1

2

3

4

5

The Guardian Cycle

- Plot Synopses - Major Characters - Important Aspects of the Plot - General Points -

This epic fantasy 5 book series follows the travels of a disfigured boy called Terrel, as he travels across the islands that make up Nydus in search of his destiny, and a way to save his world from catastrophe.

The Guardian Cycle comprises:

1. The Dark Moon (2000)
2. The Jasper Forest (2001)
3. The Crystal Desert (2001)
4. The Red Glacier (2002)
5. Alyssa's Ring (2002)

Plot Synopses:

The Dark Moon

One the night of the four moon eclipse, an event that only happens once every 75 years, two royal children are born. Jax is healthy, loved, and proclaimed heir to the kingdom. Terrel, disfigured and abandoned, grows up in a mental asylum. Both have a part to play in a destiny which will prevent the cataclysmic destruction of their world.

The Jasper Forest:

Cast away from his home islands on a flimsy raft, Terrel, arrives on the coast of the island of Macul. Delirious and barely conscious he struggles to overcome the language barrier, and his fear of land that doesn't move around the ocean like his home, The Floating Islands. In his quest to find the elemental which is causing dangerous earthquakes on the island, Terrel undergoes his own challenges, including the removal of a curse set on a valley that has never seen sunlight.

The Crystal Desert:

Water is synonymous with Life in the parched deserts of Misrah. Here, Terrel joins the Toma, one of the many nomadic tribes of the region. Disaster strikes the area when the great Kullana River is swallowed up by a huge crevasse. With water becoming short many tribes get into difficulties, and Terrel knows he has to find and strike a bargain with the third elemental. His quest becomes even more urgent when people all over Nydus start becoming infected by a mysterious plague, which causes them to become mortally afraid of water.

The Red Glacier:

When Terrel travels to the land of Myvatan he is horrified to find a country in a permanent state of war. The warring factions don't even know why they fight anymore. Gold and White are allied against Red and Black, each seeking a way to wipe out the other. When a great sorceress, with the help of Jax, finds a way to burn people up from the inside using links in water Terrel knows he must stop it, especially when the fourth elemental learns of it, and plans to use it to wipe out everyone on Myvatan. However, this time the elemental has been driven mad after being soaked by glacial melt water, and even Terrel's healing powers might not be enought to repair its state of mind.

Alyssa's Ring:

Terrel has completed the tasks set out for him in the Tindaya code, and is making his way back home, to Vadanis on The Floating Isles. Despairing over his results on Myvatan, Terrel is worried about returning home, especially as the four moon eclipse that wasn't supposed to happen again until he was 75 years old is fast approaching, now to occur on his 25th birthday. He is desperate to get home, but not only to stop the catastrophe prophesied in the Tindaya Code, but also to be re-united with his love, Alyssa, who he hasn't seen since she entered a magical coma almost a decade ago. Travelling through Kenda, with a mixed group of companions, Terrel must confront a strange sorcerer, intent on making a whole city commit mass suicide, as he had in a small village on the last four moon eclipse before he reaches the shores of Vadanis and face his destiny.

Major Characters:

Terrel

The protagonist of the story, a 14 year old boy who has spent his whole life in an asylum called Havenmoon. Not knowing his heritage, he assumes he was abandoned because of his physical features: a deformed right arm and leg, and eyes with iris' like crystal. His life is turned upside when his best friend Elam is killed, and Alyssa, his sweetheart, falls into a mysterious protected coma. With no other option, Terrel flees Havenmoon, vowing to return one day.

Terrel discovers that he is destined to become a hero, as foretold in the Tindaya Code, a mysterious prophecy that singled him out, as he was born on the night of a four moon eclipse, an even that only occurs every 75 years. However, Terrel was the not the only one born that night. His twin brother, Jax, is heir to the kingdom, and stops at nothing to torment Terrel in his dreams. And yet, Terrel is not alone, Alyssa is able to visit him in the form of an animal, and she brings with the ghostly shades of his friends and advisers.

With the guidance of his friends, Terrel travels the islands of Nydus in search of elementals that are disrupting the land, but are also the key to preventing the disaster foretold to befall Nydus on the night of the next four moon eclipse...

Jax

Terrel's twin brother, and his opposite in every way. Confident, healthy and manipulative, everything is a game to the heir of the empire. Assumed to the hero foretold in the Tindaya Code by the seers, he is treated with respect, even when they have doubts as to whether he really is the guardian. A powerful enchanter, Jax torments Terrel in his dreams, and does everything he can to hinder him. His manipulations cause tragedy and pain whenever they occur.

Alyssa

A resident of Havenmoon, Alyssa is one of the residents who perhaps belongs there. She often starts her sentences in the middle, and assumes you know what she's talking about, and also has the ability to "see" dreams. Left at Havenmoon my her family who couldn't cope with her anymore, she becomes fast friends with Terrel and Elam. One day, Terrel makes Alyssa a ring out of a piece of twine and a strand of his hair. When Alyssa is caught up in a protected magical coma, the ring because their most treasured possession, as it allows Alyssa's spirit to find Terrel, and visit him in the form of an animal.

Their belief that the coma's, that are affecting other people too, are caused by the elementals seems confirmed when Alyssa has trouble contacting Terrel whenever he is surrounded by water.

Elam

Forced to become a resident of Havenmoon for harvesting some potatoes in a field out of an auspicious moon alignment, Elam is bitter towards his parents who didn't protect him. However, Havenmoon allowed him many more freedoms than most of the other residents, so he, Terrel and Alyssa were able to make the most of the estate, even discovering an abandoned observatory, complete with a broken telescope.

When events at Havenmoon take a turn to the worse, Elam is murdered by the new overseer in front of the residents. With his spirit restless, it stays in this world, and Elam is able to visit Terrel with Alyssa, offering advice or witticisms, as well as being able to keep an eye on Jax. His presence is a great comfort to Terrel, who feels some guilt toward his friends death.

Muzeni and Shahan

In life, both were seers at the imperial court of Vadanis. Muzeni was consigned to the now ruined Observatory in Havenmoon for his "heretical" beliefs hundreds of years ago, only to proved right after his death. Shahan visits Terrel at Havenmoon, as he is not convinced that Jax is the Guardian prophesied in the Tindaya Code, only to be murdered himself. The two seers restless spirits also visit Terrel with Elam and Alyssa. Their insight and interpretation of the Tindaya Code are invaluable to Terrel on his long journey through Nydus.

The Elementals

Magical beings, they fear and despise water, and yet have great power. Indifferent to the insignificant lives of humans, Terrel must convince them to help him, and not cause disaster.

Important aspects of the plot:

The four moons:

On Nydus, life is ruled by the four moons. The amber controlling the realm of the spirit and dreams; The white, logic and destiny; The red, war and passion; The dark moon...ambiguous, as always. On The Floating Islands, the moons even control when the crops are sown and harvested. When the Dark Moon begins to change its orbit, havok is caused.

The Tindaya Code:

Noone knows how old the code is. Carved in rock, with bits broken or even missing, the seers of the imperial court have been trying for years to decipher it. The gist is frightening. A guardian will be born on the night of a four moon eclipse, and with the help of a mentor, he must save the world from catastrophe that will occur on the next four moon eclipse.

Other points:

- even though the story spans five books, it is a very quick read. Easy to get into, with a flowing style.
- not particularly complex; suited to teenagers as well as adults.
- lack of maps is disappointing.
- cover art is one of the best I've seen on any fantasy series.

Rating: 10/10