Upon turning eighteen, Hayden Holland, currently living in New York with a roommate named Del, is contacted by the family lawyer about the Promise, Colorado estate she is inheriting from her mother, who mysteriously vanished in its woods some ten years prior. Included in the legal paperwork she receives are some strange instructions to be carried out once she returns to the estate. Instinctively she sees the wisdom of keeping her father, with whom she has a very removed relationship, out of the loop as she plans a road trip back home with Del.
Her physicist father moved to New York with Hayden after her mother’s death when he lost his professorship because of controversial research into a legendary Norse-Germanic tribe of the Nibelungs, a race of warriors supposedly caught between the real world and an otherworld space. Continuing privately-funded research, he believes the Nibelungs will soon break into the real world in a search for a great treasure (or power), and that this breakthrough will occur in Promise. Hayden learns all this by snooping around the house and discovering his hidden office and also through weird exchanges with town inhabitants and her old friend, Shannon.
I could continue this recounting of the plot but that would destroy the fun of reading it. Suffice to say the book is chock-full of supernatural stuff, alien DNA, a ghost purgatory, mind-bending powers, and even some romance. Offensive language consists of “damn,” “hell,” and maybe one “shit.” There are really only two sexual references (one is a forest tryst between Del and her date that is accidentally observed by Hayden, and the description is brief and hardly graphic). Though there is physical violence (they ARE fighting otherworldly forces, after all), the weather and atmosphere actually prove to be the most violent forces in the book. The writer shows her chops in describing them so vividly.
This is a well-written, original-themed fantasy book that will be interesting even to those who (like me) don’t much like that genre. Get it for your library.
Categories: Books We Recommend, Bullying, Crime, Death and Grieving, Dysfunctional Relationships, Fantasy, Fashion, Home Schooling, Mental Health, Mysticism, Navigating through Middle School, Parent Conflict, Peer Relationships, Science, Science Fiction, Supernatural/Occult, Time travel, Violence, Wizarding and Magic