Review copy was received from Author. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Guardian Blood by Nicholas Hoy
Series: Primal Shadows #1
Published by Self-Published on February 18, 2019
Genres: Urban Fantasy
A tech-heavy world ruled by Mages...
Corporate Technologies (CorTex): flagship of the Apex Corporations. Responsible for the creation and distribution of Magical Technologies (Tech), enhancing the lives of all Mages—for a price. An easy thing for Primes, the most powerful and wealthiest Mages on the planet. From their floating Isles, high above the cities, the untouchable ruling-class have no idea what’s coming for their way of life.
Reed Reynolds: an unsuspecting university student and gifted data prodigy is recruited by the Vice Magus of CorTex, Richard Holden, the most powerful Prime in Crescent City, to join the ranks of the elite-class. The young Data Mage is grateful for the once in a lifetime opportunity, and certain all of his dreams are about to come true, until he finds out that he must hack into the most secure location on the planet—where he’ll discover ancient secrets that could rock the foundations of a global society.
Em 19: a Tech smuggler. Best in the business. Brought up on the deadly streets of Low-Town, where miles-high skyscrapers have created a world of eternal night. Drowning in debt, she takes a risk and heads topside. When a quick score explodes into chaos, Em’s flight for her life lands her right in the middle of a conspiracy spanning back millennia—to when Humans still ruled the world.
Guardian Blood is Nicholas Hoy’s debut novel set in a world of mages, humans, tech corporations and a layered city shooting up into the sky. The higher-level mage you are, the higher up you live in the city and the lower your mage power level, the closer to ground level, where you will never even see the sun, due to how high the cities go. And the humans, well let’s just say, they are basically a slave class.
Reed is a naive kid and data technology wiz, right out of college. He has been recruited to one of the most powerful corporations in the mage world and he has just found out a secret that is going to rock that world down to its core. After that, everyone is out to kill him and if he hadn’t had a run in with Em, a smuggler born to the streets, he might be dead already. With her help, they might be able to keep him alive long enough to set this secret loose and change their world forever.
There are a lot of things going for this debut novel:
One is the world building. It is a good blend of magic, modern/futuristic technology, class war structure and politics. I liked the role out of the history of how things went from mages and humans living together in peace and prosperity, to being ruled by corporations and the horror that brought to the population. There are some great images in this and fun types of magic from portaling, to making copies of yourself, or projecting your consciousness into something like the cloud to sort through data.
Another thing in the win column is the group of unlikely allies brought together by circumstance and need. Reed and Em are the stars of the show for sure. Teaming up together and finding out that an orphan from the streets and a hot shot Data Mage might have more in common than they think. Richard Holden’s PoVs and plot arc plays a close supporting role and I enjoyed getting to see all the sides of his character. He has a big grudge against the powers that control this world and promises to keep to his dead wife. He will have his vengeance and bring the people responsible for her death to justice.
The plot arc and big discovery were again interesting, I liked the philosophy aspect of it. If you were the conquerors, how far would you/could you go to keep a lie going until it is believed at the truth? What horrors could you commit in the name of keeping your version of history as the only version?
What are the issues?
Well as a debut novel, I see a lot of great things in this and I also see room for growth. This is a really solid story but could do with a little fleshing out of some of the pacing or delivery of details. Nothing that is a deal breaker or anything like that but I see a ton of potential to Nicholas Hoy that a few books under his belt is going to solve.
We also have a small case of the ‘Chosen One’, where someone might have extreme unbelievable power in the end. It was exciting, but also I just want to make sure in future books the Guardian Blood isn’t too overpowered to make things too easy.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. It has quite a few things in the plus column. Sadly, there really wasn’t anything resembling a romance in this. There is a smidge of a hint that maybe someday there might be something between a few of the characters but no time was spent on it here, which is a win for some who are looking for a no-kissy-kissy book. Fun worldbuilding, a Scooby Squad and an evil tyrant, what else do you need for a good story?
“I’m almost twenty-years-old,” Reed fired back, “and I’m just a junior executive.”
She sneered at him, before saying, “That’s like saying you’re just a little evil.”