Book Review 3:2012
YA Horror Simon Pulse
Hook: She was back at the Golden Gate Bridge.
The book starts with Chloe remembering the fight on the bridge, except this time things are different. Alexander Smith—the Rogue—appears and Brian and Alyec fall off the bridge, Brian wanting to know who she chooses. She wakes up covered in sweat and trembling. She wasn’t home. She was at a place Alyec had taken her to after the fight. He doesn’t know she still has cell phone and she places a call to Amy and tells her, she’s fine, and one to her mom to tell her she’s at Keira’s.
Soon after, she’s introduced to Sergei, leader of this group of Mai. Her disappearance has been explained away as her being witness to a dangerous crime and put into protective custody. He explains to her who she is—a daughter of the Kings of the Hunt. Goddesses were their ancestors. He says they had Alyec watching her for some time because she seemed “different.” He tells her that humans and Mai cannot be together physically—their toxic to one another. She understands now why Brian didn’t kiss her like Alyec. Xavier probably didn’t die from just her kiss, he explains.
Paul and Amy are still searching the bridge—almost a day has passed and there’s been no sign of Chloe. Paul thinks he saw a body fall from the bridge but doesn’t tell Amy. Amy thinks it has to do with Alyec and that he’s gotten her into something bad. Paul thinks it has to do with her fall of the Coit Tower and Brian. Amy confronts Alyec and tells him she was there on the bridge and saw what happened. He denies everything.
Meanwhile Chloe meets Kim, a girl who has reverted to catlike ways of the Mai. She keeps claws out and has big, cat ears. Kim tells her the history of the Mai. There are four Prides in the New World—but one was lost. She said she had a sister when she came in, wonders if it is Chloe. Sergei runs a real estate office where most of the Mai work as it is difficult for them to be in the real world. Brian sits in on an emergency meeting of the Order. He tries to defend Chloe but they won’t listen. He calls Chloe and tells her he never killed anyone. He tells her he did want to kiss her. Alyec interrupts. He looks hurt when he discovers Brian called.
Kim explains to Chloe that there are 2 cat gods. Two forms of the same goddess. Bastet is maternal: love, the home, the physical, emotional and spiritual growth. Sekhmet is the goddess of their soldiers, the kezekh, and she defends her young fiercely. Like a mother protects her cubs. She tells her about the curse 5000 years ago in which a Mai girl and a human boy fell in love. The girl was murdered by the boy’s family and friends and in retaliation, the Mai slaughtered all humans in a twenty-mile radius. The Mai were cursed by the gods never to return to their homelands until the wrong had been righted.
Chloe tries to sneak back home but is attacked by the Order. Two Mai rescue her. They speak of Sergei not losing any of his lives, assuming he has more than one. They shush as they worry if she’s conscious. She dreams of ancient Egypt. Sergei is there when she wakes. She agrees to wait and reunite with her mom. Kim warns her not to speak of her dreams. She tells her leaders of the Pride give their lives for their people, up to nine times if necessary. She says no Mai has done this in this generation.
Amy and Paul discover Chloe’s mom is missing.
Chloe overhears Sergei tell his guards that someone needs removed, she presents too many liabilities. He claims he’s talking about a female member of the order but she realizes liability is used for someone on the home teams. Brian and Chloe meet up. He tells her he loves her. She goes to see Amy and Paul and tells them everything. They tell her about her mother. She rushes home to find her mom gone. Anna King comes to, tied to a chair. The Order says Chloe’s fallen in with the wrong crowd and Anna needs protected. Chloe goes to Sergei but he tells her he won’t risk his soldiers on a human.
Chloe, Kim, and Alyec go back to her home to search for clues to where her mother is. Kim finds that there were two human males and one woman there that took her. She also discovers that two male Mai came afterwards. She explains that sometimes the human family members are killed to keep the young Mai loyal to the pack. She tells her the Order of the Tenth Blade gets its name from the nine blades it takes to kill the One. The tenth is for the Tenth Blader if he fails.
Brian calls Chloe with the news the Order has her mother. She hangs up and makes a call to his father. She wants to do an exchange. Her for the mother.
Although I found this book a little slower-paced due to all the background on the Mai and the Order of the Tenth Blade, I still would give it four stars. The characters are likeable, enjoyable, and the mystery keeps you on your toes trying to discover everyone’s next move. I did find a few pov switches and places where a character couldn’t possibly know the information presented, but overall, I found it a good read. The climax was thrilling and the story wrapped up with a cliffhanger to lead into the third and final book of this series, The Chosen.