The Post title is from a talk Christina Dodd gave at the 2006 Romance Writer's of America (RWA) National Conference. I would recommend checking it out, it is very inspiratonal for all of us who want to be writers! But at some point in the 45 minutes speech, she gets to the point of this title - you go big, and run with it. Nuclear disaster? Sure! People who change into animals because of a pact with the Devil? Hell (ha ha) yeah! Do anything, do whatever - just commit to it - and follow it through.
I think that's a remarkably good way to look at writing. And she follows it through so well, too!
This last book I read, Storm of Visions, I got from my bestie, LG, for Xmas. We exchanged at Starbucks on one of those cold, slushy January days before I had to go back to school. I unwrapped it and just grinned - I love Christina Dodd, as I am sure you're all aware. And I was so eager to begin this new book - especially since it connects to the other contemporaries she writes - and have I mentioned (well, it bears reitterating) how much I love extended universes? I reall do.
Anyways, onto my review of the first book of the Chosen Ones series:
Here is the Synopsis from Christina Dodd's website:
Enter our new hero! Caleb. And he is fit enough to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with my favourite cursed former shapeshifters, the Wilders, and the other contemporary heroes!Jacqueline Vargha has always run from her gift. Now Caleb D'Angelo forces his way into her life, demands his place as her lover, and insists she take her place as one of the Chosen. She flees, he pursues, but she can no longer deny her visions, or the dangerous man who is her downfall — and her destiny.
The scene opens with the back story to this series, which I am reproducing below:
When the world was young, twins were born. One brought light to a dark world; the other, darkness and danger. Their powers could not be denied, and they gathered others around them, men and women destined to use their gifts for good or evil. Today, their descendents walk the earth as the Chosen… and the ultimate battle is about to begin.So we begin with this legend and abandoned babies - a theme also visited int he Darkness Chosen series. This is a short excerpt - the longer one at the beginning of Storm of Visions is really good - heartbreaking, even.
So, we have laid the ground work and all fans already see connections with the Darkness Chosen series, and then enters our heroine, Jacqueline - who is running and hiding in California. She is sassy and she is independent - she has a lot of secrets she likes hidden, and she has a lot of baggage she likes to ignore. Her mommy issues become apparent nearly immediately, as does her huge crush on her mom's bodyguard, Caleb.
Caleb seems, at first, a little bit like Jasha from Scent of Darkness - he knows she wants him, and he pressed it - almost to the point of taking advantage of it. At first reading, it makes me a tad uncomfortable - but when it works between the two characters, it works - and it definitely works between Jacqueline and Caleb - they start playing cat and mouse, move to fisticuffs, she stabs him with scissors, then they get onto business. And it is written with such passion, that you are instantly brought into the world, immediately drawn into the characters and their stories.
And then the action moves at break neck speed to NYC, and suddenly everything begins to get out of control. Like the first book in many series, this one wanes in and out of perspectives, establishing the world it exists in and the players in this world. Many a book have failed to do this and keep the attention of the reader - but Dodd does not need to worry about that with this installment of the Chosen Ones. She blazes ahead, never pulling her punches - she forges into the areas where there is no turning back, and she exlores them. And that is what makes it such a good book - and what makes her such a good author - she will not set you up and cater to what you want, she will give you what the story needs - what the story means.
Which makes her a good storyteller.
I liked Jacqueline's realization of her own feelings towards her mother, the dynamic of growing up with a famous and glamorous mother - and not knowing any of the history surrounding that. When it all comes down, it is so heart warming, that I was frowning, trying to control my face from pouting at the sadness in it. It was really well done!
Of course, as I alluded to before, the scenes with Caleb and Jaqueline are pure fire! It's amazing since it is in the simplest of things that you see this - like the look he gives her, the way she leans into him - it is all the visual things you see in your head while reading that make you think - "Yes, that's it, isn't it? Hawt.". They are compatible in a strange and wonderful way that works for the book.
The other Chosen Ones are interesting: I have a particular fascination with Charisma - she speaks to stones, and she is totally awesome. This book also brings back the golden boy - Aleksander! Yes, the little boy from the Darkness Chosen series - Firebird's son! Yes! I love character connections! And bringing back Alex, was genius! Especially since he is all about the one line quips and smart ass comments. Love him all grown up. Cannot wait to see what happens to him! :)
The ending for this one, I thought could have used a few more pages of Caleb and Jacqueline. But I did like the set up - even though I saw it coming.
Oh, I cannot wait for the second one now! :)