The named by Marianne Curley
Bloomsbury, 2010 (c2002). ISBN 9781408804483.
(Age 13+) Recommended. A re-issue of the first in Marianne Curley's The Guardians of Time series is a welcome addition to the fantasy genre. Ethan has seen his sister attacked by a monster and has trained as a Guardian, one of the Named who fight against the chaos that would occur if history was changed. At the same time he has to pretend that he is just an ordinary schoolboy. Then he is told that Isabel, the sister of Matt, his once best friend, is to be his apprentice and that he has only weeks to train her. Will he manage to teach her the skills necessary to survive when they go back in time to fix the mess that the Order of Chaos is trying to make?
Told in the first person by Ethan, I was drawn once again into the magical world of the Guardians and the everyday life of the main characters, Ethan and Isabel. Ethan's family is dysfunctional after the death of his sister, his mother falling into depression and his father unable to cope. The arrival of a new girl Rochelle creates rivalry between Ethan and Matt, and has destroyed their friendship. Matt certainly doesn't want Ethan anywhere near his sister. Meanwhile Ethan is desperate to win his wings in the world of the Guardians, but even his friend Arkarian, who has electric blue hair and violet coloured eyes, has a difficult time convincing the court that he is mature enough. Curley keeps the reader in suspense about the relationships between the teenagers, wondering about the notion of soul mates and whether the romances will flourish.
The action is gripping and the time travel to different historical periods adds an extra dimension to the story. There is a mysterious prophecy that foretells what is going to happen. I was challenged to try and work out who was mentioned in it and who was to die.
I enjoyed this compelling story when it first was published and found that it still has a timeless appeal. It would appeal to both boys and girls.