Publication Date: October 11, 2013
The author, Stephen Abel, gave me a copy of this novel in exchange for my review.
Little known fact about me, I enjoy Superheroes. As a younger person I devoured comic books, and as an older person, I was at the theater for every ill-fated superhero movie released. I, with many, anxiously awaited the release of the very dark “Watchmen” movie based on the graphic novel by Alan Moore. There are few 43-year-old women who could be a better audience for this novel than Tammy Dewhirst of Rabid Reader’s Reviews.
Guardian has a sense of a novel read many times before. A young boy realizes he’s a little different. He suffers some humiliation and some loss. He uses his special edge and gets a rush from that power and control and the story goes on. Some ups and some downs but nothing terribly unique. A funny thing happened on the way to the end of the novel though, it started to feel profound. As we got to know The Guardian we were learning great truths about life. Is violence addictive? There are sardonic nods in the book to the genre and the villains and heroes it creates.
The story is fairly linear. The Guardian is young, he suffers a loss, he gets older, and he suffers a loss, he gets even older, and each loss grows the character until the losses turn into something else. The seminal moments shape the superhero.Guardian reads like a legitimate autobiography. We are the people of his world who know him well, so the style of writing is a superhero having a beer with someone he’d disappointed and wants to explain. If we can’t get it, he’s okay with that but he wants us to understand. The Guardian is damaged and self-absorbed so all other characters are in and out of the frame and not fully developed. We get to know the Guardian and for most of the story, we live his journey. In a lot of ways, he’s not a character we can like but he’s certainly one we can feel for. There are moments of brilliance, but mostly it’s the story of a fairly average guy who may or may not find greatness.
In self-examination after reading, the Guardian is a character and story that I would continue reading. The early journey wasn’t terribly unique but as the story progressed it grew on this reader and though somewhat perfunctory (as is the style of the anti-hero telling us his tale), is entertaining.
Read an excerpt and buy Guardian by Stephen Abel on