CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 22 . . . . February 10, 2012
Chelsea is a witch who is being trained by her Guardian, a protective spirit and friend. Chelsea's mother gave her up for adoption shortly after she was born in order to protect her daughter from the demons that were hunting them. Those same demons are still after Chelsea, so in addition to all the trials a normal teenage girl must survive, Chelsea must also learn to master her powers in order to protect herself.
The Witch Guardian is a very fast-paced story. Chelsea is always in a conflict of some type. Early on, the conflicts are mainly with other girls at school or her stepmother, but later Chelsea starts to meet the demons that are pursuing her. Unfortunately, the constant conflicts, along with some abrupt scene changes, tend to make the pace of the story feel forced.
Cynthia Stacey does a good job of portraying a young teenager struggling with a variety of problems, including the beginning of puberty and conflicts with her stepmother. Chelsea's character rings quite true in the way she deals (or does not deal) with her problems. Friendship and trust are important themes in The Witch Guardian, and Stacey shows this well with Chelsea's relationships with her Guardian, her friend Miranda and her stepmother. While there is some character development throughout, the pace of the story limits this to a few interludes between conflicts.
The background to the story is also unfortunately limited throughout much of the book. The reader learns in the first few pages what a Guardian is, the importance of Chelsea's amulet and that Chelsea's mother is being chased by demons, but there is nothing more until about halfway through the story. While much of this apparent omission is necessary to the plot later on, some more information early on about the abilities of both demons and witches would be very useful to the reader.
The Witch Guardian will appeal to readers who like a fast-paced fantasy story.
Daphne Hamilton-Nagorsen is a graduate of the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies at UBC, Vancouver, BC.
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