One bullet is all it took to transform eighteen-year-old New Yorker Jordan Amador into the last hope for souls of the dead. However, it also transformed her into a cantankerous asocial waitress with a drinking problem.
Jordan accidentally shot and killed a Seer: a person who can communicate with ghosts, angels, and demons. Worse still, she did so on the eve of her own awakening, making her the last Seer on Earth with no one to guide her. As penance, God gives her two years to help one hundred souls with unfinished business cross over from Earth to the afterlife or she will go to Hell. Just as she approaches the deadline, Jordan finds her hundredth soul: a smart-mouthed poltergeist named Michael whose ability to physically touch things makes him distinct from her usual encounters with the dead. However, the deeper she delves solving his sudden death, the more she realizes something sinister is on the horizon.
With time running short, Jordan stumbles across a plot that may unravel the fragile balance among Heaven, Hell, and Earth. Her life is plunged into chaos as she is hunted by demons that want to use her valuable Seer blood to bring about the end of the world and discovers that these creatures have a frightening connection to her family bloodline. Plus, the budding romance between Jordan and Michael makes it harder for them to let go of each other so he can become part of the eternal black parade.
A voice spoke directly into my left ear. “Looking for someone, my dear?”
A cold shock went up my spine. I whirled around, fists raised, only to stand there stupefied by the sight before me. There stood a Japanese man in a black tuxedo and matching gloves, smiling at me. It was the man from my nightmare. I hadn’t even remembered it until I saw that pale face of his again.
“You…no, that’s not possible,” I whispered, my arms dropping to my sides like deadweight.
The man tilted his head at an angle. “Whatever do you mean, my pet?”
I shook my head. “You can’t be real. That was just a dream.”
“I assure you, Jordan. I am quite real. And like in the dream, I am in need of your assistance.”
“Why? You’re not dead, are you?” I glanced down. Polished dress shoes adorned his feet. The man chuckled, a sound that crawled up my spine like a feather being drawn along my skin. I shuddered.
“Not at all. I am here to offer you a choice.”
My throat went dry. Fear welled up from inside my chest where my heart thundered from the adrenaline.
“I know the deepest desires of your heart, Jordan,” the man said in his most soothing voice. “You long to be freed of this burden of trafficking souls. You want to live your life free of the Father’s bonds. I can help you take back your life.”
I slipped my hand into the pocket of my duster and gripped the rosary tightly. Everything finally clicked into place.
“Nice offer, but no thank you…demon.”
His eyes narrowed. Another wave of fear washed over me as he glared with those slit-shaped pupils that reminded me of some sort of reptile. I thought he was getting angry but he merely started to chuckle again.
“Well played, my dear. I am indeed under the employ of the Fallen One. Unfortunately, your refusal is unacceptable. I’m afraid I will have to remove you from this alley by force.”
He stepped towards me, still smiling like a serpent. “You may scream if you like.”
I took a deep breath and withdrew my hand from my pocket. “That won’t be necessary.”
I slammed my fist into his stomach with the cross lying across my knuckles. He hissed, pitching forward. Ignoring the pain crackling through my right hand, I kneed him in the chin and then brought the same fist across the side of his face. The force of the blow knocked the demon into the left wall of the alley, doubled over, nursing the wounds. He was still too close to the end of alleyway. As soon as I made a break for it, he’d be able to grab me.
A sudden sound caught my attention. I thought the demon had been coughing. He was…laughing. I took a cautionary step back as he pushed off from the wall. Blood trickled down his chin as a wistful sigh escaped his lips. “It’s been so long since I’ve felt pain in this body. It’s quite delicious, I must say.”
Don’t panic. Stay calm. I tightened my jaw and spoke with confidence I didn’t feel in the least. “Want the second course?”
The demon lowered his hands from his stomach, allowing his voice to take an almost regretful tone. “As much as I do, I cannot stall the ceremony any longer.”
The humor drained out of his face, leaving it clear with malicious intent. I slid my left hand into the other pocket, gripping the vials of holy water. As soon as he stepped forward, I threw two of them at him. He dodged to the right almost effortlessly. I brought my fist up again, but then he vanished. Too late, I felt his breath on the nape of my neck. A horrible, vise-like grip wrapped around my right arm. He twisted it behind my back and slammed me face-first into the brick wall. The vicious blow stunned me. Blood dripped down my forehead, hot and thick.
He ripped the rosary from my sore knuckles and tore off the duster. The demon held my arms behind my back with one hand, sliding the other around my throat and squeezing. I gagged, struggling with every muscle in my body, but to no avail. Tears overflowed down my face as the last gasps of air escaped my mouth.
“You could have made this so much easier on yourself,” the demon murmured against my ear. “Then again, that is what I like about you, dear Jordan. You’re a fighter.”
The world bled out of my eyes and darkness pooled in its place.
I read a lot. Something about being a writer and reading. This book has a lot of elements from other books, but somehow they all work. I really enjoyed the way that it was all put together.
You totally feel for Jordan- no one asks to have such a huge load dropped on them and the ultimate price will be paid if she can't pay up and get everything done. I felt like the reader got to see her grow along the way- which made it way easier to connect to the story. You can see how the writer was really trying to show how Jordan was different from those around her... there were moments when you kind of want to walk away from her because of the way she treats people around her.
I'm not a huge angels/demons/that kind of book reader- but I thought it was done in a good way. It was definitely an interesting read that opened a new world around me.
This is a great read for those that like urban fantasy, angels, seers that sort of stuff. It's a good read with a little bit of everything in it for everyone.
Kyoko M is an author, a fangirl, and an avid book reader.
Her debut novel, The Black Parade, made it through the first round of Amazon's 2013 Breakthrough Novel Contest. She participated and completed the 2011 National Novel Writing Month competition. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Lit degree from the University of Georgia, which gave her every valid excuse to devour book after book with a concentration in Greek mythology and Christian mythology.
When not working feverishly on a manuscript (or two), she can be found buried under her Dashboard on Tumblr, or chatting with fellow nerds on Twitter, or curled up with a good Harry Dresden novel on a warm central Florida night. Like any author, she wants nothing more than to contribute something great to the best profession in the world, no matter how small.