Oh, how I love a well written book with a carefully built plot! And how I love to see the characters grow with every page I turn! I can’t even remember why I wanted to read “Guiamo” so badly. Maybe it reminded me of my passion for Ancient Rome and for the Latin mythology. Maybe the beautiful cover drew my attention, and the book description promised me a well researched historical novel with just enough fantasy elements to keep it interesting. It doesn’t matter now, really, because Marshall Best delivered much more than I expected.
Guiamo is a 10-year-old orphan who is abandoned by his uncle near a fishing village. It turns out this was the best thing his uncle could have ever done for his nephew, because Guiamo is taken into care by an old fisherman who teaches him everything he knows, and then sends him to his friend, Gabinius, a wealthy bladesmith who treats him like his son and offers him all he needs to grow into a strong and intelligent man. It is quite clear from the beginning that Guiamo is special. The Oracle predicted his coming into Gabinius’ house, and he soon finds out his grandfather is a powerful Druid. Moreover, when he visits the temple of Mars, the god of war, the priests give him an ancient, magical spear that is said to have been built by Mars himself.
One of the things I loved about this book is that the main character, Guiamo, needs to learn in order to become a great man. Even though he finds out he is special and he can control the powerful spear of Mars, nothing comes easy to him. He starts low, works, and fulfills his duties towards his protector. He knows there are rules he needs to respect, and steps he needs to take in order to reach his potential. He remains humble at all times, grateful for everything Gabinius has done for him, and simple in his demeanor, never considering that his intelligence, wits, and newfound abilities set him apart from the others. Naturally, I can’t wait to see how this character evolves in the next novels.
I can’t find anything negative to say about this novel. Some readers might find it slow at times, and that is because the author introduces many details about the traditions, society and politics of the period the action is set in. This didn’t bother me at all, because I always had a clear image of the characters’ world. The fact that the author has done such extensive research for this series can only be a plus. It gives consistency to the writing, and everything seems so much more realistic.
I also loved the words of wisdom Guiamo learned from his tutors, and I believe younger readers will find them interesting and worth remembering. Thus, the book doesn’t only prove to be enjoyable, but also quite educational, which is always good when it comes to a YA series. I would highly recommend it to anyone who loves historical novels (especially about the ancient times), mythology, and fantasy.
(reviewed 31 days after purchase)