I. Don't. Fizzle.
The Final Prophecy, book one
ebook, 453 pages
Published June 3rd 2008 by Signet Eclipse
The end of time looms, and Mayan demons have surfaced from the underworld to trigger an apocalypse. But as the final day approaches, the descendants of ancient warrior-priests prepare to fight back...
As a Miami narcotics detective, Leah Daniels never knows how her day will turn out. But she certainly doesn't expect to be strapped to a stone altar as the human sacrifice in an ancient Mayan ritual meant to coax a demon from the underworld - or to be saved by a handsome warrior-priest king, who claims to recognize her from his visions.
Striking Jaguar thinks he is the last of the Nightkeeper warrior-priests, but as the end-time approaches, his mentor reveals there are twelve others. In reuniting them, Strike - king by birthright - gains the power to summon a Mayan god to combat the demons. But the woman of his visions is the gods' chosen sacrifice. Now he must decide between love and duty...or find another way to invoke otherworldly magic in a death-defying race against the end of time.
The kickoff to my 2015 Read The Series challenge... Where I plan to complete those series that I've already started as well as begin a few that have gone under the radar for far too long. Such as this, The Final Prophecy series, which began in 2008 and concluded in 2012.
Ah, dream sharing. Is there anything more romantic?
Complex, yet riveting, this story has a start that is all that and a bottle of Awesome sauce.
[ WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD ]
The prologue takes us twenty-four years into the past behind the scenes of a battle that decimated the Nightkeepers, their winikin, and took the lives of their king and his wife. Jox, a young winikin himself, manages to get the king's two children to safety and flash forward to the present, picking up in chapter one, we find Jox living what he can of his dream--to own a plant nursery with business partners, Red-Boar, a fellow Nightkeeper survivor, and thirty-three year old Strike, the Nightkeeper prince. Anna, Strike's sister, took off on her own years ago.
Since the battle's end, the powers Strike was born to claim are nonexistent. The portals are shut down. Earth's realm has been closed off from Heaven and demons alike. But they are mere years away from the prophesied 2012 Apocalypse and those serving the demons are active in their quest to bring it to fruition.
Enter Leah Ann Daniels, a Miami detective whose brother was recently sacrificed in the cult of the Survivor2012 following. As her meeting with an informant goes south fast, Leah finds herself the newest would be victim in the slew of human sacrifices in a scene that, while I have no experience with the subject, was the most believable I've ever read. Kudos to the author for her imagination and research into demon sacrifice.
The action. The suspense. The heartache of finding who could have been his mate, also a godkeeper, and losing her as human "collateral damage" as the magic awakens inside Strike and Red-Boar's son, Rabbit. Again, Oh My Damn.
He was a Nightkeeper.
And that was only part one of four!
PART TWO: APHELION
In part two, most of the protagonists from the upcoming sequels begin to invade the spotlight as the other Nightkeeper and winikin survivors come pouring out of the woodwork. These include: Alexis, a finance gal just coming out of a relationship with a million dollar guy who used her for her expertise and promptly turned around and cheated every chance he got. Her love interest for book two? Fellow survivor, Nate, who lost his winikin just weeks out of the battle and has grown up without any knowledge whatsoever of his true identity. Raised an orphan, Nate ended up in jail after getting himself involved in a gang. Presently he's running a video game company he founded himself wherein his leading heroine, Hera, has quite the resemblance to Alexis. To say the least, the guy is seriously questioning his sanity. Especially after his first meet and greet with Strike got him teleported to a roof and dangled off its edge.
Next, is Patience. And this is where I got thrown for a loop. Patience, whose winikin, aka godmother, is Lox's lost love Hannah, has managed a hidden life from her winikin ever since waking up one morning in bed with a man from a drunken stupor with fresh tats on each of their arms. She went on to marry the guy, whose name is Brandt, and gave birth to twin sons. The kicker? Brandt, too, is a Nightkeeper, and the two have been keeping their identities a secret from one another all along. They have the honor of starring in book five. Can't wait for that!
