Rae of Hope (The Chronicles of Kerrigan)

Rae of HopeBy W.J. May

Publisher: Mitchell-Morris Publishing
Publication Date: September 5, 2011
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Source: Author

How hard do you have to shake a family tree to find out the truth of the past?

Fifteen-year-old Rae Kerrigan has never questioned her family’s history. That is until she accepted a scholarship to Guilder Boarding School in England. Guilder is a very unique, gifted school. Rae has no idea what she is getting herself into or that her family’s past is going to come back and taunt her. She learns she is part of an unparalleled group of individuals who become marked with a unique tattoo (tatù) on their sixteenth birthday. The tatù enables them to have supernatural powers particular to the shape of their marking. Both her parents were marked though Rae never knew, as they passed away when she was young and never told her. Learning about her family’s past, her evil father and sacrificial mother, Rae needs to decide if there is a ray of hope for her own life.

Goodreads Summary

I was already a pretty weird kid because I always had my face buried in a book but I also had this overwhelming fantasy that I’d get shipped off to boarding school. It may have been a product of living in a town small enough that most people there knew when I started wearing a bra or just because I had two snothead younger brothers, but I still wanted to be dramatically forced (ha) to attend some drafty, distant school full of stuck-up girls in uniforms with starchy teachers. So I really love books about boarding schools – see, I got there eventually – and the blurb for this really intrigued me with the characters and their strange powers and Rae and her mysterious past.

This got off to a slightly bumpy start with a little info dump in the first handful of pages and a few too many characters and their backgrounds introduced a little rapidly for my taste, but after that, it was a smooth path into the good stuff in the story. Rae’s been sent to Scotland to Guilder School by her uncle without any explanation. It’s only when she gets there and her insanely chatty roommate spills the beans that she finds out it’s a school for paranormally gifted kids, both before and when they come into their power. Rae’s dead parents were something forbidden – a pairing of two people that both had powers and Rae is the only known offspring of such a union.

No one at the school seems to want her there aside from a couple of teachers and some students. I liked Rae’s circle of friends, especially her roommate and best friend Molly and a few of the boys who hung out together. Her intended love interest is the gorgeous, popular and by-the-books Devon who takes her under his wing almost immediately. I have to say, I didn’t like him as much as I think I was supposed to. I understood his reasoning for keeping his distance from Rae but he still seemed a little cold to me. His friends Julian, Riley and Andy always made sure to include her in things outside of class.

I enjoyed the story itself, the way it unfolded and the big climax with a twist that I didn’t see coming. The author did a terrific job of really capturing the feel of life at school, including going out for pizza and sneaking out for a beer party in the woods – along with all of the school work and dining hall experiences, I was totally immersed in the setting in no time.

Of course the biggest part of the story is Rae’s heritage and how she’ll handle it when her tatù shows up. I thought it was great that she was just left to be just sixteen with all of the tumultuous emotions and uncertainty that she ought to have at that age when she was dumped into this situation. She’s going to be tempted by something huge and it was right to show that she’s struggling with it. I liked Rae and there wasn’t a single point in the story that I wasn’t rooting for her.

My Summary: This is a solid first book in what I hope is going to be a series. I loved getting to know the setting and characters and was excited about the reveal about Rae’s tatu and what it might mean. Rae and Devon’s romance contains all sorts of promise – and danger – and is another reason to stay tuned in, as if I needed one. I sincerely hope there are more books on the way because I ate this up in one sitting and am ready and waiting for another.

My Rating: B+

Barbara

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