Pros: Great characters; interesting plot; quirky world
Cons: Slightly odd balance of quirky & dark
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
When the world was young, twins were born. One brought light to a dark world; the other, darkness and danger. They gathered others around them, men and women destined to use their powerful gifts for good or evil. Today, their descendants walk the earth as the Chosen, and the ultimate battle is about to begin.
Jacqueline Vargha doesn’t want her “gift”—she doesn’t want to be a seer like her mother, the famous and glamorous Zusane. She doesn’t have much choice, however, when her mother’s bodyguard, Caleb, tracks her down and carries her back to take her place as one of the current crop of Chosen. She’d rather be anywhere else, doing anything else, and particularly not near Caleb, but circumstances conspire to give her little choice. She also quickly finds that as the all-important seer of the Chosen, she’s a very tempting target to the Others that oppose them…
Christina Dodd’s Storm of Visions, the first book in her new The Chosen Ones series, definitely hooked me! It’s a little like an ensemble version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer as “Chosen One”—the idea being that throughout history, a series of groups of Chosen Ones have used their psychic gifts to battle an opposed group of Others in league with the Devil. Each group takes over from the group before it, although in this case the previous group usually retires rather than necessarily dying off. The Chosen Ones have also acquired a framework of helpers around them operating under the auspices of the Gypsy Travel Agency.
This particular group of Chosen is quite eclectic! In addition to Jaqueline, it includes a crystal-wearing girl named Charisma; a young man with no apparent power named Aleksandr Wilder (readers of Christina’s Darkness Chosen series will recognize his pedigree); a thief named Aaron; Samuel, a cranky lawyer; Isabelle Mason, of the Boston Masons, who has a history with Samuel; Tyler is a faith healer and mild psychic. They cover quite the range of ages, social backgrounds, and income levels, not to mention personalities, and it’s going to take quite a lot to bring them together as a team—something that very quickly becomes necessary if they’re to survive.
The thing that most impressed me about Storm of Visions was the relationship between Jaqueline and Zusane. Christina perfectly captured the ways in which children tend to devolve back into childish behavior and patterns around their parents. However, thanks to her showing us Jaqueline at her independent best before tossing her back into the company of her mother, I found I liked Jaqueline enough to be able to handle, understand, and see past Jaqueline’s childish behavior when confronted with her mother. It was the perfect way to show us those painful childhood patterns without making the heroine unlikable.
For his part, Caleb is a great romance/erotica hero. He loves Jaqueline madly, is strong and fierce, but definitely has his own quirks, flaws, hang-ups, and limits. In particular I loved his relationship with his mother (how often do you see a strong hero’s good relationship with his mother in a romance novel?!).
Storm of Visions is quirky, unusual, fun, tense, surprising, sexy, and wild!