I have come to the conclusion that my tastes are unlike anyone else’s because I can’t explain why a book that has received four to five stars from its readers got two stars from me. Am I not seeing something that they are? (I may as well admit (confess? dare I?) that I am no fan of Twilight either.) In the beginning of this book, six children of varying ages are somehow possessed by mythic beings known as The Guard who do The Grand Work (honestly, I’m not joking, that’s how it’s described) and there is a prophecy by this extremely beautiful woman (who has a thing for phoenixes as her lover was one (or was able to change into one)) that there will be a seventh among their ranks. And this seventh is going to be very important because it is only through her joining their ranks will the Guard be able to keep up their Grand Work (I’m only snickering a little bit). So far, so good. I will also say that I like my heroines strong, feisty and bold. Or if not, I like them with grace and dignity and always a spine. Miss Percy Parker, who has so little colour in her cheeks and body that she might as well be a ghost, has no spine. She is spineless. I like her German friend better. Way better. Anyway, Miss Percy falls for Alexi, a man who is (although this is kept ambiguous) more than twice her age. He’s also her professor. Now I shall leave you to consider the appropriateness of that equation (him being a mathematics professor and Percy being a total dunce at it) and Alexi is unable to help himself but reciprocate her passion. With me so far? Yeah? Good. Okay, I won’t give the story away just in case you want to read this so let me move on to the reasons I found this entire book utterly ridiculous. No wait, before I do, I shall point out the nice bits because this book actually did have some plus points. The camaraderie between the Guard was quite well written and their bantering was amusing and spoke of a wit sharper than the book leads you to believe. I also thought the insertion of the Greek mythos was interesting. It was subtle but not really and you will totally know what the story is if you read the title with a careful eye. This book is written in a gothic style, I understand that. It seeks to emulate the styles of Ann Radcliffe perhaps with a heroine who is all heaving bosom and quivering lips. I get that. But what deeply upsets me is the type of woman Percy turned out to be. She’s weak – timid is just a nice word for saying spineless. And she’s the perfect type for a victim mentality. Alexi throws (yes, throws) her out of his office and still ALL she wants to do is crawl back to him. She’s not just timid, she’s also accepting of whatever Alexi does to her and in fact, she says to him more than once that she “would do anything for you.” Even when her supposed power saves the world and their asses in the end, the author takes away the brief power the female held making her “forget” what had happened or how she’d got there. She regains her senses and asks Alexi to save her, once again reinstating the old tradition of men being the ones with power. Even her brief shows of temper and spine are eclipsed by her overwhelming helplessness against the so-called Alexi. I couldn’t believe a woman would write a heroine who is a shame to all other heroines out there. In fact, Bella seems awesome in comparison and I’m telling you, that’s something not done easily. Then there is the melodrama, excessive melodrama. The writing which is choked with trite emotions and cliches. The author finds it easier to lump all the Guard as one and instead of talking about them as individuals, refers to them as a group, making all their expressions and reactions uniform. This rings unrealistic and smacks of lazy writing. Honestly, by the time I was at the climax of the novel, I was chuckling and not because the book was meant to be funny. I just couldn’t fathom anyone actually taking any of it seriously. You might feel that I am being needlessly harsh but these are my honest feelings. This book is for women and their progress in society, their fight to be respected and taken seriously what a weedkiller is for weeds.