Reviewed by: Jannelle
Rating (out of 5): 4 stars
Note: While review will be spoiler free, it does make reference to previous books. If you haven’t started this series yet, check out VBC’s review of book 1, Pride Mates.
Wolf shifter Rae Lyall has been chosen by the goddess to be the latest addition to her team of guardians. The only “problem” there is that women aren’t chosen as guardians—ever. As part of a way to help her cope and train for her new role in the shifter world, Rae’s father Eoin sends her to Shifter Healer and bear shifter, Zander Moncrieff, in Alaska.
Aside from dealing with the traditional chauvinistic ideologies by the Elders in regards to female Guardians and learning how to defend herself and others through combat training, Rae is forced to deal with the stubborn and independent Zander, who is making her life more complicated than it already is.
What I loved the most about Guardian’s Mate was the connection between Rae and Zander. Jennifer Ashley took her time building the tension between these characters, with the chemistry ever-present from the start. Even when Rae was genuinely upset with Zander’s actions, there was always a consistent pull, bringing them together.
I was hesitant to read Guardian’s Mate as Zander was my favorite character/supporting character in previous installments of the Shifters Unbound series. This worried me because characters morph throughout a series (sometimes even within a single installment), at times sacrificing their unique personalities along the way. As Zander was my fave, I didn’t want to give up his sarcasm and lunacy (mostly because those personality quirks were the reasons behind my laugh out loud moments while reading).
While both Zander and Rae underwent some character development along their paths toward a, hopefully, happily ever after, both remained true to the personalities we have come to love them for. Zander remained sarcastic and seemingly out of his mind while Rae was ever-stubborn and compassionate. They make a great team.
The steady-to-fast-paced plot was also a big plus for me. While not every moment was non-stop action, the plot was consistently moving forward, bringing us to that happily-ever-after we all look for. Guardian’s Mate was also a fantastic addition to the Shifters Unbound series overall, tying together characters from other installments and giving us a sneak peek at what’s to come; jaw-dropping female guardian aside, the shifters’ history comes full circle in this installment and I cannot wait to catch the next Shifters Unbound novel.
Overall, Guardian’s Mate was a quick and easy read. If you haven’t picked up the previous eight books in this series, no worries! These books read great as standalones and Ashley does a phenomenal job at filling in the gaps, should a reference be necessary while reading.
If you’re looking for intricate world building and a gritty paranormal/urban fantasy romance novel, this isn’t that kind of series. It is, however, a novel that is full of action and a fast-paced plot—which I’m sure you already know I’m a big fan of.
If you’re a paranormal romance fan, don’t miss out on Guardian’s Mate.
Sexual content: graphic sex