Guardians of Porthaven, written by Shane Arbuthnott

Guardians of Porthaven
written by Shane Arbuthnott
Orca Book Publishers, 2021
978-1-4598-2704-2 (pb) $14.95
978-1-4598-2706-6 (eBook) $9.99
for Grades 4 and up

Fiction | Super Powers | Alien Invasion | White Privilege | Corruption | Integrity

The moment Malcolm Gravenhurst has been preparing for since birth has finally arrived. On his fifteenth birthday, Malcolm reveals his powers to the public and takes on the mantle of Guardian. The Guardians are tasked with defending the city of Porthaven from the frequent attacks from the robotic alien klek, and the Gravenhurst family are the only ones with the superpowers necessary. But power has afforded the Gravenhursts more than just responsibility. When Malcolm meets some teens working hard to stay off the Guardians’ radar, he learns his family is hiding some very dark secrets. With the threat of an all-out invasion on the horizon, Malcolm must choose between family loyalty and doing the right thing.

Shane Arbuthnott’s work is realistic and immersive as he spins tropes and creates a world of scientific wonders and incredible powers. Following the main character in his journey of discovery and crisis, Arbuthnott explores the less glamorous side of having power and the corruption that ultimately follows.

This science fiction novel explores the themes of family loyalty and the influences of power, offering an important message on sacrifice and doing the right thing, even if it means going against the people you care about. Filled with marvels and impulsive decisions, this book is honest about the consequences of privilege and flips the expectation of the main character as the saviour. Anyone who’s faced the difficult decision of going against family, knows the struggle of a brand being the highest priority, or who’s come to realize they don’t have to face the world alone will relate to this story. Written for middle-grade readers, this book is a reminder never to give up the fight and that even heroes need help.

Sara Rigotti is a student at the University of Ottawa and a board member of the Writers’ Community of Durham Region.

Find more of our review series here.