Shock of Fate*
Girl’s World Not What She Thinks
This book puts you right in the middle of the action immediately, which is always a great way to start a book! Michael Cross, part of an elite group, is out with a rookie doing a little demon hunting. Things go south rather quickly as the newbie puts herself in danger while she believes she is actually protecting an innocent. After this scene with Michael Cross, the book focuses on his fifteen-year-old daughter, Van. She’s celebrating with her friends after the placement ceremony, and after some issues with her boyfriend, she heads home. However, all is not as it should be there. She sneaks around the perimeter of the house and overhears that her father is missing and is believed to have killed some sort of prince. She slips into a ground floor room, her father’s study, and finds a few strange objects, which she takes with her. Most fascinating, perhaps, is a partially charred and singed book full of mysterious writing. The next day, she finds out that she will be going on a special mission for the group that her father works for during her summer break.
Where exactly is this mission? What has happened to her father? Has he really killed someone?
This book was surprising to me in a few ways. I was able to really get into that first scene with the father, the rookie, and the tragedy that followed. So I was surprised that the book took a completely different turn to focus on his teenage daughter, Van. The world of this book is very complex, and the details of it are slowly revealed—both to us as the reader and to Van. The world in which she grew up is so much more than she realized. And she and her father are caught in the maelstrom of what could be a catastrophe for everyone if she doesn’t live up to her destiny. So much was hidden from her growing up. What will it all mean for Van and her future?
Because I read a fair amount of paranormal, regular fantasy, and urban fantasy, I read more than my fair share of YA novels. Often in these books, the teenagers are actually quite mature, more like mini adults. But in this book, Van, Paley, and even Brux are definitely teenagers who don’t yet have the full control of their executive prefrontal cortices. In fact, sometimes the decisions made by the two girls made me just want to give them a firm shake, and say, “Girl, what are you thinking?” they get themselves into so much danger, sometimes unwittingly and sometimes by choice.
Still, the characters in this book, including these teenagers, are well-drawn and multi-dimensional. So much is going on here, both what we can see and what is hinted at under the surface. With great world-building, solid characterization, and a well-paced plot, I found this book to be a compelling read.