Title: Guardians of the Akasha
Author: Celia Stander
Genre: new adult (ie older YA) contemporary fantasy
Guardians of the Akasha is a fantastic new adult story, highly enjoyable and an excellent example of the genre; story-driven with plenty of action, a touch of romance, a terrible opponent and gutsy main characters. It’s well written and has an interesting and clearly thought out metaphysical basis, something I am particularly fond of in fantasy.
In this genre there is no room for long descriptions or pages and pages devoted to character development, everything must bow to the story and the drama has to kick in early. Stander has done this brilliantly. We come to know our characters and their environment as the action happens. Eighteen-year old Keira Wilde has just finished school and is making plans for her future, but when she is attacked in a street in London, she has to use her powers to defend herself. Others notice the power of her magical signature, someone she knows and someone she doesn’t want to know. This sets in action a series of events that lead her to a castle in Europe and a new understanding of what the powers that she’s been hiding her whole life actually mean. It’s a shock. Her learning the extent of her inheritance wasn’t supposed to happen so quickly, but the antagonist is moving fast and Keira has no time for wimping out. She finds herself in the middle of a battle between those who want to protect the Akasha and the one who wants to use it to dominate the world.
The Akasha is a word with a wealth of meaning. Simply, it means all matter, everything perceived and felt, and the void is the antithesis of that. The Guardians can access the Akasha, feel the threads that connect everything and use its magical power. The Book of Knowledge—the receptacle of the accumulated knowledge of the High Priestesses from down the ages—is under their protection, for should it fall into the wrong hands, its contents could be misused to bring its owner dominion over everything. The metaphysics not only makes sense, it also has the feel of something that relates to reality, and that makes the reader look at their world anew. I love books that do this, so much so that I try to write them myself.
The characters are easy to relate to, the plot is excellent, and the pacing is well-balanced in that you don’t want to put it down but there are plenty of places to catch your breath. Guardians of the Akasha is every bit as well-crafted as something put out by a major publisher. I give it 5 stars and a place on the Awesome Indies list
US Kindle store
UK Kindle store