Cara, may the gods bless her, has grown up hearing the stories of the legendary Nightkeepers and their guardians. When the portal opens and her dear father confesses all of the stories are real, she is beside herself with excitement. Until the buzz is killed when she learns she isn't the magic wielding Nightkeeper of her fantasies--she's the winikin. The side-kick. And her Nightkeeper is her ass of a 'step-brother' Sven. And yeah, I don't like him much either. Their story comes in book seven.
Strike goes in and out of Leah's life for much of part two. Meeting again when he allows compulsion to drive him or when she nearly gets herself killed at a Survivor2012 gala event. By the end of the fist half, Strike is forced to choose whether to guide his people in their first portal jump, or save Leah from strangulation. At the gods' urging, and his father's dreamlike appearance, Strike chooses his woman. And catches hell from Red-Boar and Jox alike who'd rather he mate with one of his own people. Leah's memory blocks are lifted, and it looks like she's sticking around for a while.
PART THREE: THE VENUS CONJUNCTION
Part three brings Lucius into the spotlight, and my question on whether or not Strike's sister, Anna, was ever going to come climbing out from under her rock was finally answered. Lucius, currently working on his thesis revolving around the Mayans, including the sworn to protect and thwart the end of the world prophecy, Nightkeepers, is actually working under Anna, who's now married to a man named Dick. A marriage rumored to be failing. With an unrequited affection for Anna, Lucius is left with only dreams of being something more. To her, and to the world.
The remaining Nightkeepers begin to train, breaking off into teams of two, or less. Sven makes the decision to send Cara away since she has little college left and doesn't want to be there anyway. Michael and Jade hook up, then break up. Nate and Alexis grow closer. Meanwhile, Strike pulls away from everyone. He can't be with Leah, for numerous reasons including the most dire... he's destined to make a sacrifice. A sacrifice he believes will be killing the woman he loves.
An outsider among outsiders, Leah watches as the Nightkeepers fall away from one another and takes it upon herself to bring them together as one team. Thus, Skywatch is born, the new name of their home and a motto of their mission.
"If the next word out of your mouth is 'complicated,' you'd better be ready to race me to the bedroom for the MAC, because so help me, God, I'll shoot you."
PART FOUR: THE AUTUMNAL EQUINOX
In the final quarter of the book, Strike finally becomes the king of his people, accepting the royal scepter and forcing his place in the hierarchy. Red-Board, meanwhile, truly devout in the old ways doesn't accept him so easily and even pushes Leah to make the ultimate sacrifice and kill herself. When that doesn't work, he intends to do the job himself.
"You are my king." ... Four words that made one hell of a scene. And probably my favorite of the entire book. Although, spitting at the feet of your king isn't necessarily a sign of submission in my mind. Alas, it works.
As the final member of the group, Sascha Ledbetter, comes into the picture, all of the pieces of the happenings twenty-four years ago come as well. Turns out, Leah and her brother, Matty, were basically at the right place at the wrong time and the god of light and darkness chose them to be his shell on earth. Matt took the darkness. Leah, the light. Both were needed to bring the god to our realm. With Matty's death, the god became trapped. And so... to set the god free, and to save the skyroad, Leah needed to die.
Despite the "impossibilities" established by the entities possessing the knowledge the Nightkeepers, desperately needed, Strike and Leah, with their people, both fail and succeed in saving the world another day. Yes, a demon is released. But so is a god. Leah doesn't die and becomes a godkeeper, a queen, and a mate.
Absolutely amazing! And how awesome is it that we are there at the very beginning of every story to come, as each Nightkeeper and winikin join together, hook up, break up, jack in, get their glyphs, and just.... become.
4 out of 5 stars.
Book 2: Nate and Alexis
Three: Michael and Sascha
Four: Lucious and Jade
Five: Brandt and Patience
Six: Dez and Reese (bounty hunter)
Seven: Sven and Cara
Eight: Rabbit and Myrinne