Title: The Real You (Wardens of the Guild: Book One)
Author: N.J. Nielsen
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Length: 126 Pages
Category: Paranormal, Contemporary
At a Glance: Unfortunately, this story fell short of what I had expected and just didn’t click for me.
Reviewed By: Lindsey
Blurb: The age-old war between good and evil is bringing changes, and with change comes fear—especially the fear of what is to come.
Isiah Gillis and Claudius Reynar are twins in every sense of the word. No one can tell them apart, yet they’re not related. Since meeting, they’ve learned that they’ve become the subject of a legend, something neither of them wanted.
Their first day warden, Gabriel, tries to kill Claudius and Isiah by turning their True One, Mitch, into a weapon against them. Instead, Mitch now shares his body with Remi, a powerful demon lord who enters their lives—a demon lord who claims them for his own.
Not everyone is happy that the legend has been fulfilled, and they will do everything in their power to tear apart the strong bond the four men possess. Laramie realizes he has to separate from Mitch or risk losing one of his mates so completely that it could break them all.
When old and new enemies alike step forward to destroy who they are, Isiah, Mitch, Claudius and Laramie gather family and friends to fight in the war to save them all. Can things be set right before evil intentions win?
Review: I am a huge fan of the paranormal and always enjoy seeing different world building. The blurb to this one had me interested immediately: two people sharing a body but each individuals, not-twins, AND a prophecy? I was excited to see what could be done with the different elements at play. After finishing the story, I feel completely let down and am wondering how exactly to articulate my personal issues.
I still feel the basic premise had a lot of potential, and I didn’t spot any glaring issues with misspelled words etc., but the development across the board was deficient. For me, character development is a must, regardless of whether there is a romantic element at play or not. If there is a romantic element I also need to feel invested in the relationship. The world building is always appreciated, but I can easily enjoy a book without world building if I am invested in the characters and/or the romance. Sadly, everything in this story felt so rushed, and in its haste to progress the action forward, the world building fell to the wayside; the characters were caricatures and simplistic; the romance was pretty much insta-everything. It didn’t take long for my overall interest in the plot to wither away. There were a lot of untaken opportunities to delve into the characters’ thoughts and feelings to flesh them out more, give the reader insight to the bond forming between the protagonists and the world in which they live. Had there been more time spent creating dimensional characters and exploring their bond, I may be feeling different about this book today.
Mitch enters into Claude and Isiah’s lives, and they are immediately all drawn together. Isiah and Claude being “mirror images” but not related was definitely different. They are lovers and this turns a lot of people off, because they are mistaken for identical twins and no one has ever been able to tell them apart, which makes others uncomfortable at the thought of the intimate nature of their relationship. Apparently there is a prophecy regarding the two of them that starts when they meet their “True One”. Mitch is a human who can tell them apart immediately (it seems this is one of the signs he is the not-twins “True One”) and offers them both equal love and isn’t grossed out by their relationship. The readers don’t get to experience the characters as they get to know one another during the first month they are roommates; the story skips from Mitch moving in and having a boyfriend (who, of course, is horrible and possessive and all the other bad traits a boyfriend can be) to pretty much Mitch and his boyfriend breaking up and within seconds Mitch is claimed by Isiah and Claude as theirs, and they are all in love. Literally seconds. Within minutes of that happening the three are attacked by Gabriel. Enter Remi, who now occupies Mitch’s body with him, and BOOM all are bonded and in love. The idea of Mitch sharing a body with Remi, but them being two distinctly separate individuals, could have been examined more thoroughly, but instead it was immediate acceptance by everyone in their group, and on to the next obstacle. From then on everything happens at break-neck speed, with no slowing down to actually explore the world and growing bond of the characters or the intentions of those that oppose the twins and their mates.
I won’t go into too much detail on the majority of the book, but I will say there were twists galore and, IMO, not in a good way. There was a lot of action, but because the world building was so poor and the background of the MCs is never really described, nearly everything that happens within the plot (minus a few glaringly obvious items) was pretty much a plot twist, and it began to give me whiplash.
I really wanted to appreciate this book because, at its core, the idea had a lot of possibility. Unfortunately, this story fell short of what I expected and just didn’t click for me. Though the concept was intriguing, the execution lacked, and I was left feeling rushed through the story and let down.
You can buy The Real You here: