“Know yourself.” Nicholas Forsythe never knew how important those words were at his first year at Glenoak High School until he met Garron. After he is given a mentor by his parents to help guide him through his rebellious phase, Nicholas is initially skeptical of Garron’s methods. Who is he? How does he know so much about Nicholas without meeting him? As Nicholas works to find the answers to these and other questions about the guiding process, he soon uncovers a deep secret about Garron and the guides: they are from the future, working for the mysterious Determinant Industries in an attempt to fix the perils of the past. All is well with the program, but when a brooding figure from Garron’s time threatens to unravel the very events of history, it’s up to Nick and Garron to not only save their lives, but also the entire fate of the future.
I received this book from the author for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own.
“[Y]ou can’t make a better future without acknowledging where you came from, regardless of whether it was good or bad.” – The Guide.
The Guide is a really interesting concept that I can’t quite discuss fully and openly because I don’t want to include any spoilers in this review. But I’m going to do my best and be vague.
The Guide reminded me a lot of the movie Meet the Robinsons, which is a movie I actually really loved. Especially with the time traveling aspect and kid hero.
As far as characters go, I had to learn to like the main character and it took me a few chapters to accomplish that. This story is one that is driven more by character development than it is plot line, so it doesn’t surprise me that I didn’t like Nick immediately, however, I feel like I should have liked some of the background characters more than I did, so it feels a little empty. I generally enjoy character driven stories, but this one just didn’t resonate with me as much as I think it should have. Again, I don’t want to include any spoilers, so my apologies for being more vague than I usually am in my reviews.
What I will say though is that the plot was really intriguing and had some unexpected twists to it. There’s a lot of tension and emphasis on “knowing yourself”, which I think is a really powerful message and I was glad to walk away with something from the story just like our main character had.
The Guide is a little bit on the short side of a novel (only 209 pages) so it felt pretty fast paced, but I didn’t feel like any of the story itself was lacking or rushed. The main reason I don’t see myself being in love with this book is the characters. I just had a hard time finding consistency in their actions that matched their personalities, so it was hard to really bring them alive in my mind.
One thing that confuses me though is what the intended audience for this book is. With the main character being only 14 years old, and dealing with high school, upon reading the first few pages it struck me as being for a young teen audience, yet it reads (and looks like) an adult fiction story. There is a decent amount of cursing and the content contains some graphic bullying and fighting that I would consider high for what’s normal for this age group. So I really don’t know if I would class it as a young adult novel or an adult novel.
Overall, I think The Guide is a good book with an intriguing storyline and concept, but I just found it to be lacking a bit in the characters.