Arivaca: Guardians of the Light | Alexia's Books and Such Title:  Arivaca: Guardians of the Light
Author:  John Poulsen
Release Date:  December 13, 2014
Publisher:  Folded Corners
Source:  ebook provided from the publisher via NetGalley

Jesse Ballard’s life is filled with misfortune. His parents are dead, he’s been convicted of a crime, and a dark secret torments his soul. But when he’s incarcerated on a ranch for troubled teens he discovers his troubles have just begun. A Supreme Power has literally hijacked his life, bringing him to the ranch to make him the guardian of a powerful relic that was hidden away 2600 years ago when Solomon’s Temple was destroyed.

Given superhuman powers, Jesse is suddenly thrust into a strange and perilous world of supernal treasures, killers and demons – battling the dark forces who desperately seek the sacred artifact. Thinking he’s on a one man mission, Jesse is shocked to learn that Cedar Lane, a girl who seriously despises him, may have spiritual gifts essential for keeping the relic safe. Without her help, he’s in jeopardy of losing not just the relic, but his life.

As Jesse unravels this secretive and dangerous world he learns the ups and downs of young love, and both the reward and peril of following his divine call. (Goodreads)

My Review:

Even after reading the synopsis, I was still surprised that the sacred artifact that Jesse was destined to protect was a Christian relic. For some reason, even the mention of Solomon’s Temple didn’t clue me in. 
This made me hesitate to continue reading as I’ve bad luck with religious stories in the past. The author usually starts preaching at the reader and that’s a major turnoff for me. 
Fortunately, this story wasn’t preachy at all and the Christian artifact could easily have been Mayan or alien or anything really. Crisis averted! Phew!
As for the main character Jesse, he isn’t a bad guy but has had a tough life and some pretty bad breaks. Sentenced for a crime he didn’t commit, he winds up at the Arivaca Ranch for troubled teens. That’s where he finds out his destiny and meets the girl of his dreams.
And since the author introduced the Christian element, what happened to free will? Jesse and Cedar aren’t given a choice about protecting the relics, but are “chosen”. Shouldn’t they have the option of refusal? I don’t mean to be nit-picky, but this bothered me a little.

Not a bad story overall, but it seemed to be missing something. Can’t really put my finger on what the story was lacking, but it wasn’t a fulfilling read. Maybe it’s geared for a younger audience, but it was too slow a read for my tastes and I doubt I’ll be picking up the next book.

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