Moonshadow’s Guardian by Dianna Gunn

Moonshadow's GuardianMoonshadow’s Guardian by Dianna Gunn

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the publisher, BooksGoSocial, and the author via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Actual rating of 3.5

Riana has been in the demon realm for so long now, she’s lost count. Destined to live out the same pain and torture over and over again, with no chance of the sweet relief of death. Not only that, but she is still tormented by past memories, memories that cause so much pain and anguish, that they are their own kind of torture. Loki appears before her and offers her a reprieve from her torture, she must go to Moonshadow and fix a problem. No, not Magdalene’s curse, that’s old news and mostly dealt with now, there’s a new problem. The Queen and the royal heir are infected with a plague, they are running out of time. She must find the culprit, end the plague, put Moonshadow back together again, then and only then, will she be free. The pain of going back to Moonshadow after so many centuries is palpable, but if it means she will be free finally to live her own life wherever she deems fit, then maybe it’s worth it. Armed with a sword gifted from Loki, a dragon named Rolf and her pain, Riana sets out to try and end the plague, but will she do it in time?

This ended up turning into an enjoyable story, though I found that it did drag a bit in places. There was no info dumping, it was drip fed as the story progressed which was good, it meant that I was able to take in a lot more details than I would have otherwise.

Riana (aka Naomi at the start of the story) is a character steeped in sorrow. She carries so much guilt for past mistakes or oversights that she constantly has a black cloud of despair hanging over her. She has nightmares almost every night, reliving things that she cannot change. This is about the only depth that we get to her though. For over half of the story, I felt like I couldn’t connect with her barely at all, and she was severely lacking any depth. Yes she’s a tortured soul (literally) and she’s so full of guilt and sadness, but I just couldn’t get a feel for her character at all. She was very two dimensional, up until I was about a quarter from the end, then it felt like I was starting to ‘get’ her, it felt like she was gaining a little more depth here, I just wish it had have happened a lot earlier in the story. It’s hard to connect to a character and become enthralled in the story telling if there’s no depth to the protagonist.

The story itself was an interesting one. It jumped between the POV of Riana – in present and past, and Khari. We get to see the beginning of this war from alternating perspectives and I thought that was brilliant.

I felt like all of the characters bar Riana had depth. Wow, I just keep saying that word don’t I haha. Unfortunately there’s no other way to describe it. All other characters that we encountered I could connect to, I could feel a love/hate or indifference to their existence. Riana just felt like there was a wall there that I couldn’t get past. Was this intentional? If so, a stroke of genius in a way, but I feel like it wasn’t.

Rolf. Oh my dear heart, Rolf. What an absolutely FANTASTIC character he was. We didn’t see him all the time, just here and there but he was such a pure, beautiful, innocent soul which is so awesome and different for a dragon character in my opinion. I absolutely LOVED him. I’m going to try and talk about this next part without giving away any SPOILERS so if you don’t want to risk it, maybe skip ahead to the next paragraph. Near the end, after the final battle, a thing happens, and I felt like it should have hit me emotionally, but I just felt nothing and it was all kind of rushed over and there was no emotion put into it at all. This kind of annoyed me. Actually the whole ending of the book felt like this to be honest. Though I did feel a spark of happiness when Loki agreed to Riana’s terms. I felt like she deserved a break by this stage and we all know how Jacob VIII’s reign is going to end up. I would have loved to have seen an epilogue where we get the slight glimpse of a reunion between Riana and those of you who have read the book will know who I’m talking about. I just really wish there was that spark of hopefulness added to the end, yes we have a tiny one, but I really wanted this other one to be included too. If just would have really rounded out the story for me I feel. Though I’m wondering if it would have because as I said, some of the most pivotal scenes seemed to rushed over and had no emotion injected into them at all, which was a severe shame. I’m not sure if it was done intentionally, or if it was one of those “I’m so close to the end I need to finish” things.

I would love to read more about Riana and what’s going to happen from now on. I just hope that she has a little more depth and that reunion I was talking about happens at some stage 🙂

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