(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)
Kala Hicks is part of a covert elite military team that answers directly to the President of the United States. But during an emergency mission aboard Air Force One, Kala is shocked to discover that the real threat is none other than the President himself. Defying her commanding officer, Jack Norbin, Kala takes the shot, and her life changes forever.
The moment the President is killed, a supernatural force speaks to Kala, telling her that she has to commit one act of atrocity every four days… or the world will end. Thrown into a reality she never could have imagined, Kala faces off with creatures of legend; from demons determined to make her fail and plunge the Earth into chaos, to angels who don’t trust her to do the job and are willing to kill her to claim it for themselves.
Pitted against the forces of good and evil, Kala must choose whether to save the world by doing the unthinkable, or sit back and let it burn. And four days later, she’ll have to do it again.
[Full disclosure: I received a free paperback copy in conjunction with the blog tour in exchange for an honest review.]
I’ll admit that with this one I was a little skeptical once I actually read the blurb. To be honest, it sounded a little dumb and I thought that I’d accidentally signed up to read a total lemon. Thankfully, that was far from the case. This one is a diamond in the rough, so to speak.
The real strength of Smith’s writing is the fact that she can pace things so well. I felt the tension ratchet up right from the beginning until it was at almost unbearable levels during the climax. There were twists and turns in the plot, with plenty of “didn’t see that coming moments”. I didn’t even see the end coming when Kala did something so unexpected that she shocked angels, demons and those in-betweeners that are desperate to keep up the balance of the world through an Atlas. Some are determined to stop her and others are still more determined that she should succeed, so in the end who will win? You just really don’t know.
Kala is a good character and she is quite memorable. Having grown up largely in foster care until her teen years, she understandably has some trust issues, particularly in her relationships. Her backstory is fascinating but just when you think you know everything about her, we learn something very interesting about her foster parents and who/what they really are. What I really liked was her determination in the beginning to find a way out of becoming the next Atlas. She doesn’t want to commit the atrocity that’s been assigned to her, but she doesn’t want literally billions of people to die. It’s a fascinating inner struggle, believe me.
I really appreciated Becca Smith’s world-building. She clearly knows a lot about Greek mythology (which you would expect) but she goes deeper into Christian theology in order to create some of her other creatures like the Grigori and Malaks. I would have liked a little more time devoted to the creation and working of magic, but then that would have slowed down the plot and thrown the pacing off. We still have good working knowledge of the whole different world Becca Smith created, but it’s more of a personal preference for me that I would have liked a little more.
All in all, this is actually a pretty good book and I’m glad that I went into it with an open mind, rather than judging it entirely on the blurb.
I give this book 5/5 stars.