Friday, December 25, 2009

Jessica Anderson is a first time read for me and I liked it

I was at the library the other day and amongst my Laurell K. Hamiltons, Nora Roberts and Susan Elizabeth Phillips a new author caught my attention, Jessica Anderson.  She has started a series of paranormal novels based on the next doomsday prophecy of 2012.
According to the ancient Mayans Dec 2012 is the last day of their calendar and it will be the end of the world as we know it.  An alternative prediction is a new world consciousness will come to pass, kind of like the Age of Aquarius. A movie came out last month with the title 2012 so it has become a hot topic. 
Ms. Anderson's first book "The Nightkeepers" came out in June of 2008 before the movie hype which makes her a trendsetter in my book..haha get it?  my book...I make myself laugh.
Anyway, I found "The Nightkeepers and The DawnKeepers" at the same time which I took as the book reading god's signal to read them since I wouldn't have to back track or wait 2 years for the next installment.  Thank you book reading god for the guidance. 
The Nightkeepers are warrior descendants of the Ancient Mayans.  They are the protectors of the world from the demons who would destroy humanity and the world as a whole.  The story begins 30 years ago with a prologue which tells of an attempt by the Jaguar King along with the rest of the Nightkeepers, to permanently seal the barrier between our world and the underworld. By doing so it would prevent them from accessing the higher powers of their Gods but would keep the destruction of the demons from entering this plain.  The attempt failed killing all but a hand full of babies and their caretakers, called winikins.  These survivors scattered across the North American continent.  Flash forward 30 years later and the story picks up in 2008 at the spring equinox.  It is during this time when the barrier between the dimensions is its thinnest and the son of the Jaguar King comes into his power.  Strike, yes that is his name, is the heir apparent and with his inheritence comes the responsibility of protecting the world from the end times.  (Note:  I am not totally crazy about Ms. Anderson's naming convention. It was the one thing in the book that felt too contrived.)
The story moves quickly pulling in all the players to Mexico next to the ancestral home of the Mayans.  Enter Leah.  She is not a Mayan let alone a Nightkeeper but she is evidently the pre-ordained mate for Strike.  She will be integral to helping Strike and the Nightkeepers keep the world safe in 4 years. 
As in any great adventure there are great villains sooo...representing the demons is Zipacna.  He is the human embodiment of the evil demon Makol and he needs Leah to complete his demonic mission. While he seems like a charismatic and ingenious villain he is somehow too sloppy and even a little dumb to be the ultimate bad guy.
This book is complex.  A good 1/3 of the book is busy setting up the characters and the back story.  It got a bit confusing at one point but just as I was about to give up the story started to pickup.  The group of Nightkeepers come together and they fight to defend the world begins.  I wish I could be more specific but then I would spoil the story.
I will tell you Ms. Anderson draws very real characters.  I liked that Strike resented the responsibility foisted on him because of his birth.  I like that Red Boar, one of the only adult surviving Nightkeepers is a dark character and while on the side of good is not himself a very good person.  I loved that while sex was part and parcel of the magic ritual it wasn't the only part and there was more bloody sacrifice going on then group sex rituals.  I liked that I wasn't sure how the bloody thing was going to end until it did and I LOVED the fact that I immediately picked up the next book to see what happened next!

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