When her home is attacked by murderous vampires, 17-year-old Alexa is forced to leave her mother for dead in order to save her sister. She soon learns that she is the last known member of an elite race of supernatural Warriors, and is thrust into a world full of vampires and werewolves who all seem to regard her as some sort of savior. Meanwhile, Alexa battles a monster within herself that seeks to gain control; a monster that seeks blood.
The hidden city she finds herself in appears perfect, but Alexa's instincts tell her all is not right within its walls. When she is asked to attend a school of fighters, whose exams consist of gladiator-style competitions, she must decide who she can trust among the smiling faces. And, when she meets Kayden, a vampire she feels undeniably drawn to, she must decide if she can trust herself.
Okay first of all, this thing is FREE on Amazon. Right there, there should be no reason to hesitate unless you're just not into this kind of story. But back to the review.
It starts off with Alexa showing mercy to a severely injured blackbird and putting it out of its misery before being visited by a mother who only came to cover up a black eye that she gave her with makeup. When she goes to school with her younger sister- whom she loves and is very protective over -we see that Nelly is very popular while Alexa is treated like a dangerous freak. Because of this, she only has one friend, Jackson, who gets the same treatment, and enjoys his constant flirting, though at the time she doesn't take them serious. The same day, a bully of A&J's physically confronts Nelly, which sends Alexa off into protective mode. His first swing at Alexa ends with him unconscious, and when they run home, her mother shows her a route that she insists she remember should anything happen to her.
The following day, their house is under attack by the Lamia, a race of all-female vampires with condemned souls who refused to move on after death. When Alexa's forced to abandon her mother in battle and take Nelly to shelter, she runs into Jackson, who turns out to be a werewolf. Emergency packs are at the end of the route she'd remembered from the night before, and a phone call eventually leads them to New Jersey, where a city of werewolves and vampires lie in hiding. They get there, only to come across a wall and a group of men in black, who go from offensive to astonishment when they see her tattoo that announces her as a Sun Warrior, and the last of her kind. The men are still wary of them, but it's Kayden, the tall handsome blonde with a Scottish accent- *sigh* -who gets them inside. They're taken into the city and inspected by the Council. They know Nelly is a Searcher (though she hides the fact that she is half Lamia) and Jackson is a werewolf, but when they get to Alexa, they are just as shocked.
The trio are accepted into the city, but when it comes to their schooling, they're separated by race. Alexa's particular race pushes her to try out for the school catering to the Brocken Vampires, soldiers to their race and a band of skillful fighters. However, her qualifying includes a fight in their Arena against one of its students, and its from this first fight of entertainment for the city that starts the questioning of Two Rivers.
I liked how it went from a seemingly non-fiction teen tale, to a fantasy rub-some-dirt-in-it sob story, to a boarding school meets new-hidden-world. Very intriguing. Alexa's mind, as it's told in her POV, was a mix of control and bloodlust. On one hand, she's just and factual, very protective and trusting of her younger sister, but when a fight comes to calling, her mind hazes over and a monster comes out to play, one who grins at the thought of seeing someone's essence pour out of them through their eyes. Considering that she's a junior in high school and almost eighteen, I thought she was pretty mature, though it isn't surprising, as her mother's been 'conditioning' her for times similar to this.
Two Rivers seems like a perfect place, but when she runs into the forest after losing control on her anger (again), she meets Soraya, Kayden's 'imperfect' niece. Turns out, there's a whole village of ugly and 'imperfect' people who have been reduced to blood donors after outliving their usefulness in the beautiful city. Alexa and Kayden have no idea who is behind this, but you can bet your ass that Alexa isn't going to stand for it. She even goes as far as to avoid the food that's drugging its citizens into ignoring small- but powerful -details about their strange living. Like the Brocken vamps: it's wrong to have to fight one another for money or other's entertainment, so why is no one else speaking up? Little hints have been dropped to Alexa, but it isn't until a helpful librarian is resumed dead by the replacement that she decides to believe that something fishy is really going on.
While trying to figure out who's pulling everyone's strings, a Lamia from outside the wall tells her that her mother's alive, not dead like Two Rivers' queen proclaimed, and held in Dangeon, a prison for their kind that even hard criminals refuse to go to if given the choice of death. This prompts Alexa to go after her mother, but in order to do so, she'll have to leave her friend and sister behind. It could be a dangerous mission that she might not survive, but will this decision be like all the others she's made so far and backfire?
This was a pretty good quick read. The only thing that bugged me was the way the romance went down. At first she has this huge crush on Kayden and eventually says to herself that she loves him, but won't or can't do anything because he doesn't seem to love her back. I thought that she fell in love with him pretty quickly, considering she's supposed to be someone who doesn't trust anyone, but I get that it has to do with the fact that they were made to balance out the other, like soulmates. But then, when they're forced to fight for the King of kings, and he fights without question, he loses her trust. Now, I totally get it, but he explains himself. If he'd hesitated or let her win, the King would've seen her as an even bigger threat and would've kept her under more surveillance. And yet despite his apology and reasons, she denounces him and twists her mother's words of "Not trusting anyone". Not cool, girl.
And before all that, she was unintentionally leading Jackson on. Because he's her only friend, she cherishes him a lot, but when he asks her out, and then asks her to be his girlfriend, she agrees, because in her mind, Kayden hasn't made a move on her, and it's all, "Well why not?" She agrees, and uses it to try to move on from Kayden, but when situations result in her abrupt leave, she tells him she loves him during her departure. I understand that she would love him, because I love my friends, too, but it's different from the way he's thinking, and I just don't think that it was handled right. I felt that after Kayden "betrayed" her, she confused her love for a dear boy with love-love, like the kind of feelings she gets when she's around Kayden.
I recommend this book because I thought it was pretty good, and there's no swearing or sex scenes. I figure, "Why not?"
Happy Reading :)