________________ CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 22 . . . . February 10, 2012


The Witch Guardian.

Cynthia Stacey.
Renfrew, ON: General Store Publishing House, 2011.
111 pp., trade pbk., $19.95.
ISBN 978-1-926962-38-2.

Grades 6-9 / Ages 11-14.

Review by Daphne Hamilton-Nagorsen.

** /4



"Chelsea," the Guardian spoke quietly. "You must calm down. I realize it is difficult. It is one of the harder spells for a young witch to learn, but your negative energy can be a powerful attraction for evil. You do not want to draw that kind of attention to yourself before you are ready."

The Guardian looked worried for the first time since Chelsea could remember. She started to get scared. Suddenly, a powerful wave of emotion swept through Chelsea that she couldn't control. Fear of what was to come in the years ahead, anger at herself for being so childish and foolish, bitterness toward her mother for leaving her; even hostility toward her Guardian for his constant patience and even temper. Panic started to spread through her, for she could not control herself. The wave of emotion started to manifest itself into a physical form and radiate from Chelsea like an invisible shield. Suddenly a powerful force field ripped itself from her body, knocking down everything in its path. The Guardian disappeared, and the whole room was a mess, as if a hurricane had swept through the room. Chelsea fell to her knees in tears as the emotional current left her body, leaving her drained and weak.

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.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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