Thursday, December 15, 2011

Mortal Obligation by Nichole Chase

Title: Mortal Obligation
Series: The Dark Betrayer
Author: Nichole Chase
Length: 4866 kindle units
Rating: 3.5 stars

The Plot

Ree is having an ordinary evening out with her friends. Dinner and a concert. An average outing for a 17-year-old girl. Until she is attacked by a stranger who knows her name and manages to defend herself by shooting green energy from her hands. After which her friends spontaneously grow fangs. So… not such an ordinary night out after all. And that’s just the beginning.

Ree is about to learn that she is the last in a long series of girls who have been given gifts from the gods in order to battle the Dark Ones. And that five of her friends have been selected to be her immortal guardians. Now they must train as quickly as they can because the final battle is drawing closer, and the stakes are higher and more personal than Ree could have ever guessed.

The Good

A story about a girl and her friends who have been chosen to save the world from vampires can’t help but make us think of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but that’s okay because we like Buffy. The story has enough that is unique about it to keep a reader’s interest – the newfound immortality of her friend-guardians, the gifts stemming from visiting deities, the heroine’s ability to shoot magical laser beams from her fingers. All in all, Mortal Obligation is an interesting story with a unique enough premise to keep a reader entertained.

I think that the role of the gods in the story could prove to be particularly interesting. I like that, instead of drawing from a particular pantheon, the gods come from different world mythologies. We only meet one god in Mortal Obligation, but I am curious to see whether any of the others play a direct role in subsequent books and, if so, how the different cultures interact with each other.

The Bad

Much as I enjoyed this book, the essentialist in me is getting stuck on this one point: This is a story about vampires from outer space.

Yes, you read that correctly.


From outer space.

I know. It’s a tough one to get past.

 Fortunately, you get through the origin story fairly quickly and can sort of pretend it’s not there. After all, the only thing you really need to remember is that the guys we are fighting are really, really, no-redeeming-characteristics bad. The extraterrestrial is just an added benefit.

Or something.

Also, if you’re thinking that Ree and her five friends sounds like a lot of characters to focus on, you are right. And that’s not even getting into her mentor, her vampire boyfriend-in-a-past-life, and her dead brother. There were a lot of people, and the things that distinguished them were neither numerous nor clear. (Plus, all the boys had absurd names like Paden and Weylin.) Fortunately, it didn’t matter all that much to the plot if you couldn’t remember whether it was Juliette or Melanie who was dating Bryce.

The Romance

Mortal Obligation has a not-too-uncommon set-up of our heroine Ree being in love with her (dead) older brother’s best friend Paden. She worries that he thinks of her only as a sister, but his true feelings are, of course, more complicated than that. Because otherwise the story would be boring.

Ree’s other romance option is a tad more complicated. Roland is an extremely good looking vampire who is fighting on the side of humanity (why this is the case is a plot point that may prove to make the next novels in the series quite compelling). He is particularly interested in Ree because he believes that she may be the reincarnation of his long-ago fiancĂ©e, who had also been chosen to defend humanity against vampires. So if Paden wants to win the girl, he should probably get his act together, because doomed-and-brooding-love-from-a-previous-life is hard to compete with.

Will I read more?

I am currently thinking that I would like to read more in the story. I would like to know if Ree and her friends are able to save the world from space-faring vampires. And I am always interested to see how a love triangle plays out. But at the same time, I’m also not going to be too upset if I miss the publication date by a few months.


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