A disrupted magical prophecy pits fate against choice in O’Rourke’s debut.
Maura “Mo” Fitzgerald wakes up in a hospital room to face a handful of impossibilities—namely, that she has witnessed the murder of her best friend, Verity Grey, and that said murder was committed by evil, supernatural creatures. Rocked out of complacency, Mo discovers that Verity was not only living a double life as a powerful magic user called an Arc, but had been the prophesied key for preventing a magical disaster on par with a nuclear meltdown. Mo isn’t fated—or qualified—to save the world, but she finds herself falling into Verity’s role as well as the arms of a mysterious, handsome Arc whom she suspects of having been romantically involved with Verity. She struggles with grieving, her family’s shady ties and a protective bodyguard, all the while trying to figure out whom she can trust in a destiny not meant for her. The romance is on the less-developed side, but the male lead makes up for it in dark charisma. While some of the plot twists are predictable, and the shadowy consortium of villains is ill-defined, the novel shines when Mo deals with the implications and ramifications of her role as a substitute for the chosen heroine.The admirable ambition of this novel makes up for its uneven patches. (discussion questions) (Paranormal romance. 13 & up)