by Amaris Chapman
Maggie is a teenager with a secret. The strangest part of her life isn’t that she works in a graveyard—it’s the fact that her best friend is an Angel named Dina. They have lived thousands of years together, but as a mortal, Maggie must die, leaving Dina to find her in each new life and start again.
Someone has been setting fires, and the town is ablaze—literally. Someone or something is fueling the flames, and one of the suspects is the devilishly handsome Justin. With the memories of past lives coming back to her and Justin vying for her attention, Maggie may get more than she bargained for.
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I felt as weightless as if I were made of light. I gasped and felt us drifting, and then the cool salty smell of ocean air washed over me. I looked down. We were sitting on the rail of a lighthouse overlooking the small dots of light, which marked a town nestled in the hills. Then I looked up and gasped. Stretched out above us was a vast expanse of glowing sky, each star as bright as a lamp sweeping across a great black expanse. My mouth fell open as I gazed in wonder at the universe stretching out above me. How was this possible? The sky felt unlimited.
“Where are we?” I asked still gripping her hand and holding on to the rail as tightly as I could with the other my face turned up to the pale moon above us.
“We used to live here. This is the tower you were talking about.”
I looked back at the twinkling lights, which ran from the water’s edge and up what looked to be, in the dark, a hill surrounded by mountain terrain.
“This is the town from the fire painting you are making.” I could make out the main street, which snaked through the hills. The line of lights at the bottom must mark the dock and jetty, which had doubled in size from the time that Dina remembered it in her painting.
“But this is in another country. We came here, my family and I, when I was little. It took us a day to get here by plane.” I looked at her in awe. Knowing she was an angel was one thing; I had even seen the ghostly shape of her wings. But to be at home one minute then, as fast as I could think it, be in another country almost sitting in a sky that seemed to just envelope us was unbelievable.
“I’m light, remember?” she said, her strong voice hushed by the wind that raced up from the waves. “I travel as light and air.”
“But I’m not, how did…no, I don’t care. This is incredible.” My voice trailed off as I took in the true magic of where I was. No lights obscured the sky, and the stars stretched out in a blanket of white light above us. Dina closed my mouth with a finger under my chin. I laughed but didn’t take my eyes from the sky. In all my life I had never seen anything so beautiful. My blocked head and fever forgotten, I sat surrounded by the sounds of the ocean and air crashing together. It was as I shivered that I remembered I was ill.
“I’ll be back in a moment,” Dina said.
Before I could ask what she was doing she had launched herself from the railing. I rocked forwards to catch her in a reflex and almost fell from the narrow rail. As I watched, the light shape of her body rose, the ghostly outline of her wings bright in the night sky. Her light darted to the town so fast she looked like nothing more than a reflection in the lighthouse’s turning lamp. I watched until the town’s lights swallowed hers then gazed out over the sea.
From my seat, I could hardly make out the white of the waves breaking on the rocks at the base of the small island the lighthouse stood on.
A wave of fear swelled in my chest as I looked down. My blood left my face and rushed to my heart. I took a deep breath to calm myself, telling my body that it was being silly and that Dina wouldn’t have brought me here if I could have fallen. My body rebelled; my pulse quickened, and I could feel my heart pounding in my chest. I fought to keep breathing, taking deep breaths to try to calm myself. I knew I should just look up or close my eyes, but I was too scared that if I looked away it might somehow make me fall. My hands tightened on the rail, the cold metal biting into my palms. In my head I called out to Dina to hurry up and get back. I couldn’t bring myself to look up and see where she was. My body was rigid, even the cool wind that had been soothing just moments before now threatened to knock me from my perch. My thoughts scrambled, as I imagined myself falling and smashing like porcelain on the rocks. I could see my body lying broken below, the waves knocking me off into the sea.
Prevailing Life is a fairly short read–it’s only 130 pages–but oh, my goodness, there’s a whole lot going on in there. We’ve got supernatural creatures galore: angels, Death, and several others that aren’t precisely defined (and one that is, but I don’t want to spoil anything here). The idea of having a soul mate whom one can meet up with over and over again through the ages is explored. There were definitely some interesting ideas here, and I’m especially intrigued to see where the character of Justin will go. I don’t believe I’ve seen his like in paranormal fiction yet.
However, have to say that much in this book could have benefited from a longer format. A lot gets thrown at Maggie in a very short time–and at the readers as well–and the bombardment of plot twists and information is hard to keep up with at times. Maggie definitely fares better under the onslaught than this reader did–at times it seemed she caught on and accepted things much more quickly than I would have thought possible, leaving me feeling rather left behind.
The author’s website promises two more books in the series, which is good, because this one ends very abruptly, leaving readers hanging at that final “the end”. All of our questions are definitely not answered, so although no real clues are offered as to what books two and three are about, we can hope that we’ll find answers there–eventually.
In a nutshell: Promising series, but I need more to make a final decision. Hopefully books two and three will satisfy. C rating.
About the author:
Amaris lives in Canberra, Australia. She has written young adult fiction since a young age in order to give her characters a voice and ensure her stories end with a bang.
Currently working as a librarian, she enjoys reading fiction about strong heroines with kickass attitudes who don’t lay down and surrender in the face of a fight.
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