26 Mar 2014

REVIEW: The Wounded Guardian by Duncan Lay

Title: The Wounded Guardian (The Dragon Sword Histories #1)
Author: Duncan Lay
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Publication Date: 2009
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Format: Paperback
Pages: 626
Rating: 5/5

Martil is a haunted man - a war hero, now derided as the 'Butcher of Bellic'. Leaving his beloved homeland he is set upon by bandits and tricked into taking a small child, Karia, to her uncle. But they only find one ex-bandit in the town, along with the Dragon Sword, a magical relic belonging to the rulers of Norstalos. Norstalos's first-ever queen is trying to keep her crown. Her cousin, Duke Gello, wants it and is prepared to do anything to get it. Martil can find no way out of caring for a child, fighting for a queen and discovering that even a magical sword is no guarantee of victory...

This review is going to be quite long, so I suggest maybe getting yourself a cup of tea or coffee and some popcorn or something while you sit back and read it.

The Wounded Guardian first came into my hands in May of 2012 at Supanova, which is a sort of much, much smaller version of Comic Con here in Australia. The Dymocks stand was giving away one of two free books with every purchase- the first choice was some robot book which my friend chose and the second was this. That was all great but then I got home and the book joined my dreaded TBR pile. I promptly forgot about it...for two years.

Flash-forward to now, and during one of my many stalking sessions of the Dymocks events page, I found out that Duncan Lay was going to be at my local Dymocks store. So I dragged my lovely friend, Hannah, down to meet him. Can I just say that Duncan Lay is one of the most amazing authors I’ve ever met? I don’t think I can ever put into words how lovely he was. One thing I can say for sure is that neither Hannah nor I had ever seen an author talk so passionately about their book. His pitch for his two series were amazing, it was like listening to one of those really dramatic actors read out this amazing, mind-blowing blurb of the book. I wish all of you could get the chance to listen to him talk about it, because I’m sure you’d pick up the book.

Anyway, enough about that- it’s time for the actual review. I’m going to start this out with two admissions. One, I don’t really have that much experience with fantasy novels. Or rather, I didn’t before I read this book and went on a fantasy frenzy. Two, I probably never would have picked this book up if it was not for this event. This wasn’t due to the book at all, but more because I had no idea what the book was about, and that sucks, because I would have missed out. I’ll just say it now, this book is amazing.  It’s definitely up there with my favourite books of all time (and I literally just finished it last week).

The cast of characters in The Wounded Guardian is amazing. Two of the biggest characters are Martil- a war hero who is tortured by his crimes and Karia- a little girl. In order to avoid spoilers, I won’t tell you how these two come together but I will tell that they are amazing characters. The two of them play off each other really well because they are so different, but also quite similar. I will totally admit, there are some unexpected ‘aw’ moments between those two. The queen of this kingdom is another one of my favourite characters. Her name is Merren and she is badass, not in the fighting/assassin sort of way but in a strong female lead kind of way but more than that, she’s intelligent and determined but still a little bit vulnerable at times. I think she is well on the way to becoming one of my favourite characters of all time.

The story itself is wonderful. I was a little bit hesitant going into this, because it is quite a thick book (626 pages in total). I was worried it might be a little bit too heavy and dense, especially being a fantasy novel but once I started it was a different story. I found it incredibly easy to read, so much so that I read the first 130 pages in the one sitting. I’m not going to lie, it did take me quite a while to get through the book, over a month in fact. This had nothing to do with the book itself, but rather the fact that I was stuck for time and so usually I could only read a couple of pages at a time. It was definitely the perfect book to read in a nice little corner of the library during my first two weeks of University ever.

One of the reasons I wanted to write such a long review for this book (other than this book being seriously amazing) was because this really doesn’t have that many ratings on Goodreads and I really think it should. This is an amazing start to a trilogy and I can’t wait to read the other two books which currently tease me from their place on the shelf. If somehow, my gushing about this book hasn’t made you want to read then let me try and convince you one more time...PLEASE READ THIS BOOK!! PLEASE! I NEED SOMEONE TO DISCUSS THE AMAZINGNESS WITH!


  1. I agree an amazing book. Read it in a week and I have five children and work as well, so that in itself tells you it is a book you cannot put down. Am onto the second book in the series. Bought both of the last two books together, just in case I finished number 2 just as quick. Duncan is a lovely man and very passionate. I bought this book after meeting him and am very, very happy!!!

    1. I haven't gotten to the second book yet! It's killing me. He really is, isn't he?