A teenager with healing powers becomes the target of a particularly nasty—and deadly— vampire in this debut supernatural thriller, the first in a series.
Seventeen-year-old Sara Grey isn’t a typical New Hastings, Maine, high schooler. Her good friend, Remy, for one, is a troll. Unlike most people, Sara believes in the supernatural world, encountering beings collectively known as the People, from imps to goblins. The teen herself is special, too: she’s a healer, often aiding sick and dying creatures. She doesn’t know where she got her ability, nor its dark counterpart, what she calls the beast, a violent stirring in her mind that she constantly fights to keep from surfacing. Tormented by her father’s savage death at the fangs of vampires, Sara peruses message boards for bloodsucking activity, wanting to know whether the murder was more than random. She agrees to meet an online friend’s source, NightWatcher, at a club, where she instead has a run-in with vampire Eli. She gets help from Nikolas, a member of a warrior race called the Mohiri that hunts anything threatening humans. Nikolas also has answers, aware of at least part of Sara’s origins. Nikolas and Sara’s pals Roland and Peter try to prevent an obsessed Eli from finding the girl, but she may need to protect herself by unchaining the beast. The author packs an abundance of mythical creatures and twists into her fast-paced tale. Sara ultimately confronts werewolves, witches, and hyena-like crocottas; some are evil and others are surprising allies. It’s a wonderful assortment of beasts, even if readers already know most of them. Sara learns what she is before the story ends, revelations involving her estranged mother and a startling connection to both Mohiri and vampires. Lynch wisely mutes the romance, merely hinting at something between Sara and Nikolas, while the monstrous vampires are anything but amorous. The teen can be too contrary, more invested in a powwow with NightWatcher than her own safety. But she’s undoubtedly worthy, summed up best when she replies to a question of why she heals the People: “Why wouldn’t I heal them?”
Practically overflowing with supernatural beasts, this diverting story is more action tale than teen romance.