A teenage outcast’s new friends help her discover her supernatural abilities and shocking origin in Craven’s debut YA urban fantasy.
Most people stay away from 15-year-old Allie Carmichael, as they have an apparent aversion to her touch, which renders her nearly friendless. Her parents’ jobs keep the family moving from place to place, but Allie feels that their latest move to Cleveland might not be so bad when she meets Aidan McBrien. He’s not the least bit intimidated by her, and their mutual attraction is instantaneous. It’s odd, though, that, like Allie, Aidan and all of his pals are adopted. Allie, who’s accustomed to being a pariah, suddenly has friends, including Aidan’s older sister Sasha, and later, a new boyfriend, Vince. When a fireworks accident turns into a raging fire, Allie, Aidan, and their friend Kayla miraculously survive. Aidan’s family feels that they have no choice but to explain some things to Allie on her 16th birthday. It turns out that it’s the time of her Awakening, a painful rite of passage for Immortals during which she begins to exhibit other extraordinary, supernatural abilities. Many in her circle of friends have endured their own Awakenings. Before she can fully register this information, she’s undergoing weapons and martial arts training and honing other skills, such as clairvoyance. She’s reluctant to fight anyone, but she may soon have to battle the members of the Coalition, which is run by mortals but armed with Immortal allies. The bulk of the novel follows Allie as her mentors train her, and she can see their memories; one trainer, Emma, for example, may have witnessed the Coalition’s genesis back in 16th-century Paris. Allie’s concurrent high school life, however, is unfortunately dropped from the plot. Her romance with mere mortal Vince generates searing melodrama between the couple and Aidan, who wants more than Allie’s friendship. The narrative defines various powers more clearly as it goes along: Aidan has healing capabilities, for example, and Allie can, among other things, absorb solar energy. The best power, however, is one that Allie and Aidan share, which later proves to be a hilarious distraction when Allie goes on a date. The buildup regarding the oft-discussed Coalition has a superb payoff when the baddies finally make an appearance, resulting in a bloody, intense confrontation. The story leaves plenty unresolved, of course, paving the way for sequels.
An unhurried but engrossing start for a potentially riveting paranormal series.