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Thursday, July 1, 2010

"The Daykeeper's Grimoire: Book 1 Prophecy of Days" by Christy Raedeke (Reviewed by Cindy Hannikman)

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Overview: Caity Mac Fireland is a normal teenage girl from San Francisco. Her parents happen to be a legal safe cracker and a code breaker for various companies around the globe. After her family has inherited an old Scottish castle, the whole family is up rooted and moves to Scotland to see what can be done with the castle.

On day while adventuring through the castle, Caity finds a mysterious hidden room that is off the side of her huge bedroom. The hallway behind the mystery door is filled with what appear to be ancient symbols left there centuries ago. With a family of code breakers finding out the meaning to the mysterious symbols should be easy. What the code ends up telling Caity will change her life and send her on an unexpected adventure.

Caity will soon be the center of a secret society war, the key to unlocking the suppression of the Mayan Calender, and the last hope for all of humanity for years to come. First, she has to avoid the assassins and harmful men from other secret societies while trying to unlock the mystery of the prophecy.

Format: The Daykeeper's Grimoire is the first book in the Prophecy of Days series. It is a YA novel, filled with mystery, world traveling, and a plot that is heavily related to the 2012 Mayan prophecy and other theories. It stands at 352 pages and was published by Flux on May 1, 2010.

Analysis: It seems as if secret societies and clubs are the new trend amongst novels now a days. Seeing as this novel used the Mayan 2012 "End of Days" prophecy as the central element to the plot, I was interested to see how it was developed and what would come out of it. What I was greeted with was a book that had an amazing plot theme but there was a few problems at the ending of the novel that left me with mixed feelings.

The main focus of the book revolves around the Mayan Calender and the fact that it appears to end at 2012. There are so many theories and underlying meanings to this widely debated theory. While it is so huge, Raedeke did a wonderful job of building a novel that has such a unique plot element. The use of the calender didn't seem forced or put there just to jump on the 2012 bandwagon. While I enjoyed the use of this in the novel, there were parts of the novel that seemed a bit technical. For example explaining how the calender keeps time, the symbols, and how to know what days would do what. While I appreciate all this being thrown into the book it almost seemed a bit out of place and sometimes it would really lose me as far as the explanation goes.

The pacing of the novel is fairly high paced. There isn't a lot of time spent dwelling on small details and for the most part everything seemed to flow smoothly from scene to scene. There is also plenty of suspense and mystery throughout the novel but these are not dragged out and prolonged in an effort to keep page count high. Instead, everything is revealed at a smooth pace for readers.

As for characters, all the characters are normal every day teenagers. Although Caity's family is filled with code breakers and safe crackers for a mother and father, she is a normal kid who has parents that worry and watch over her. She doesn't have anything widely outlandish and is a character that the majority of the teenage readers should be able to relate to, to some extent. Her side kicks include a monkey who communicates using origami, a handsome Scottish boy, a wise Chinese man and an old friend from back in San Francisco. Between the normality of the main character and the little bit off-beatness of her side kicks, this novel really develops characters that readers will connect with or enjoy.

Although for the most part the novel was enjoyable, it was the last half of the novel that left me with mixed feelings. The events that occurred in the last third of the book seemed to happen way to fast. Without containing too many spoilers, the final task that Caity must undertake just seemed to happen to fast and easy. Everything seemed way to easy for it to have happened in the real world. Everything up to that point was believable and I could really see it happening. The events in the last half left me with mixed feelings and not sure what to really think. I just couldn't picture it happening in my mind and it was so out there that at the end of the book I was left with mixed feelings. For readers that are able to suspend disbelief for a while this part of the novel will not have as much of an impact on you as it did for me.

Overall, I really think this novel has it's audience. It'll be a hit with the YA population especially since it brings into it some conspiracy theories and secret societies. Some adults and older YA readers will find the events in the last half of the book hard to believe and will ultimately cause them to not enjoy this book. I really think that Christy Raedeke has a great theme going here and with a bit of taming and toning down on some elements throughout the book, she will be able to truly let her talent show. Raedeke is a very talented author that I look forward to seeing her future works.


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