Genre: urban fantasy / dystopian fantasy
Cover: My book has the smaller cover, which I prefer.
In a novel filled with lush imagery and exhilarating action, Faith Hunter creates a near-future world caught in the throes of an ambiguous apocalypse-where a woman with everything to hide finds her true destiny revealed.
As humanity struggles with religious strife and seraphs and demons fight a never-ending battle, a new species has arisen. "Neomages" are human in appearance, but able to twist left-over creation energy to their will. A threat to both humans and seraphs, they are confined in luxurious Enclaves.
Thorn St. Croix is no ordinary neomage. Nearly driven insane by her powers, she is smuggled out of an Enclave and now lives among humans, channeling her gift of stone-magery into jewelry making. But when Thaddeus Bartholomew, a dangerously attractive policeman, tells her that her ex-husband has been kidnapped, Thorn risks revealing her identity to find him. And for Thorn, the punishment for revelation is death.
As many of you know, I am not a fan of dystopian novels, but this series is written by Faith Hunter, and so I had to try. I had only time and energy to read a few pages at a time, and I am sure my understanding of the story suffered from that. But I still enjoyed discovering this new world. The apocalypse has come, the Seraphs has come and punished humanity for its wickedness. First came the plagues, and not many people survived. And now a new Ice Age seems to be covering the world with Ice. And then there are the creatures of Darkness, preying on humans as well. The Seraphs have withdrawn in their own world again, only rarely acknowledging a call for help any more. The known neomages are locked up in their own Enclaves, they were the first Unforseen, as they are not mentioned in the bible or in any other religion. Heavily guarded, and only in certain circumstances are they allowed to leave the Enclave and work their magic on humanity’s behalve. For a very nice salary though. They are also allowed to sell their magical craft items and amulets. Still, they are feared by the normal humans. All the different religions in the world have had to make peace as well, the Seraphs now allowing anyone to abuse the High Lord or Host’s name in battle.
Thorn St. Croix is a neomage living in hiding outside the Enclave though. When she came into her powers, she almost went mad with all the voices of the other neomages inside her head. As a stone mage, she has a special affinity for stones and gems, and with the help of her Enclave Elder, she managed to escape, and is now living somewhere in the North, in Mineral City. Together with some good friends, they make a nice living from their jewelry store. One of her friends is gay, something heavily frowned upon in this new society, and also the brother of her ex-husband.
And now something has attacked her ex-husband, and he is missing. It is all over the tv, and for her stepdaughter’s sake, Thorn is willing to do whatever she can to find him. But she is afraid she is too late, that Darkness has gotten its claws into him. Especially when she finds out that her stepdaughter, Ciana, has been talking to a daywalker. A daywalker who wants to meet with Thorn.
She is also a suspect in her ex-husband’s disappearance, as ex-wifes, scorned women, make excellent suspects. But as she has an iron clad alibi, and there are more disgruntled ex-wifes and girlfriends in her philandering husbands life, she does not have to worry. Other than the handsome detective finding out she is a neo-mage ... And as he himself is a Kylen, something he does not seem to know, she is in even more danger of going into mage-heat with him, and jump his bones! A Kylen is a descendent of a Seraph and a human, and usually raised by the Seraphs themselves.
Thanks to some cases of raw amethyst Lucas had shipped to them, Thorn can use her magic to find him, but it also brings her to the attention of a Minor Power (demons) and the Seraphs, if not for her Enclave Elder to shield her, and get her out of her trance.
A very intriguing tale, and with some doubt that the Seraphs that have annihilated humanity are really the Angels from the Bible, especially as God himself has not shown himself to the people that worship him. Life goes on, filled with more religion and strict rules to live by. The communities don’t want to wrath of the Seraphs on their city.
I really liked discovering all this new and intriguing lore, and how Thorn fitted into it. A neo mage, who is much more powerful than she thought. Having escaped being attacked by demons as a young child, she has no intention of becoming their snack ever again. But to free Lucas, her ex-husband, she will have to search for him in the depths of the earth, where Darkness rules. And when she is in mortal danger, will the Seraphs come to her aid, or will they kill her as a runaway mage?
It is very hard to tell everything about this story, that would take several pages. And it is much more fun for you as the reader to discover this all yourself. I think you might enjoy it Sullivan, even though it has no zombies, it has a sort of apocalypse. It is a very well thought out world, a fight between good and evil. There might be a love interest here, and there might be more than one, the next book will tell me I hope.
Thorn is a very intriguing character, I enjoyed reading about her rituals to charge herself and her amulets, to find Lucas, and all the other stuff she had to do. Her friends are very nice to read about as well, and have discovered her secret a while ago. And kept it, which makes them true friends. And they manage to surprise her as well, as one of them is much more than what he seems to be.
A really good story, well told and a world I want to know more about. I will certainly read the second book soon, so I am happy I already have them all on my shelves.
© 2014 Reviews by Aurian