Using such themes as reincarnation, vampires, and revenge, author Laura Browning weaves an intricate tale about two people who have been kept apart by external forces until this lifetime. The Guardian Michel is the first book in Browning’s serial Brotherhood of the Guardians about a band of male vampires who set out to destroy the rogues of their kind. The brotherhood’s goal is to protect humans from being tortured by these rogues or worse being turned into a vampire by them.
Browning has several layers to her story, oftentimes making the plot overly complicated and difficult for the reader to grasp. The first layer is the love story between Lilly Evans, a photographer in this lifetime, and Michel de Valois who was changed into a vampire in his present life. The pair first met in another time, the Antebellum South when they were both humans. They were kept apart then by external forces and both died tragically in that lifetime.
Once becoming a vampire in this time period, Michel joins Gabriel St. Michael, the leader of Guardian Investment. Later the reader learns that Gabriel was Lilly’s brother in an even more distant lifetime when they were both humans. The flashbacks to past lives are sporadic and places the characters all over the place through the time spectrum with the reader left in the dust trying to arrange the pieces of the puzzle in a coherent fashion. A lot of the work is left to the reader to figure out, even with all of the explanations that Browning furnishes.
The last layer of the story focuses on revenge. Lilly’s sister Hortense from the Antebellum period is a vampire in this lifetime and means to make Lilly pay for stealing Michel de Valois from her. The tension produces an element of horror that takes away from the romance. Lilly needs to become a vampire in order to save her life which draws comparisons to the Twilight series when Bella Swan needs to be turned into a vampire or she would die.
The complications aren’t as well seamed into the fabric of the story to make The Guardian Michel any different from the other vampire-oriented books on the market. Assertions which are made aren’t congruent with what has been told to the reader. Thus making the reader reorganize the information already received to try and put together the whole picture. Browning’s speech could be more concise, although the elements for an intriguing tale are there.
(reviewed 23 days after purchase)