Author's Website: http://jeanienefrost.com/
Notes: I received an eARC from the publisher.
Ivy always knew she was different. From early on she saw things no one else did. While some kids had imaginary friends, she saw imaginary places. Places she wished she herself didn't see--a world superimposed onto our own, but darker, rotting, and with a more sinister feel to it. After numerous tests and examinations, a diagnosis was made and a prescription was written, but nothing ever truly stopped the hallucinations. Ivy just learned to deal with it by keeping her mouth shut, and what she saw to herself. Shortly after her parent's deaths, however, just days after her sister's mysterious disappearance, she learns what she sees is real--very real-- and her sister is caught in the middle of it. Now the only chance she has a rescuing her sister is to find an ancient holy weapon and to trust a man who keeps information to a minimum and who is destined to betray her.
This was a fun book that kind of reminded me a bit of Melissa Mar's book, Graveminder, (think demon realms) a dash of Romeo and Juliet (think star crossed lovers) and a touch of the Indiana Jones (think quests for holy objects). Ivy is the last in a long line dating back to King David. Because she is the last, she has been gifted with special powers she has yet to become aware of. She's smart, resourceful, and hesitant about who she gives her trust to. Given that the man who is fated to betray her makes her want to hit him one second and kiss him the next only complicates an already complicated situation as she needs to lend him her trust. Learning that the places she's been seeing for years are real is both frightening and disturbing and yet a relief.
Unlike Ivy, Adrian has known of his own fate and lineage from early on. He's been groomed to meet his destiny by the ones who have the most to gain when he fulfills it. Meeting Ivy throws him for a loop as he doesn't realize who she is at first. He knows more than he's willing to admit to her, and I found this very frustrating at times, which I'm sure is what Ms. Frost intended to have happen. It makes the reader sympathize with what the main character is experiencing, thereby, making it easier to identify with her.
I have to admit, at first I thought the weapon that Adrian and Ivy are searching for was, well, kind of substandard and underwhelming. But as the book progressed and I got used to the idea, I realized it had great potential. An image somewhat reminiscent of the biblical story associated with the weapon came to mind and the sheer humility a demon who would suffer at a death by such an object made me giggle. Yes, I'm being vague about what the object is so as not to spoil it for you. The thing is, what I expected and how the weapon was actually used differed a great deal and, well, I'm not sure what I think of it. I guess I would have liked a little explanation as to why it worked the way it did and differed so much from the biblical account. Something as simple as a statement that religious objects gain power over the years would have sufficed.
Overall, I gave this one 3 1/2 out of 5 roses. I have some unanswered questions, but the majority were answered. I liked the story and I'm curious as to where Ms. Frost intends to take the story line. Mixing religion with fiction can be a bit tricky, and I found it interesting that neither of the two main characters appear to be religious even though they deal directly with supernatural beings. Will this series be like Nalini Singh's Guild Hunter series, and countless others, which tend to redefine define angels, demons, and sometimes god? Will it perhaps be more like Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files where some characters have strong religious beliefs while others don't? It could make for an interesting contrast. So far it appears to be staying true to form, for the most part, where supernaturals and religious entities are concerned. Whether that will continue to be true, well, only time, and of course Ms. Frost, will tell. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one get a BLUSH rating--at the beginning stages of romance where something is just starting to be stirred. There just weren't a lot of romantic scenes.