The countdown to the end of days has begun—and Only the Nightkeepers can stop the annihilation of all mankind...
Though a Nightkeeper, Nate Blackhawk refuses to allow others to control his fate. The gods have even tried to influence his love life, sending him visions of Alexis Gray, a sleek blonde who is everything he’s ever wanted in a woman.
The two warriors can’t deny their attraction. But a frightening vision leads Nate to distance himself in spite of the intense passion he feels. Thrown together once more, they must reassemble seven Mayan artifacts that hold the key to preventing the end of the world…
@ amazon.com (summary from the book's page)
Published: 01/06/2009; Signet
The Author: Jessica Andersen
The long story short: I looked forward to this book the whole time I was reading the first book, Nightkeepers, because I knew this book was centered on Nate Blackhawk - the rebel, the guy who takes nothing at face value, the one caught up in all this mythical, bigger-than-himself stuff, yet who balks it at every step, and Alexis, eager to believe in the almost-lost traditions, to advance herself in the Nightkeeper ranks, attracted to Nate but weary of being kept at arm's length. And the book did not disappoint. I'll go into the issues I had with it in the actual review, because there were some, but overall, this was a solid, enjoyable book!
Final Rating: 3 1/2 stars out of 5
The Nightkeepers are the modern-day descendants of the Maya, and although there should be hundreds of them ready, trained, and waiting to stop the foretold doomsday in 2012 (the group in this series believes a magical barrier will thin, and their task is to stop demons from pouring through), due to a past king mistakenly leading his group in an attack he believed would shut down the barrier forever and thus, the 2012 end date would not matter, there are only a little over a dozen.
Nate Blackhawk is the most suspicious of the Nightkeepers. Each of the Nightkeeper children who escaped was meant to have a winikin, or guardian who would act as a surrogate parent; Nate's winikin died leaving him alone, and shunted into the foster care system. Nate grew up tough and alone, and though he is willing to accept some of the Nightkeeper's beliefs and missions, he is utterly closed off to love, much less to the idea that the fates could be telling him he is meant for fellow Nightkeeper Alexis Gray. For the first half of the book, this emotionally stunted man does everything he can to push away Alexis, playing the part of a jerk so to speak, which only serves to hurt her again and again.
Alexis wants the power that her mother had, as an adviser to the king. She wants to believe that she can be more, a warrior, a lover, a magic user. She keenly feels the pressure she places upon herself to step up, and that more than anything, holds her back. Alexis keeps giving Nate chance after chance, and can't understand why she can't let him go.
The journeys these two make, both alone and together, are especially poignant. Both of them have a lot of growing up to do, when the novel starts out, and by the end, it's truly rewarding to see the people they have become. Both have their respective stumbling blocks, and it's real and meaningful to see them make progress in fits and starts, because this way the end results mean so much more than they might have. I think I would have liked to have seen a little more on Nate's own internal changes, because I feel like he came the longest way so to speak. I wanted to learn even more about his family, and more about Alexis's family, because in this series, history is so important.
While I loved their romance, I also love that it is not the entire theme of the novel. Finding one's partner is important in these books; however, the main mission is saving the world. We see the various Nightkeepers working together in this book, struggling to maintain a sense of teamwork as they do so. This group may be bound by magic, but they have not automatically become best friends. If anything, their internal conflicts make the story all the more interesting. We follow Rabbit, the Nightkeeper with wild magic, and we learn the source of his different powers, as we see him struggle to find his place. We learn a little more about the elusive Michael (whose story is told in the third book, that I plan to read soon.) We see the main characters from the first book, Strike (the reluctant King) and Leah, his mate. Lucius Hunt, Nightkeeper Anna's graduate student, comes back into play. We see Brandt and Patience, the only Nightkeepers who are traditionally married, and their attempts to juggle their marriage with the needs of the Nightkeepers. Everyone is involved in the quest.
Jessica Andersen has created a broad, believable world. These people strive to win the day, they fight for the good, and with each book, I find myself cheering for them a little more.