Reminiscent of Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar series, "A Guardian's Hope" was an enjoyable foray into a new world, although I didn't really see a clear tie to Sleeping Beauty.
"A Guardian's Hope" can be read as a standalone, but it does start out slow. I was near to the middle of chapter two before things started clicking and the story really started for me.
I liked that Cianan is the pure, shining, optimistic, noble one in the pairing. Maleta is wonderful and Good, but Cianan is definitely the squishier one out of the two of them. Then there's Kiki, the magical horse partner. It was a lot of fun watching her keep Ciannan in line and fish him out of trouble when necessary.
I would have preferred it if it had taken longer for Maleta and Jovan to get past their past trauma and to heal as much as they had by the end of the book, but it wasn't a deal breaker.
The cast of supporting characters are great - I can't wait to see them get stories of their own and to see how they fare in future stories.
As a child, invaders butchered Maleta’s parents and left her ravaged body for dead. Now, reborn as a finely-honed weapon for the Gray Goddess, Maleta has shed the burden of emotions for one goal—regain her homeland for her brother.
Cianan ta Daneal’s mission to the fractured land of Shamar is twofold: to overthrow a despotic queen, and to save a life. For months, he’s been haunted by recurring visions of a beautiful swordswoman slaughtered by a skeleton army. He never expected to lay eyes on that woman and recognize her as his Lifemate—or that she’d turn and run like hell.
Uniting Shamar’s diverse peoples in revolt is easy compared to the delicate task of wooing a woman who flinches from his touch.
Slowly, Maleta dares to hope that her country, what’s left of her family, and her shattered heart are safe in Cianan’s steady hands. But when the cold blade of fate strikes true, can she trust his love is strong enough to pull her back from the Abyss?
Warning: This new twist on Sleeping Beauty contains an assassin nun who knows no fear. Okay, just one fear, but it’s a biggie. And an Elven paladin with the Devil’s own negotiating skills. To coax her heart out of hiding, he’s gonna need every one of them.