Wednesday, August 19, 2009

TBR Challenge 2009: Nightkeepers by Jessica Andersen

Published: June 2008 by Signet Eclipse

Number of Pages: 443

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Stand Alone/Series: Book 1 of The Final Prophecy

Why This Book: I find that whole end of the world scenarios fascinating. This endgame scenario has been a particular favorite since I heard/read about it as a teenager.

From the Author Site: According to the Mayan doomsday prophecy, time ends on December 21, 2012. In Nightkeepers, the last king of an ancient race of magi must team up with a sexy Miami-Dade narcotics detective in order to reunite his scattered warriors and fight the gods of the Mayan underworld. Wielding ancestral blood magic, the king must choose between his duty to avert the 2012 apocalypse and his love for the woman who is the gods' destined sacrifice.

Read excerpt here.

Hero: Striking Jaguar, aka Strike, is the last king of the Nightkeepers. A very reluctant king, since the prophecy foretells that the king will have his greatest sacrifice in the final five years of the countdown. For 24 years he thought there were only three Nightkeepers, including himself, and thus his throne and crown were a pretty empty honor and position. But the barrier fell and now he must lead Nightkeepers to victory or see the end of the world. Now he is faced with the unpalatable choice between following his heart and possibly dooming the world to annihilation or following the dictates of his kingship and the prophecy.

Heroine: Leah Daniels is after out for vengeance. Her younger brother was murdered by the Survivor2012 cult and Leah holds its leader, Zipacna, responsible. She'll do anything for the chance to kill Zipacna, which is very bad thing for a Miami-Dade police officer to want. When the very people she is hunting kidnap her, the man of her dreams rescues her. Literally. She'd been having hot, steamy dreams of a black-haired, blue-eyed man only to have him pop into existence near her as she lays on a sacrificial alter.

Other Notables:
Jox: The royal family's winikin (guardian and blood bound servant). For 24 years his has kept the secret of the other Nightkeepers from Strike and Red-Boar, hoping that this knowledge would never be needed. He and the other winikins hid the babies Nightkeepers that survived the Solstice to keep them safe and as a last defense against the demons. Now that the barrier has reactivated, he must make a king out of Strike and see the Nightkeepers' final charge fulfilled.

Red-Boar: The only adult Nightkeeper to have survived the Solstice massacre. He lost his beloved wife and twin sons. For a while after the massacre he disappeared into the jungle only to come out with a son. He is bitter and broken man.

Rabbit: Red-Boar's son. He has only known contempt from his father. He is a teenager who only wants to belong but is rejected at every turn. He means the best but his very biology, and unknown heritage (on his mother's side), works against him.

Review: Jessica Andersen has taken a doomsday prophecy and given it life. According to the Mayan end date calendar, the world is going to end on December 21, 2012 during the Great Conjunction, when the earth, sun and moon align at the exact center of our galaxy. During the Great Conjunction the barrier between the earth and underworld, Banol Kax, falls and demons are free to walk the earth. This occurs every 26,000 year. During the last Great Conjunction Atlantis was sunk before the demons could be pushed back and the barrier reactivates. The Atlantean survivors created the Nightkeepers, warrior mages, and charged them to protect mankind from annihilation when the barrier falls during the next Great Conjunction.

Strike's father destroyed the Nightkeepers in hopes of circumventing the doomsday prophecy. Only three Nightkeepers, Strike, his sister Anna and Read-Boar, survived. For 24 years it looks like the barrier had been sealed but during the summer solstice, just five years before the apocalypse, the barrier is once again active. The countdown is still on and only Strike and a few untrained Nightkeepers is all that stand between all the demons in the underworld and the earth. Time is running out and evil has the upper hand.

Okay so the REM song "Its the end of the world as we know it" keeps playing in my mind and it seem appropriate for this book. For Strike, Leah, Rabbit and all rest of the Nightkeepers, who had thought the Nightkeepers were a bedtime story, it’s true but they don't feel fine. Its more on the lines of "Its the end of the world as we know and you want me to do WHAT?"

This is a good start to what I hope will be a fascinating saga that will only get better as the end date approaches. Ms Andersen as outlined the world and its possibilities as well as its rules, in the form of prophecies, with an excellent amount of detail, which definitely delights my analytical mind. The test will be in keeping them all straight and building it towards its eventually climax of the final battle on December 21, 2012.

What I liked best: Rabbit. I like him. The underdog, under-appreciated, unwanted by his father and a completely screw-up. He's a disaster waiting to happen and what a disaster he makes. He's like a tornado, unstoppable and destroying everything in his path, even when he means the best.

What I least liked: Red-Boar's treatment of his only living son. Okay so he had issues with his son's mother, but did he really have to take it out on the kid. Its not like Rabbit chose to be born with a mixed heritage. And frankly his whole attitude basically sucks.

Keeper?: Yes

Recommendation: If you like doomsday prophecies this is the book for you. Ms Andersen has created a wonderfully rich world within the framework of some known archaeological and historical facts. She has taken a bit of archeology added a bit of magic and a prophecy of the end of the world and created a world of possibilities.

Grade: B+
Series Grade to Date: B+


Kristie (J) said...

I started this one and I think it was my mood but I couldn't get into it. Though I'm going to try it again as this end of the world prophecy is interesting isn't it?

Renee said...

Oh, I'm so glad you reviewed this one! It's on my tbr, and this is the first review I've read about it.

Thanks for the recommendation! :-)

Aymless said...

Kristie: I luurve this end the world scenario. Its fun. The setup is going well. I'm eager to see who she does it.

Renee: You're welcome. It's the end of the world so you better get started. You only about 2 1/2 years left. ^_~

orannia said...

I've read this :) I liked it - very heavy on the history and world-building, but I like that. And I'm with you Aymless - I love Rabbit! Personally, I don't think his heritage matters so much as how he was raised (or not) by his father. The question it too late? Oh, and the second book is somewhere on my TBR list :)

But I must confess, every time I read the name Zipacna I kept thinking of the Goa'uld from Stargate SG-1 :)

Aymless said...

LOL Me too on the whole Goa'uld thing.

Rabbit is very complex. You learn more about him as the series continues and his heritage plays a huge roll in what he will become.

Christine said...

I've got this on the TBR, too! Thanks for the review... and the reminder that I have it. LOL

Aymless said...

Christine: Whatcha waiting for?! The world's going to end in less that 2 1/2 years!!! *g*

Cherry said...

I haven't heard or read this book nor this author (yet). Am I slow or what? Anyway, sounds interesting, will have to look it up. Thanks for telling us about it Aym!

orannia said...

You learn more about him as the series continues and his heritage plays a huge roll in what he will become.

*trembles* I'm really worried Rabbit is going to be turned to the dark side *cue Empire music* The thing is, I believe you can be more than your genes...or your upbringing. I really, really need to read the second book...but I'm still worried!

Aymless said...

Cherry: If you like prophecy or end of the world scenarios I'm sure you will like this one as well.

Orannia: yes you can out run your genetics... to a point. As for Rabbit... well.... you will have to keep reading *evil grin*

orannia said...

...yes you can out run your genetics... to a point.

OK, Now I'm really worried!

No evil grinning allowed! *stamps foot*

Aymless said...

*giggles gleefully*


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