Series: Final Prophecy
Author: Jessica Andersen
Read copy: eBook
Published: August 2, 2009
Publisher: Signet Eclipse
When prominent Mayanist Ambrose Ledbetter goes missing, his daughter Sasha tracks his remains down to an ancient temple. Before she can recover from the shock, she is kidnapped. Slick and charming recruit Michael Stone rescues Sasha from her imprisonment and feels an instant attraction. But he doesn't dare get involved, with the threat of his dark side growing stronger and the powers of sorcery on the rise. Both Michael and Sasha will discover a new passion together and one they have to admit to in order to change their worlds...
The general consensus is that this is the best book in the series (so far). And I heartily and readily agree. It will be tough to top this one, but I’m sure Ms. Andersen will try (and I hope she’ll succeed).
This story holds the gist of the entire series, the quest of the Nighkeepers – it’s about the ultimate battle between good and evil. And while the series concentrates on the "outside" battle, this story is all about the inner battle – the battle between good and bad inside Michael Stone.
I really got pulled into his story, this inner struggle of his, his attempts at redeeming himself fro whatever sins he’d committed and be a better man, a man deserving the woman whose photo is forever imbedded in his mind.
Michael was a dark man, and I’m not talking about his looks (though those were hot!). He had darkness in him, darkness that’d probably tainted his soul forever, darkness that called to him, lured him, enticed him, until he feared it would consume him forever. It was when Sasha came into his life, that he came to learn what true terror felt like. She was light to his darkness, and both halves of him (Michael and the Other) were attracted to that light. Michael, because he felt purified by it, the Other because it wanted to corrupt it. So, in order to keep her safe, Michael pushed Sasha away...And the woman actually let him. Of course, she didn’t know what drove him, because he never bothered to tell her (it’s all about communication, people!), but still, she let him push her away! Until it was almost too late.
It took a life-or-death situation in the jungle for Michael to realize he had to fully embrace the Other, sacrifice his soul (literally) to keep Sasha safe from the Xibalbans, who wanted to make her yet another sacrificial lamb. And by embracing the other side of his magic Michael finally brought the shit to the fan and, thanks to some magic meddling courtesy of Rabbit, he could finally tell his tale.
Though the glimpses of his dark side of the force were chilling, it wasn’t until he finally told the whole story that Sasha, the other Nightkeepers, the winikin, and the reader, learned the true extent of what he went through. In the six years prior to becoming a Nighkeeper, in the months following his talent ceremony, and since meeting Sasha in the flesh. He was constantly shrouded in blood, death, and sacrifice. And it was that sacrifice that redeemed him in the eyes of his teammates and his mate.
Okay, rant is over. I really appreciated the small lesson in psychology, though. Everyone of us has a good and bad side. Which you’ll choose depends on what type of person you are – Michael was one of the strongest, defying the predominant darkness to act on the side of good. But no matter what, you have to embrace both sides, the good and the evil. It took a while for Michael (and ultimately Sasha) to get it, but he needed both sides of his magic, both sides of his soul, to be whole, to be the man Sasha could (and would) love. And when he finally did get it, when he finally did embrace the killer and lover part of him, that he stopped being a threat, that his destroying magic finally complimented Sasha’s creator one.
The action and suspense were yet again beyond great, the story amazingly written, the characterization wonderful as always, and the various twists and turns keeping us at the edge of the seat. The constant cat-and-mouse game between Iago and the Nightkeepers, should’ve been old and boring by now, yet incredibly Ms. Andersen pulls it off, constantly throwing curve balls, keeping us guessing, keeping us frustrated with what and how might come next.
The ending was perfect, not mushy, not cheesy, just absolutely perfect, making Michael my favorite Nightkeeper of the bunch, Sasha his perfect match, and their story truly the best in this series so far.
Highly recommended read in this highly recommended series. A+