Title: Moonshadow’s Guardian
Author: Dianna Gunn
Genre: Fiction/ Romance/ Fantasy/ Vampire/ YA
Favourite Quote: “Maybe he was right. Maybe I didn’t want to die. Maybe all I wanted was freedom.”
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley.*
Riana, or rather Naomi as she was known back then, was 14 years old when she went through her demon transition. The beast that erupted from her skin blasted her mother to pieces before her very eyes, right before the demon God of Mischief, Loki, took her to the demon realm to live out her immortal life.
Riana has felt torture a thousand times over in her lifetime, but even after hundreds of years, the pain of losing her mother still hurts the most. A demon with a conscience is rare to come by, and all she wants is freedom to live in the mortal world.
Over the centuries, Riana has been contracted to carry out missions within the mortal realm that allows her some peace within her tortured demon soul. A chance to feel the grass beneath her feet, feel the wind in her hair, watch the sunrise, a small sense of what it could be like to be free. The contracts never last, human life is so short and fleeting for an immortal being which always bring her back down to the torment in hell.
When Riana refuses to join the demons to take part in the moral war, the penalty should have been death or at least a century of imprisonment in the demon realm, so when Loki offers her the chance to become a Guardian-class demon for a high mortal family in the one place she felt at home; Moonshadow, she can’t help but get suspicious. Especially when he offers her freedom if she succeeds. Why was Loki, the demon God of Mischief who spent centuries being her main tormentor, offering her everything she’s ever wanted? Why was he providing her with a powerful weapon and a fierce companion to help carry out the task? It didn’t matter, everything was worth the freedom. Loki wouldn’t allow her to refuse anyway, even if she wanted too.
‘I glared at Loki. “Why are you helping me?” I had never been given a weapon before my other summonings, let alone something so powerful.
A dark expression flickered across his face, too quickly for me to identify. “Perhaps it is you who are helping me. Now go.”
I didn’t like that answer at all.’
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I requested a copy of Moonshadow’s Guardian from the author. I’ve read countless books in the perspective of vampires, werewolves, witches and other things demonic, but never from an immortal demon. I was definitely intrigued and straight away the story pulled me in. It was a bit confusing at first to read about the Vonstones and all of the different family members, I had to read it twice to get my head around so much sudden information from Riana’s past life experiences with Jacob III and her new current mission for the family with Jacob VIII.
I really liked how the author built up Riana’s character from the various flashbacks of her life as a demon, whether it’s fighting in the arena or simply remembering a memory within the mortal world. You really get a sense of what kind of temperament she has through her experiences even as a demon. She feels guilt, loneliness, pain, grief, love and compassion, which isn’t exactly common in the demon realm. Her passion for doing the right thing, such as not joining the war in the mortal realm and fighting for the people of Moon Spire rather than just the royal family is impressive for one so powerful yet caged. Riana’s guilt lasts forever, it’s been hundreds of years since her mother died and yet she still feels the pain of it even now. I liked how she kept parts of her humanity which keep her grounded like the simple gesture of braiding her hair which reminds her of her life before her demon transformation. She would do absolutely anything to be free in the mortal realm, which is still incomprehensible to me over the time scale in the book and all of her demon experiences.
‘I thought I had protected her.
“Stop it, damn it.” I pressed my hands against the sides of my skull, as if to somehow compress my memories back behind the mental walls I had built. As if those walls weren’t still crumbling.
A sob erupted from my chest, then another, and another. I curled up into a ball and let the tears come.’
The story has repeated flashbacks with different perspectives, depending on the importance of the subject at the time. I quite liked this aspect as you were able to follow Riana’s memories in different emotional recollections. We also get the perspective of our mysterious plague perpetrator, a powerful telar who could be anywhere within the Kingdom who is threatening the royal family as well as the people. The pace was actually really well done for such a large timescale, I never felt like the story was rushed in any way. The flash backs and different perspectives really brought it together nicely.
The characters were brilliantly written. Andre Vonstone with his dark past who doesn’t care much for politics, is a vampire looking for a challenge and a worthy cause. His mysterious behaviour and desire to be away from the castle to help Riana makes us cautious but intrigued, especially when he beings to innocently flirt with her. As dangerously enigmatic as he is, Andre also has another caring side with added charm and charisma which pulls you in.
Rolf was a lovely aspect of the story, a dragon created by a demon God to be tame and friendly isn’t what Riana expected but she can’t help but feel drawn to his innocent childlike mind. Rolf is sweet and caring who is fascinated with the mortal world along with magic and demonic powers. A companion worthy of friendship that will make you smile as you hear his thoughts connecting to her.
My favourite character definitely had to be Loki, the demon God of Mischief. He doesn’t make alot of appearances but when he does, he brings a fantastic smug appeal which was brilliant. I wish we could have had more of Loki!
‘Stone ground against stone with a terrible sound as it swung open, revealing Loki. He pulled a ridiculously tall hat off his head and bowed dramatically. He always did like to make a show of things, especially when they concerned life and death.’
Overall I really enjoyed the story, the characters were great, the scenes were fantastic, the pace was well planned and the story felt satisfying. For a demon’s perspective, it had the right about of gruesome scenes that kept up with the horrors of war, plague, zombies, vampires as well as flashes into the demon realm.
All Riana has ever wanted is freedom. Unfortunately, that’s the one thing her kind cannot have.
Bound by the curse in her demonic blood for millennia, Riana has tried several times to bend the rules and live out her life in the mortal realm. Now her consistent rule breaking has drawn the attention of Loki, God of Mischief, the main tormentor of Riana’s kind. But instead of punishing her, he offers her the escape she has always desired. All she has to do to is save the kingdom of Moonshadow from a mysterious magical plague.
Armed only with the inherent power of her own blood and Loki’s pet dragon, Riana is determined to fight for the right to create her own destiny.
However, when her mission forces her to destroy the last remnants of an ancient culture, Riana must ask – what is freedom really worth?
Moonshadow’s Guardian is a tale about the meaning of belonging, and the struggle to create a future not defined by your past.