Nightkeepers by Jessica Andersen
Publication Date: June 3rd 2008
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In the first century A.D., Mayan astronomers predicted the world would end on December 21, 2012. Modern scientists say dire solar flames and magnetic fluctuations will all occur on that exact day. In these final years before the End Times, demon creatures of the Mayan underworld—The Makols—have come to earth to trigger the apocalypse. But the Chajinal, descendants of the Mayan warrior-priests, have decided to fight back.
In Nightkeepers, a Makol uses a lost rite known as The Godkeeper to call a demon to earth. During the ritual, a sky god attempts to possess the demon’s human sacrifice, a narcotics detective named Leah Ann Daniels. The rite is unsuccessful, but gives Leah magical powers, and strands the god between planes. Warned by a cryptic message from an ally, King Jaguar Striker arrives just in time to save Leah…but is exiled when he breaks Chajinal law. Leah and Striker must bond together to defeat the embodied demon and gain support of the Chajinal army—all before the next solstice, when another demon will try to pass through.
Nightkeepers combines Mayan astronomy and lore with modern, sexy characters for a gripping read. Fans of paranormal romance and urban fantasy will not want to miss Jessica Andersen’s The Final Prophecy series!
Nightkeepers is book one in Jessica Andersen’s new paranormal series, Novels of the Final Prophecy, available June 3, 2008 from Signet.
I really, really like the premise behind this series. Unlike so many other paranormal series, this one is centered around the Mayan culture and their belief system. I loved reading about the various gods and goddesses, rituals, holidays, etc. A wonderfully refreshing change from the norm. The story revolves around the belief that, based on Mayan prophecy, the world will end in 2012.
24 years ago, King of the Nightkeepers, Scarred-Jaguar, led his warrior-magi in an attack on the barrier that separated the earth from the underworld. The king had seen the attack in a dream, and believed he’d be able to seal the barrier, effectively neutralizing the Doomsday Prophecy.
Unfortunately, it was a suicide mission, and he and 200 Nightkeepers were destroyed in the ensuing battle. Leaving behind his son Striking Jaguar and his daughter, Anna, along with their winikin (servant and protector) Jox, one other full blooded Nightkeeper and a handful of other young Nightkeepers along with their winikin. They separated and raised their Nightkeepers, praying they’d never need to be reunited, but preparing just in case. Now, four years before the 2012 deadline, the barrier is beginning to weaken, and Strike is forced to call his Nightkeepers together to prepare them to fight.
Miami Detective Leah Daniels is investigating Survive2012, the cult responsible for the murder of her brother. She’s kidnapped by their leader and he plans to offer her up as a human sacrifice. But before Leah’s untimely demise, Strike pops up out of nowhere to save her and it isn’t long before they realize they must join forces if they want a chance of surviving to 2012, not to mention beyond.
This is an action packed, fast paced novel. I was hooked from the beginning. The characters are well drawn and compelling. I found myself becoming emotionally invested in their various trials and tribulations almost right away.
Leah was a wonderful heroine, strong and independent. When she’s drawn into a world full of magic where the unexplainable happens, she handles the revelations extremely well. All of her reactions to the situations she found herself in were , actually believable. I truly enjoyed her character. I really enjoyed her no-nonsense approach to dealing with Strike. She just told him like it was, even when it wasn’t easy for her.
Strike was a complex character. His struggle to do the right thing, to accept his destiny when he wanted nothing more than to turn his back and walk away was very well done. I love that the author didn’t shy away from writing the anger in him over the situation he found himself thrust in.
The sexual tension and chemistry between he and Leah was perfectly done and totally hot. I couldn’t wait to see how their story progressed. The main conflict between them was interesting and not something that was easily resolved.
I found the secondary characters intriguing and can’t wait to read more about them. Not just the Nightkeepers, either, but their winikin and the humans they come into contact with. I can’t wait for the rest of the series so I can find out more about them.
I do think the story suffered somewhat for the world building, though. Because Ms. Andersen had to set up her world and introduce us to all the key players, the story jumped around quite a bit. I felt more was packed into it than was necessary.
It also seemed like certain elements were tossed in strictly as bait for the next novel, which annoys me. Mostly because it worked. I took the bait and now I’m hooked. I’m even more annoyed that I have to wait until January for the second installment.
If you’re looking for a fresh paranormal series, this is the novel for you.
4.5 out of 5