Just Hatched is a feature where I share my first impressions of a book after the first chapter. Check out the announcement post for more information.
The Second Guard by J. D. Vaughn is a middle grade fantasy that has apparently flown under the radar of the book blogging community. It started out really promising and I was anticipating really enjoy The Second Guard, but I made it to 50% before realizing that I just didn’t want to pick it up again, so I figured I’d tell you about it here :).
Note: I received an advanced copy of The Second Guard from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.
The Second Guard by J. D. Vaughn (Second Guard #1)
Published by Disney Hyperion on April 14th, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, MG
Page Length: 432 pages
How I got my copy: NetGalley
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
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In the peaceful realm of Tequende, all second-born children at the age of fifteen must journey to the Alcazar to fulfill the mandate of the Oath of Guilds. There they train to earn a place among the Queen’s guard, or work as indentured servants.
For Sun Guilder Talimendra of the Magda River Traders, joining the Second Guard will not only bring honor to her family, it will be a chance to uphold her mother’s legacy. A lot of blood, sweat, and tears will be spent to bear the weight of this prestigious title, and Tali is prepared to make that sacrifice even as she competes against hundreds of other pledges.
But her loyalty will be tested when she uncovers a secret that could drag Tequende into all-out war.
The enemy is close.
With very little time and too many unanswered questions, Tali must trust her instincts—even if it means betraying the very guard she’s fighting to join.
How is the writing style?
The writing is third person singular from Tali’s perspective. At first the writing came off as quite lovely and engaging, but as I continued, I started noticing a definite change to the more preachy middle grade tone that can sometimes emerge. There are also excerpts from a history book at the beginning of each chapter, which can sometimes be done really well, but in this case they were just annoying info dumps. In my eARC they were also grey instead of black, making them nearly impossible to read on my Kindle!
General tone of the beginning
The beginning of The Second Guard jumps quickly in to Tali seeing a strange accident happen, thinking nothing of it, and heading off to training camp to compete to become a soldier in the second guard. She makes diverse friends from the other guilds (because we’re inclusive!), works hard, discovers something strange is going on, and starts investigating. Like I said above, The Second Guard ends up diving solidly into very typical middle grade fantasy territory that I got bored with.
Setting, genre, etc?
The Second Guard is solidly middle grade fantasy set in a fantasy world where the second born child of every family in the country must serve four years in the army, which has led to peace and prosperity for hundreds of years, yey everyone hug! The country is split into three guilds, the Sun, Moon and Earth guilds, that determine what jobs the people perform and of course racism sneaks in along the way, but our heroes know better and overcome their differences, everyone hug!
- What are you talking about, I already finished it last night (~5 stars)
- Definitely going to be reading this next (~4 stars)
- Keeping and hoping to get back to (~3 stars)
- Probably not getting back to but someone else will like it (~2 stars)
- Don’t really want to push this copy on anyone else (~1 star)
The Second Guard is a solidly 2 star book and another middle grade where I think younger readers will probably enjoy it because they won’t notice the writing losing that something special and they may even learn how much fun it is to include everyone in your adventures ;-).
Have you read this one yet? Are you inclined to check it out?
The Second Guard by JD Vaughn
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