The Guardian’s Mark

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In the land of Zerah, the balance of the world is protected by six Guardians who each have power over one of the Elements - Earth, Air, Water, Fire, Life, and Death.  Kieran has been marked as the Guardian of Death, giving him the responsibility to guide souls to the afterlife once the body dies.  Everyone fears Kieran and his power except Amaya, Guardian of Water.  She only sees a lonely boy trying to cope with the pain his responsibility has brought.  Under her gentle coaxing, their friendship grows, and as they reach adulthood, blossoms into a forbidden longing for each other.  Guardians are oath-bound to remain celibate, and to violate that vow could disrupt the balance of the Elements and threaten the very fabric of the world.
The concept of the hero/heroine falling in love with the misunderstood outcast is not a new one.  Even so, Ms. Santiago has crafted a detailed world with characters that experience believable emotions.  Even the actions of the villain in the story are given reasonable motivation.  Another delight is the author’s wonderfully large and accurate vocabulary which makes use of words like “frieze” and “zephyr.”  The plot does end on a somewhat confusing note, but will perhaps be resolved in the next book of the series.  
Leslie Stokes