Once you’ve been touched by darkness, it never leaves you…
Abandoned by her parents as an infant; seventeen year old Hannah spent her childhood wading through countless foster families until being adopted by the Whitmans three years ago. Unfortunately, Atlanta’s high society wasn’t quite ready for Hannah…or the strange events that plague her.
Chilling visions of murder, unexplained hallucinations, and a dark, mysterious guy who haunts her nightmares all culminate to set in motion a journey of self-discovery that will challenge everything she’s ever believed; not to mention her sanity.
Sent to live at The House of Lorelei on Bald Head Island, NC for ‘kids like her’, Hannah quickly realizes things are not what they seem. Her fellow ‘disturbed’ teens are actually the descendants of mythical Sea Gods and Goddesses. And so is she. But when Finn, the ghost from her dreams, appears in the flesh; her nightmares become reality and her dark visions begin coming true. Inexplicably drawn to him, she can’t deny the dangerous hold he has on her heart. The deadly secrets he harbors will ultimately test her courage and push the boundaries of her love.
She must decide if she is ready to embrace the ancient legend she is prophesized to be a part of. The fate of all the descendants will forever depend upon it.
Age Level: 12 – 18 | Grade Level: 6 – 12
My Thoughts: This was a delightful fantasy based on a bit of Greek mythology.
Hannah had a blackout at the worst possible moment – she was at a ball with her family. Her first blackout was terrifying. She woke up disoriented, talking nonsense, screaming she had to help the girl. Her family was mortified, of course. Her sister, Laura Beth, hated that she had disrupted the ball. Dee, Hannah’s adopted mother collected the family and left for home. The following morning she took her daughter to the doctor, who after just a couple of questions told her she needed to go to a special school for people ‘just like her’. The special school was on the island of Lorelei. So with little choice, she was packed off to this island.
We find there are indeed people just like her, yet not. Hannah had the opportunity to change her name when she came to the school. She had had a dream about a woman who was crying and calling for her daughter Anatasia. Hannah changed her name and enter the school to find herself with the best three roommates she could ever imagine. They were fun, always joking with each other, acted silly at times, and ate plenty of pizza and brownies. They were just like ordinary girls, but with special abilities they were learning how to control. The dialog between the girls is authentic and natural. (It was nice to experience that total freedom again)
All the students on the island had some ability connected to the ocean—the ability to move sand, still or breathe water, move the wind, cloak themselves. Some have greater abilities than others and more than one and each is to learn about these abilities before they become 18. They all had ‘traces’, a type of tattoo they were born with. It signifies which nereid she/he was affiliated to. No one seemed to know which god or goddess Anatasia belonged. Her mark was not known.
Anatasia thought she had died and gone to heaven. This was the perfect place for her to be. It seemed to call to her even though she had never been in it. She learned she was connected to the sea, a child of one of the fifty nereids. But which one? Now maybe she would learn who her mother and father were.
Finn, a handsome to-die-for student at the school, shows more than a casual interest in Anatasia. She is drawn to him, too, yet he scares her to death. The students call him Scion, a respected name she doesn’t understand what it means, but they are also very afraid of him. He has his own secrets, some of them very dark and when she looks into his eyes, they appear fathomless. He is very mature for his age, carrying the world on his shoulders. Anatasia can’t keep but think of him. Their romance is very sweet, while sincere. He helps her find what her abilities are and who she is.
I like how Anatasia grew as a person and I enjoyed discovering her abilities as she learned she had them. She absorbed her new world, washing away her past of fosters homes, abuse and fears she had lived before she was adopted at age 13. This ‘new’ girl was very brave and loyal and I find her an excellent role model for young women.
Once she left her wealthy, aristocratic adopted family, and people who judged her as the poor orphan girl, she was able to blossom, make friends, and learn her abilities were normal, just in a different world.
Kristen Day writes a riveting story, so realistic, you forget that it is a fantasy. The description of the island and the ocean with all its animals makes me feel I’m in Anatasia’s mind as she sees them for the first time and in the ocean when she dives deep to commune with the animals. This is only book 1 in the series, so I’m sure the rest of the series gets even more interesting as more information about this fantasy world is revealed.
This is a story of bravery when faced with the unknown, loyalty among friends, young love and growing yourself to accept responsibilities which fall in your path. I enjoyed it very much and intend to read the rest of the series. Even though this book is appropriate for young adults, ages 12-18, I think it is easily read and appreciated by older readers.
About the Author: I am a southern belle at heart with a crazy streak that desperately tries to escape at every opportunity. I love all things nostalgic, rustic, and quirky. I’ve been told I see the world through rose-colored glasses, but I prefer to think of them as kaleidoscope glasses – swirling and morphing reality into something I can digest (who hasn’t pretended those pasty lima beans were really kiwi strawberry jelly beans?).
When I’m not writing I’m making jewelry, painting, drinking sweet tea, watching the discovery channel, or going on random adventures in the mountains of North Carolina with my amazing husband.