The Tower (Guardians of Destiny #1)
by Jean Johnson
published by Berkley Trade
genre: Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Summary (Goodreads): When serpent crept into their hall:
Danger waits for all who board,
Trying to steal that hidden tone.
Painted Lady saves the lord;
Tower’s master’s not alone.
In a fertile valley undisrupted by the aether-shattering death of the old Aian Empire, the Tower and its Guardians have entertained generations of wealthy mirror-scrying mages while adventurers from around the world risk their lives for fortune and fame. But on the one day the Tower stood unguarded, an intruder tried to seize the magic powering the vast structure. Now, locked out of the Tower’s innermost chambers, Kerric Vo Mos must brave the deadly traps keeping trespassers at bay in order to reclaim control.
Unfortunately, Kerric wields a pen far better than a sword, and the way into the Tower’s sanctum is treacherous. Only the help of an experienced player like Myal the Mendhite can get him to where he must go. But mutual respect will not be enough. Passion must also be employed, along with armor and weapons, as they embark on a perilous quest past monsters, riddles, and other dangers that even the Tower’s most dedicated viewers have never seen before.
My Thoughts: I had a hard time rating this one. It really depends on what you're looking for. The fantasy aspects worked best for me. I enjoyed the gauntlet run by the Master and Myal. The different obstacles and even the riddles that went along with different rooms. They not only have to trust each other they have to be completely intimate with each other to get past a series of challenges. On top of the deathly traps they encounter they also have a rogue group following behind them trying to overtake them and take the tower for themselves.
The problem for me was the romance. It really depends on the type of romance you like. This book started with the two characters already attracted to each other but having never expressed it. The story just built on this fact and took them through the tower and continued on to their regular lives after they got the tower back under Kerric's control. I guess it was kind of too sweet and easy for me. There was never any tension between them, it just was. This is not to say I did not like them as a couple, I just was underwhelmed from a story standpoint.
Overall, I can see myself continuing this series from a fantasy standpoint and if it happens to have a great romance in it all the better.