If this novel were a holiday, it would undoubtedly be New Year’s Eve—full of the promise of fun and romance, but a whopping disappointment in the end.
The first book of a planned trilogy begins with 17-year-old Nikki Youngblood running for her life, a pack of hellhounds gnashing at her heels. Luckily, three half-human, half-angel hunks are looking on and rush to her rescue. Though it is unclear why Nikki is the target of such nefarious forces (an issue that is never satisfactorily resolved), the Halflings assume responsibility for her protection and attempt to uncover the truth about dark and mysterious happenings in her Missouri town. Unfortunately, the balance between questions raised and answers given is maddeningly uneven. The narrative is riddled with clichés and clunky descriptions (hair “dancing in waves as if orchestrating a dance,” for example) that weigh the storytelling down. Even a good, old-fashioned love triangle can’t save the story from itself. Bad boy Raven’s lust for Nikki is at least in character, but it is nearly impossible to comprehend how the virtuous Mace could fall so hard, so fast and with so little explanation, especially when it could damn him.
In the end, readers will be left scratching their heads wondering what actually happened and, worse, whether they even care. (Paranormal romance. 13 & up)