Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Recommended Reading: The Dark Guardian Series

I've been wanting to post about Rachel Hawthorne's Dark Guardian series of novels for a while now, but I keep missing out on book 3. As it stands, I've read books 1,2, and 4 and as far as I know book 4 is the last of the series. I hesitate to post about a series without having read all of it, especially because I know that book 3 centers on a character who (for valid reasons) is obsessive about their exercise regime. The motivations aren't problematic so it could be fine, it's just difficult to imagine a focus like that not taking on a damaging vocabulary when written by someone who is human and in America. But I've grown impatient, so I'll just have to update this post whenever I get to read book 3.

Moving on, the Dark Guardian series is a collection of books that brings us into the world of "Shifters" or people who can change into animal form, in this instance all the characters can turn into wolves though we are told that there are other clans that can shift into different animals. The series is comprised of four books, Moonlight, Full Moon, Dark of the Moon (which I haven't read), and Shadow of the Moon.

From Hawthorne's website:

Moonlight Book 1 in the Dark Guardians series
Kayla has always felt a kinship with nature. Adopted as a child, Kayla has no idea that she’s inherited the gene that will turn her into a wolf. She can’t understand why she’s so drawn to distant, aloof Lucas...

As the leader of the Dark Guardians, a pack of werewolves that gather in the national forest, Lucas must watch Kayla until she discovers her destiny as his perfect other half. Just when Kayla finally begins to understand her fate, a new danger emerges...one that threatens their very existence.
Full Moon Book 2 in the Dark Guardians series
Lindsey has always known that Connor was her destined mate, but this summer as her full moon approaches, she finds herself dreaming about darkly handsome and silent Rafe. When the others are captured by their enemies, she and Rafe must work together to save them. As they spend time together, Lindsey will come to realize that some dangers come from within as she is forced to face her true feelings for Connor and Rafe. One is a friend. The other is her true love. But listening to her heart could cost her everything. 
Dark of the Moon Book 3 in the Dark Guardians series
Brittany has never had a guy declare her as his mate, so she faced her full moon alone. But she has always loved Connor from afar. When they are imprisoned by their enemies, they must depend on each other to survive. But Brittany harbors a dark and dangerous secret that could destroy them both.
Shadow of the Moon Book 4 of the Dark Guardians series
HAYDEN was born a werewolf, a Dark Guardian. But her ability to sense the feelings of fellow werewolves has made her life unbearable. She runs away, only to be tracked by charming, mysterious Daniel, a newcomer to their pack and the one Shifter immune to her powers.  As she reluctantly follows him home, Hayden finds herself falling dangerously in love…
But even as her feelings for Daniel deepen, Hayden begins to wonder if he is who he claims to be.
Shadow of the Moon actually depends very little on the other three books. It was the first one I read, and I picked it up randomly  not even realizing it was part of a series. It's my favorite of all the books, so if you're going to read just one I'd go with it. I think it's probably my favorite because it spends most of the narrative in Wolford, the Shifters home base as it were, and you get a more in depth look at their society and at how outsiders might be viewed in a place that is largely insular.

The books are remarkable to me, because they are quick and easy reads that also manage artfully done, complex world building and three dimensional characters. That's a tricky balance.  In addition, especially in Shadow of the Moon, Hawthorne is great at building the heat in a romance without any romantic physical contact to speak of between the characters. So if you or your kid like a good romance without any overtly sexual displays, this would be a series to get into.

The only thing that gets a bit tiresome is the whole "alpha male" possesiveness of women thing. Hawthorne explains it as being modeled on wolf society, and there are other things that explain this dynamic that I can't discuss here without spoilers, but it can still grate a little. Especially if you've had a bad experience with a possessive or overly jealous/suspicious partner.

Also, apparently it has been optioned for television so if you don't want pop culture to flood you with spoilers, get to readin!

Recommended Reading is a recurring feature on this blog. I'm doing this in an effort to build a list of YA books that I believe are both great stories and treat people's bodies in a sensitive and respectful manner. I will do my best to point out things about books I suggest that might be triggering even if I feel the book as a whole is worthwhile. If you have suggestions for future recommended books or comments/criticisms of books I write about please feel free to leave them in comments.


  1. sounds interesting...I'm kind of "wolfed out" if you know what I mean!

  2. Yeah, it's a well visited subject. But these came out a couple years ago, and I still think they're a good read, especially if you're just getting into paranormal stuff.

  3. I'm happy to be a new follower of this blog! Good recommendations. I've read books 1 and 2 of this series and have the others on my shelf. I've enjoyed them a lot.

  4. Thanks! I headed on over to your blog too. It's great stuff. I plan to be there more often from now on.