In this debut paranormal romance, a teen’s dreary life is turned upside down by the immense power growing inside her.
Abandoned by her mother, 6-year-old Catherine is being raised by her grandmother Margaret. Catherine, an eerie child, is plagued by nightmares and shadowy creatures, including a man she calls the “Darkest of Shadows.” Hoping the girl will receive spiritual guidance, Margaret enrolls her in Sunday school. But the church can’t help when Margaret collapses, leaving Catherine once more in the care of Kathy, her alcoholic mother. Ten years pass, and the two now share a squalid trailer-park home. Catherine copes by fantasizing about her future with Nathan, an older boy just out of high school and her only friend. What Catherine doesn’t realize is that Artros, a supernatural Master capable of wielding Darkness, has been watching her life unfold. He is waiting for her to lose all hope so he can own her body and soul. In the meantime, Artros lures Nathan to his side, teaching him about “colors”—and by extension, the world. The appearance of Jorgen, a rival Master, threatens Artros’ plans for Catherine and the entire town. Debut author Eveland writes with lyrical heft, making her tortured protagonist’s white-trash-hell feel right down the street. Catherine’s town is “a cult, stricken with disease...one which brainwashed and seduced outsiders with its country charm.” Occasionally, the gloom is dialed back, and Eveland offers jubilant symbolism; “An ancient oak tree,” for example, “stood defiant in the field surrounded by thorn bushes with frosted stars glistening on their stalks.” The dialogue is also impressive, as when young Catherine creepily informs Margaret about the shadow creatures: “You can’t see them….They’re crawling on you, Nana.” Too often, however, Eveland chooses the florid route when directness would work better. Artros confronts Jorgen with the line, “It’s tempting to relinquish you of that insolent tongue which cuts questions that are not yours to ask.” Nevertheless, events swirl toward a satisfying, tempestuous climax.
A melancholy romance with demons to purge.