In this first novel by a father-and-daughter team, a Native American girl must accept her special gifts in order to fight an evil that threatens the human race.
One of the paradoxes of the teenage years is that just when kids are encouraged to be individuals, all they really want to do is fit in with the rest of the crowd. That’s the problem faced by Native American teenager Juliet Wildfire Stone. She gets little help from her largely absent, workaholic single mother, or her mystical grandfather, Sicheii, who communicates better with the wind than with his granddaughter. Things become infinitely more complicated when a series of murders appear to lead back to Sicheii. He soon tells her that she’s a being called the Chosen, who must save the human race from a terrible fate. As a result, a reluctant Juliet must jettison the idea of normalcy and accept her destiny before dark forces can triumph. This is an enjoyable read for all ages that goes by as fast as the authors can unspool it, without needless subplot detours. The teenage characters’ realism stands out, quite possibly because of the younger Altabef’s input. Juliet and her friends talk as real-life teens would (“Want to cut today? It’s too sunny to go to school”), and readers never get the sense that an author is forcing the teens’ words and actions. The character of Sicheii, meanwhile, often references wind and sky spirits and talks in riddles, but his mysticism is critical to the story, so readers will forgive his oddities. The story is also shot through with wry humor; for example, Juliet got her middle name because a wildfire was in the news when she was born, and she’s grateful that it wasn’t a garbage strike, instead. Although the book does rely upon the hoary plot device of a “chosen one,” the writing’s freshness overcomes the clichéd plot. It shouldn’t stop readers from trimming their sails and letting the story blow them away.
Sharp writing and realistic characters triumph over a timeworn theme.