Centuries ago, sibling rivalry tore Aramith apart. As punishment, the losers were stripped of their immortal birthright and banished to Earth. There, they wasted away from old age and diseases. However, there is hope…
If a Shaw child, born on the 12th day of the 12th month offers her soul in a public sacrifice, then the exiles will be forgiven and welcomed home to Aramith.
Aubrey Shaw is that child, but dying for the exiles is not on her to-do list. Using her gift as a Jumper, Aubrey leaps between bodies to escape relentless shape-shifting hunters. Only, shedding her skin is not enough. Not when Joshua, her best-friend-turned-hunter, is hell-bent on dragging her to the altar.
Will Aubrey’s love for Joshua change his mind?
Or, will she have to trust the scarred stranger who shows up out of the blue cloaked in lies and secrets? Doing so means giving up on Joshua. But betting on Joshua's love could do more than break her heart.
It could kill her.
Book: The Reluctant Sacrifice by Kerr-Ann Dempster
Publication Date: 8/7/2015
Published By: self pub
Source: Author, in exchange for an honest review
Many thanks to the author, who kindly provided a free copy of this wonderful novel in exchange for an honest review.
Aubrey Shaw was born into a race of exiles - Aramithians, who lost their immortality when war erupted between two of their leaders/creators. They were banished to Earth through a portal from their world, and have lived among humans ever since. As time goes by the descendants of Aramith are still born with supernatural abilities, but they are also cursed as a people, as mortal as humans. Until the prophecy offers them a way out. If the exiles are to regain their birthright and home Aubrey Shaw has to die, and die willingly.
This novel certainly starts off with a bang and doesn’t let you go. When we first meet Aubrey she is on the run with her mother, Rose, trying to escape her father’s hunters. Her father is the leader of the Aramith exiles, and will stop at nothing, not even the sacrifice of his own child, to restore his people back to their former glory. Aubrey and her mother have only survived so far thanks to their shared ability of Jumping. Jumpers can transfer their souls to another body, literally jumping from one body to another when they need to. People with this ability are despised among the exiles, because they view them as having a loophole out of the mortality curse. What they don’t realize is that while Jumpers could technically live forever jumping from body to body, there is a price for this ability. With every Jump, they lose a piece of themselves, their identities, their very souls. Most Jumpers eventually go insane.
Aubrey spent the better part of her life believing that she was a Dud, that she had been born with no supernatural gift. Her mother had disappeared years before, so imagine her surprise when Rose reappears to help her escape the prophecy. Aubrey’s world has gone mad. Her childhood sweetheart Joshua is now her bitter enemy, and leads the Hunters dogging her every step. Aubrey is very nearly captured as the book opens, but Rose sacrifices herself to give her the chance to get away. Another Hunter, a large scarred man named Coy also gives her a chance to get away. Although she knows she is leaving her mother to a painful death at the hands of her sister, Morgan, Aubrey has no choice - she jumps into another body and goes into hiding.
A quick word about Morgan: She is pyrokinetic, and ruthless. She’s daddy’s girl, in more ways than one. She has never forgiven Rose for leaving her father. There is no familial love left in her, and she doesn’t care what happens to Aubrey other than bringing her back to her dad so she can be sacrificed. If you have ever seen Avatar: The Last Airbender (the cartoon, not the godawful movie version), you will immediately picture Morgan as Azula. Hannibal Lecter should be afraid of this girl.
Over a year later, Aubrey thinks she has gained a semblance of a normal life. She’s going to school and trying to maintain the façade of a “normal” teenager, despite the itching feeling growing between her shoulder blades. Turns out her paranoia was justified, when Coy suddenly turns up at her job one random morning. He has come to warn her that Jason is on her trail and gaining ground quickly, but before she can GTFO, Jason captures her at her home. Coy appears shortly thereafter, and thanks to some political maneuvering and a touch of blackmail, manages to force Jason into a deal to give Aubrey some time before being hauled back to the exiles. You see, the whole trick to this prophecy is that she has to be a willing sacrifice, and Aubrey is far from willing. In fact, her plan is to escape the both of them at the very first opportunity, but Coy comes to her with a plan to fake out the sacrifice. Why, you might ask? That’s what Aubrey wants to know, why would Coy give up his chance to be immortal in order to save her? There is more going on in this story than meets the eye, and we the reader are treated to the intricate layers that the author weaves for us in this thrilling tale.
A highlight of the book for me was the relationship (or lack thereof) between Aubrey and Jason. We learn in flashbacks that they were once quite close, but no more. When she was named in the prophecy the love Jason held for Aubrey turned to ash. The fact that he is now with her sister Morgan just adds insult to injury. They are a bittersweet pair, and half the time I was wishing she would either kiss him or kill him. Coy is an enigma, and hands down the most mysterious character in this book. I was truly fond of him. I caught flashes of many different influences throughout this tale, including a scene reminiscent of Carrie that made me laugh out loud. The ending was a surprise to me, and it’s not terribly often that happens to me anymore. All in all, this was a wonderful tale from a talented author. I’m looking forward to seeing more!
Till next time
About the Author:
Kerr-Ann Dempster lives in Michigan where she is often found with her nose in a book, her toes in the sand/snow, and online fan-girling over fictional characters and fellow authors. She is a graduate of Loyola University, Chicago where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. After working in Visual Communications and as a Flight Attendant, Kerr-Ann decided that life was best spent being happy. With that in mind, she published her first novel, Beneath Scarlett Valley, in August 2014. She then published her second novel, The Reluctant Sacrifice, in August 2015.
To learn more about Kerr-Ann, connect with her on: Facebook (Kerr Ann), Instagram (author.kerr), Twitter (@annk3rr), or via her website. You may also find her in line at Moomers purchasing homemade ice cream.