The Reluctant Sacrifice by Kerr-Ann Dempster
I don’t think I can rate this book enough, I absolutely loved it, so much so that it made number one in the my Top 5 Wednesday: Books of 2015. There’s a bit of a ‘Inca Mummy Princess’ feel to it. All through the story I kept thinking of the Buffy episode even though there where only a few similarities- a teenage girl used as a sacrifice to save her people… Actually thinking about it it’s more like ‘Prophecy Girl’ , I hope any Buffy who reads this book understands what I mean.
Anyway, the book is about a girl’s struggle to survive when it is prophesied she must be sacrificed to save her people. She must use her powers to hide among the muggle… in mean normal people, while all those she knew and loved hunt her down.
The leading protagonist – Aubrey – was brilliant. She was kind, and interesting but she had her flaws. There were times she was selfless but there are some questionable morals there as well with moments of selfishness that really worked for her character. Her magic was interesting. She could TBH the first thing that attracted me to her was take over people’s bodies which, while doesn’t happen a lot in other books isn’t unheard of. What made it distinct was how there were actual consequences for her jumping bodies. Every time it happened she would lose a piece of herself, a piece of her humanity. Her dynamics with the other characters was so believable, especially the boys and her best friend. Tbh though, what we really attracted me to her was her tattoos in the body she has for most of the story. I love tattoos despite not having any of my own, and she was covered in some really interesting ones.
The boys were fun to read as well. One I think was better developed but for some reason don’t like. The other I liked – loved… is my soulmate… my ideal in a partner, which ever you prefer – but I admit didn’t feel like he developed as the story went on for me.
Joshua was complicated, grew towards the end and I wouldn’t mind studying him – psychological speaking- more. Yes he’s part of a love triangle- square? – but it was well written. The dynamics between them all just worked.
Coy really is just the ideal man to me – loyal, hot, fights for what he wants and believes in, hot, cleaver, witty, sarcastic, hot. There aren’t enough words to describe him but that is kind of his down fall. It doesn’t feel like he evolved as the story went, he pretty much stayed the same. Also how he’s written makes his motives confusing. I kept thinking he was secretly in love with Aubrey (think Peeta in Hunger Games) and that was why he helped her at the beginning, I was wrong but that is how it was presented till he explained it. Saying that, I am glad that wasn’t his motive- trying so hard to avoid spoilers here.
One of the antagonists was just as interesting. I found her disturbing, the dog thing especially – read to find out- but I could empathise to an extent and understood her. Much like Aubery was just a confused teenage? girl, who had a lot riding on her and some messed up family dynamics.
There were a couple of things I didn’t like. The ending was a bit bleh. It was sweet in its own way, a bit predictable but I could live with it thanks to the rest of the book. Also one part of the plot towards the end I’m not sure was needed. It was sort of like a creation myth, or to do with the creation of Aubery’s people, the Aramithians. They are sort of a super race of humans but most have powers, and there are different classes of powers i.e. pyrokinetic, Jumpers like Aubery. Anyway, a part of plot towards the end leaned heavily on the two heads of the Aramithians’ creation. It was used to explain why Aubery was to be sacrificed but it created a tangent which was a bit distracting. Since it wasn’t to do with Aubery you also hear about events which would make an interesting story on its own, I don’t mind it exactly since it shows world development but it really makes me want to read that story.
It wasn’t till I started writing this that I realised some of the similarities with Harry Potter. There was a little description that was very Potteresque when i was reading it, but more came up as I was reviewing. There is a secret community of magical people/ beings that have their own hidden places to live. There’s a description of Aubrey walking down a street that reminded me so much of Diagon Alley, with people using magic left and right. There’s even a similar concept to Squibs, magical born but without powers. Even though I usually hate there being similarities between books I really enjoyed it here since I didn’t even notice till I was finished.
The story was well paced and got straight into the action, which I really appreciated. There were so many references to Supernatural that I couldn’t help but laugh even though I don’t really watch it. The whole thing was just a great story that I really loved reading and I now really want to read more from Kerr-Ann Dempster. I would recommend this to anyone who loves fantasy or paranormal fiction or Buffy fans.