second First Lady, and other key pressure-points the Lady Chaos has targeted for troublemaking, more and more people from their everyday lives are drawn into the conflict. The monster who has haunted Ethan's dreams since, at age 4, he witnessed his older sister's brutal murder, has materialized in the real world. A grudge match with evil will awaken the slumbering spirit of Ethan's father. A heroic young man will risk his future as a Guardian to do what his heart tells him to do. A fearless girl will stake her just-discovered powers of healing against the killer who has taken her brother hostage. A pair of soul-mates will find each other. A traitor will make a plea to be trusted. And a small group of heroes will do battle against seemingly impossible odds.
With this book, Australian author Marianne Curley begins a trilogy titled "The Guardians of Time," combining the turbocharged hormones of teen romance with a magical fantasy about a secret society hidden within our everyday world and defending reality as we know it. Teen and older readers who enjoy The Mortal Instruments should also like this trilogy, which continues with The Dark and The Key. The conflict is gripping; the imagery is vivid; the characters are appealing. If there's anything to complain about, it's only that the pace picks up so much towards the climax that I got a little confused; but this might be a symptom of brain cells stiffening with age. And where this book excels is precisely in how it distills the essence of youth into an adventure that could have come straight from the daydreams of a 10th-grade history buff.
St. Louis, USA
Recommended Age: 14+
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July 31, 2008 - It is announced that The Tales of Beedle the Bard will be published worldwide on December 4th, with all proceeds being given to charity. Originally only to be read by the owners of the seven handwritten copies, Jo decided to share the tales with the fans while benefitin