The fourth book in the Elder Races series, published March 2012.
As a second daughter, Grace Andreas never had to worry about the intrigues of the Elder Races. But when her sister, Petra, and Petra’s husband are both killed, Grace inherits the Power and responsibilities of the Oracle of Louisville, as well as her sister's two young children - neither of which she is prepared for.
Yet, she is not alone. Khalil, Demonkind and Djinn Prince of House Marid – driven by his genuine caring for the children – has decided to make himself a part of the household both as their guardian and as an exasperating counterpoint to Grace's impudence towards the Elder Races.
But when an attempt is made on Grace’s life, she realizes that Khalil is the only one who can protect her – and offer her more than any mortal man…
I have to admit, I was not feeling very well when I started reading this book, which is why it did not grab me from the beginning. But when I finally felt a bit better, I could not put it down. I so much liked Grace, how strong she is, and how she copes with everything. And then there is Khalil, immortal, incredibly powerful, extremely handsome, and how he discovers all kinds of new things and most importantly, feelings. He was cold and distant, but he really did love the children, and was drawn to Grace.
Grace was a normal college girl, and an athlete. Then one night, a truck driver rammed their car, and her sister and brother in law were death instantly. Grace herself was hurt very much, and will never be able to run again. She has inherited the Power of the Oracle from her sister, and also her little niece and nephew, and a big rambling house she cannot possibly upkeep herself. She is still recovering from her wounds, but the bills are piling up, the children need her constant attention, and she is getting used to have the Power of the Oracle reside inside of her. Luckily, the local witches’ covens are helping out with babysitting, when someone needs to consult with the Oracle. And they help her with doing community service in her house.
And then, suddenly, there is this powerful Djinn in her life, who won’t be kicked out of it again. He likes being with the children, reading to her little niece. Children are so rare for the Elder races, he is fascinated with those little ones. Grace bargains with Khalil for their protection when the King of the Vampires comes to the house with some questions, not realising that Khalil has already offered her his protection and that did not mean only one night. But Khalil will not tell her that, he just takes her bargain. After all, that is what Djinn do, and what they are so good at. Collecting favours, making bargains, and honouring those. When a Djinn negates to fulfil a bargain, he is honourless, and will be outcast. Their whole society is based upon that honour.
When the babysitting witch finds out that Grace is friendly with a Djinn, her whole attitude changes. Somehow, have a Djinn friend, is not done. Grace is upset with the attitude, but she won’t stop seeing Khalil because of it. She is falling for him, big time.
Unfortunately, that one witch is not alone in her disapproval of Khalil and Grace. The next work day, there are less witches to help with all the chores than promised before. And only one of those is friendly towards Grace. Something is off here, but she cannot understand what it is. And when she finds out, they have even gone into the Oracle’s cave without her presence or knowledge, she likes it even less. But still, she has to be grateful for all the work they have done to the house and yard. At least the children can play outside safely again.
Okay, not going to spoil what is happening next. Read the book, and find out for yourself. It really was bad, and awful. Racism at its worst.
Grace is a great heroine. She copes with everything as well as she can. Taking care of the children and their needs first, trying to finish with her studies, doing the housework. But the bills keep piling up, and she really does not have the means to pay them. She has to go look for a job as well, but who will look after the children then? She is a very strong and capable person, and you can’t help but to admire her. When Khalil appears in her life, and he wants to spend time with the children, it does not even occur to her to use him to ease her own life. Instead, she shares what little she has with him, and is grateful that he spends time with them all. As long as he follows her rules that is. After all, how is he to know what is good for a little human child, and what is not.
Khalil has had human lovers before, but he is not all that fond of humans. They all want things, and are deceivers. But he is drawn first to the children, and then to Grace, and her Power. Somehow, she can sense him when he is not corporeal, something no one has done before. She can feel the little thread that binds him to the house, and she can yank on it, summoning him to her. At first he is very angry with her for doing that, but later he wants her to use it, so he can protect her. But Grace is not a very obedient person; she is stubborn and doesn’t want to become dependent on anyone. Only for the sake of the children will she bend a little.
Conclusion: this book has a great hero and heroine. And then there are two sweet little children as secondary characters, who can and will act as buffers when needed. A good storyline with some Elder Races politics thrown in and some suspense as well. In this book, we learn something about the Djinn, and I am fascinated with them. But the most important part I think, are the emotions. Grace who still has to deal with her grief of losing her sister and brother in law, and Khalil who is getting to know emotions he has never experienced before.
I would like to explore more of the Power of the Oracle, and the premonitions Grace gets.
I liked this book a lot. For the characters, the story, the plot, the mystery and of course for the premise for the next book. It promises to be something big. Universal big.