Night Keepers By Jessica Andersen (Final Prophecy #1)

From B&N.com:  The exciting debut of a new paranormal romance series

As a Miami narcotics detective, Leah Daniels never knows how her day will turn out. But she certainly never expected to be strapped to a stone altar, the human sacrifice in an ancient Mayan ritual meant to coax up a demon from the underworld. Or that she’d be saved by a handsome warrior-priest king who claims to recognize her from his visions…

Jaguar Strike wishes he hadn’t made the mistake of reuniting his fellow warrior priests, or broken the law by saving their chosen human sacrifice. Now, he has no choice but to join forces with Leah and invoke dangerous magic in a death-defying race against the end of time.

Kindlelicious Disclaimer: This book has a very complicated plot with about a millionty characters, so I will try to keep this short.

The Drama:    Leah Daniels is convinced that the leader of the a local cult that believes the end of the world will happen in 2012 (as predicted by the Mayans)  is responsible for the ritualistic killings of late, including the murder of her brother.  While investigating a lead, she is kidnapped by the cult and nearly sacrificed, until she is rescued by the man of her dreams (literally), Strike.  Strike is the last King of Night keepers, a race of beings with special powers that aim to prevent the end date from taking place.  Their last attempt 24 years ago ended with the brutal slaughter of most of his race by demons.  While rescuing Leah, Strike realizes the 2012 cult is responsible for allowing demons to possess humans.  The actions of the 2012 cult lead Strike and his keeper, the winikin Jox, to assemble any remaining Night keepers to fight the demons being released on Earth.  However, Strike continues to be distracted by Leah, who was meant to be a Godkeeper along with her brother, before he was murdered.  Now one of the few Gods that can fight the demons on Earth is trapped between planes and the only way to release it is to murder Leah.  Strike’s feelings for Leah won’t allow him to harm her, but he also knows if he doesn’t release the God and become the leader of the Night keepers, the world will indeed end in 2012. 

The Smut:  Night keepers is yet another example of a UF-PNR hybrid that is a dirty, dirty tease.  Strike and Leah go at it when they first meet! They don’t even know each other’s names! So awesome.  But then, Strike gets all “If we sleep together again I will like you more and then I won’t murder you” wah wah wah.  And Leah is all like “Whatever! We are around each other all day dumbass; we’ll like each other more anyway!!”  Leah is a smart girl, but unfortunately, Strike is stupid and we have to wait til near the end of the book to see any more serious action.  But the good news is that since Strike is all Mayan and stuff, he has big stone altars in his bedroom (cause that’s how all Mayan’s were, right?), and…well they get used.  The bad news is: I didn’t love Strike.  He was kinda whiny about being King and just not as bad-ass as I wanted him to be.  All of the other Night keepers were sort of unofficially coupled up though, so the series is set-up to feature the new Night keeper or Nightkeeper\Winikin couples in future books.  Really hoping we will get to see more of those stone altars!

The Ranty Rave:  The Night keepers reminded me of X-men.  I know, X-men are mutants and Night keepers are…magical (?), but I couldn’t help the comparison.  Reading the part where Strike is assembling the remaining Night keepers was like being in a movie montage or something.  All of these people from different backgrounds, thrust together to figure out what magical abilities they have and how they can unify to save the world…definite movie material.  Well…you would have to cut the number of characters in half so the audience’s heads wouldn’t explode, but it would still be great!  I really like the potential of this series, and I LOVED all the Mayan culture and mythology.  You can tell Jessica Andersen really did her homework in this area.  And though I felt like I was watching the History channel at some points, it never really got boring, just interesting.  Night keepers was really different than your usual vampy UF, don’t expect any of the standard supernatural beings.  (Except demons, but they aren’t hot Larissa Ione demons, so who cares?)  Like I said before, the central romance stalled several times, but I think introducing all the characters and history took up a lot of time and was pretty important for the series.   I expect the future books to do better in the romance department.  One last note, I can usually finish a book in a day, but this one took me a few days, mainly because I had to keep flipping back to the movie montage to keep track of everyone.  This didn’t really bother me though, if anything I felt more invested.

Rating: 8.5

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