Friday, March 29, 2024

Guardian: Zhen Hun vol. 2 by Priest: review

4/5 stars on Goodreads

Guardian vol.2 by priest

Volume 2 of Guardian continues where the previous left off, after the events where Zhao Yunlan has learned the true identity of Shen Wei. It hasn’t lessened his interest in the other man, but Shen Wei keeps his guard up.

It’s the lunar New Year, and the time of year when the ghosts and humans alike have their merits tallied. Guo Changcheng, the intern at the Special Investigations Department, gets another learning experience when the group goes after a resentful spirit. He’s still timid and easily frightened, but we learn that he has abundance of merits, whereas Chu Shuzhi, the zombie investigator at SID doesn’t have enough to end his 300 years of service.

It’s also the time of year to visit the family. Zhao Yunlan brings Shen Wei to meet his parents, shocking them by coming out to them. He doesn’t let their opinions stop him—or Shen Wei’s reluctance either. He’s already bought them a house even, and is contemplating forcefully moving the other man there, only to stop at the last moment after learning the secret about their relationship Shen Wei has kept.

Shen Wei is still searching for the four hallowed artifacts that could release the great seal. This time, the Merit Brush makes an appearance and he and Zhao Yunlan both go after it, though Shen Wei tries to stop the other man. He knows that it will reveal the true identity of Zhao Yunlan to him. It puts a strain between the men, but it also brings their relationship to a turning point.

This wasn’t as action filled as the first volume. There’s only one investigation that is solved fairly easily. The rest is taken up by personal issues of the characters, and Zhao Yunlan investigating his true identity from the Chinese creation mythologies. The volume ends before we learn what he truly thinks of the revelations. The relationship between Zhao Yunlan and Shen Wei remains rather one-sided, and we don’t learn either, where it stands after their first night together (especially since it’s a bit of a shock to Zhao Yunlan.) I’m eager to find out.

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