My Review of THE ELDER (Book #4 of The Guardian series) by Lynnie Purcell

***SPOILER ALERT***

Purcell L The ElderI understand the necessity for the the confusing POV monologue that opens this book. There is no other way to get across Clare’s thoughts and feelings from the tiny corner of her mind where she exists. With the rest of her possessed by the original fallen, the force of pure evil. This forces me to concentrate hard to keep up with what is going on and who is describing it, because the use of the words ‘us’ ‘we’ and ‘our’ are used every now and then. This part of the story is both packed with activity and slow from the perspective of Clare in her little corner. Again, I realize that this plotline is necessary. I am, however, glad when it finally ends.

This section does, however, show me that Clare is beginning to feel responsible (guilty) for the angel’s actions. She has time for reflection and comes to the conclusion that “the difference between the angel and her is slight” (paraphrased). I understand that this monologue is important to foreshadow the new Clare, who I will meet later in the book.

The angel starts his reign of terror by sending an army of Clares around the world hoping the doppelgangers will get close enough to do a lot of damage to Daniel and Reaper’s forces before the troops realize it is not their Clare. It is a smart tactical plan, but then the angel has had eons to think about strategy. Next, he seeks out Ellen and the family. Having them close protects them the coming war but also keeps Clare in line… another smart tactical move.

The next section gives me pause though. I understand that the angel, who possesses Clare, chooses to give her blood willingly. However, the real Clare, in her little corner of her mind, does not agree. So, which of them really has the authority to give the blood willingly? I find this plot point could go either way. This is smart writing. It keeps an internal debate alive for me. It is, at the same time, unsettling because I am never convinced one way or the other.

Clare/the angel is drawn to Kings Cross. It is part of the angel’s misdirection to keep his opponents believing all of his focus is there. I believe it was always the angel’s intention to move there. The angel’s actions while there keep Clare suffering from a lack of confidence in herself, guilt for allowing the angel to be free, and guilt for the horrific things he does while still inside her.

It is a great plot device to have Daniel stab Clare in the heart to save her from the angel and keep her from being forced to participate in the angel’s further actions. Now we have Clare, brought back to life and trying to run away to save her friends and family from her darkness, and then we have Daniel who kills Clare to save her and is thus in anguish because he thinks she now hates him. It definitely makes a great story in and of itself.

Mathias and Alex pull a snatch and grab on Clare. This is where Clare is forced to face the darkness while still realizing she has a job to do. Her mission is to, as much as possible, make right what the angel and Odette have decimated. Clare has to start growing into the inner strength she already possesses. It is not about growing into her powers. It is about growing into her inner strength and purpose.

I wait for her to get back in the game for the good guys, and I don’t have to wait long. As soon as she hears that her friends and family are under siege at Kings Cross, she goes immediately. She makes an emergency tactical decision and joins the nightstalker battle knowing that Strife, the Avenger, will be forced to engage the enemy because they will try to attack her. Clare knows this, counts on it, and makes an ingenious tactical decision under pressure.

Without realizing it, Clare is rising to lead her people as Farrah did. Soon, Clare will realize why Farrah makes the time to teach her how to lead… to govern. This is a great tie in to the previous books in The Guardian series. It is only now that I realize the importance of Clare’s possession by the angel. He was inside her head, but she was inside his too. While he thinks he understands her, he doesn’t realize how much stronger he made her. She, however, understands everything about the angel now… from the way he thinks to what drives him. She is now custom-designed to bring destruction to the angel.

Clare almost feels undone when she realizes that her family was forced to endure injections of her blood while she was “unconscious”. She is so full of guilt and grief she is barely able to go on. This is strategically smart on Odette’s part. It seems obvious that Odette saw Clare’s escape from the angel as one of many possible futures. Clare knows that she has to put this tragic situation to the back of her mind if she is going to be able to concentrate on the coming war. She is totally unable to face them and believes they will forever hate her… that she has lost them. Clare later comes to realize that nothing can take away the love of a mother like Ellen or an ‘aunt’ like Naomi.

I must admit that I am heartbroken over this. I love these characters, having followed them now through eight books. To think about Ellen, Naomi, little Liam and Breena, Sam and Jennifer as nightstalkers with a tendency toward violence, makes me very sad. It also makes me mad. I want the angel to pay. I believe that is just how Lynnie wants me to feel about it .

There is a point in the story that is used as a device to help Clare face her fears and accomplish a mission successfully… the star search. It is very important to the development of a Clare who can face the angel later. For me though, this segment of the book dragged on a bit too long.

By now, Clare has fully stepped into her role as leader. She has an overall plan and uses first-hand knowledge of Odette and the angel to manipulate them into it. Clare has effectively grown from a barely informed Watcher-to-be in the original book “The Watcher” to a powerful Guardian who can lead her people. When Clare has all of the pieces in place, she springs her trap, surprising Odette, her ‘soldiers’ and the angel. Although afraid to face the angel, Clare has learned to face her fears. She knows it is what she was born for, and she realizes that no one else can end him.

I am waiting for this part. It is time for Clare to fight the angel, stop him from getting into Heaven and put an end to this war on Earth. Clare uses her power to explode the dark place in between. In doing so, she destroys the door that the angel could use to get to Heaven, reclaim his full powers and bring war. Somehow both Clare and the angel end up with wings. The description of Clare’s wings is very odd. It is hard to picture and seems a bit excessive. I get that she should look like nothing else in existence, but that surely could be accomplished by combining appropriate feather colors. That seems different enough.

Either way, with the emergence of wings, their battle takes to the skies. The description of the fight seems to drag on. Finally, Clare destroys the angel… pulls him apart, which is something she could have done earlier but didn’t. On the one hand, I see how the extensive battle shows Clare’s strength. However, that can also be said for wrapping this part up a little faster. Basically, the battle starts with Odette and continues through the angel’s defeat.

I am glad Clare has those last minutes with her father, from him saving her to his work behind the scenes to keep her alive and working to protect mankind. She is finally able to feel the extent of love and pride he has for her.  While not a perfect relationship, Clare at least feels the things from her father that she has always wanted. I believe the decision to write this in is to make Clare more emotionally healthy.

It is a smart decision to have Clare realize that the peace with humans would be best kept by helping them rebuild rather than rebuilding for them. Also very smart, Lynnie’s decision to show Clare’s insistence that she wants no palace, no monument to herself, no recognition at all. She wants to slip back to the shadows. That is so Clare.

Everything from this point on is written to wrap up the loose ends with a big bow around it. Reaper makes up with Beatrice, Cora and Sprint get to become Watchers, Reaper gets his way and becomes a transitioning nightstalker linked to Clare, and Clare and Daniel’s home is all repaired and ready for them to live in. I like this. I am a big fan of happy endings and no loose ends. This makes for a happy me at the end of this book and this series.

I rate this book 4 out of 5. In reality, I would probably rate it a 3.8, but without that option… definitely 4 of 5.

I enjoy The Guardian series a lot. In all honesty, I like The Watcher series more. However, I can certainly understand Lynnie’s reluctance to let such great characters end. I’m glad I own the books. This way I can visit them any time I like.

 

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About KarenM

Advocate for animal rights, individual rights, and medical issues such as #Lyme disease, #cancer and #diabetes. Reader Reviews and News I also write about television, music, holidays and anything else that grabs me while I'm on my soapbox
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