So I finally finished my first book of JaNoReadMo, Warrior Ascended by Addison Fox.  Took me longer to read through this one than I intended, but I was distracted by Dragon Age 2.

6640565The first in the Sons of the Zodiac series, only three have been printed to date as far as I can tell.

See, long ago in a time of myth and legend, the Greek goddess of Justice Themis took pity on mankind and struck a bargain with Zeus, King of the Gods, to restore some balance to the universe and defend mankind in the process.  Themis is really big on checks and balances, and apparently the Zodiac constellations are in perfect balance with each other.  So she asks Zeus for twelve groups of thirteen warriors, one warrior for each sign (Gemini gets 2 because it’s the sign of the twin, hence 13 warriors for 12 signs), each warrior embodying pretty much every aspect of that sign.

But of course it can’t all be about Themis and her human-turned-immortal Warriors, oh no.  Zeus insists that his bouncing baby girl Enyo, goddess of War, be in on the pact too, and work of course in opposition of Themis, trying to bring down humanity by inspiring such late greats as Alexander, Cesar, and Hitler.

So now Themis and Enyo are in permanent opposition, with their minions in the middle duking it out on Earth in various pitched battles.  Both World Wars being examples of two.  What makes this even more interesting is that for every battle won, the winner gets stronger while the loser gets weaker.  So of course the only way for the loser of the last battle to regain their strength is to win the next.

Which brings us up to date and the start of Warrior Ascended.  Enyo has been weakened over the centuries as she’s not an overly patient goddess and has lost quite a few rounds as a result.  But now she sees a chance to regain her strength in a set of five Egyptian stones, the Summoning Stones of Egypt; a sort of primitive dooms day device that can only be operated by a Chosen One, and apparently one crops up every generation.

Enyo tried to get her hands on the stones before, but was thwarted by Thutmose’s third High Priest and as a result the stones were buried in his tomb and lost to the ages until an archeologist by the name of Russell Harrison uncovered them.

Russell Harrison was the Chosen One of his generation, but was murdered shortly after his discovery so no one knew the true power of the stones until his daughter Ava Harrison, next in the line of Chosen Ones and following in daddy’s footsteps as curator of the museum of New York, was directed to set up an exhibit for the five Stones.  And that is when all Hades breaks loose.

Enyo discovers that the Stones are viable through Ava and sends her Destroyers after her. Themis sends in her warriors to defend Ava and thwart Enyo, one specifically being the Leo Warrior of the North America Zodiac group, Brody Talbot.

Since the death of her father, Ava Harrison has hidden herself from the world, emotionally and physically.  She keeps no close relationships with people, and covers herself in grey sweaters that according to Brody “a bag lady wouldn’t be caught dead in”.  Her physical description is a little sketchy, but I’m given to believe that she is of average height, blue eyed and blonde haired.

Brody Talbot is the definition of a Leo persona.  Charming, arrogant, sensual, and always needing to be in charge and protect his pride (literally and figuratively).  Definitely blonde and blue eyed, Brody takes an immediate shine to Ava when he’s on her protection detail and is not afraid to let her know it shortly into the association after she is attacked by Enyo’s minions.

I’m actually a little surprised with how swiftly Ava accepts the whole story about Themis and Enyo and all them once Brody is forced to teleport her to his home to keep her safe.  She’s a born and bred scientist, facts and equations are her bread and butter, but she barely bats an eye at the whole “I am an immortal warrior sworn to save humanity” thing.  Of course she would have had to accept it sooner or later, because she wouldn’t be able to deny what she sees forever, but I personally would still have freaked out just a little bit more than she did.

I’ve given enough away so I won’t spoil the ending, but needless to say Brody, Ava, and the rest of the Zodiac brotherhood wind up running around the world trying to get their hands on the stones before Enyo to save the world.  And of course Ava and Brody fall in love somewhere along the way.

I liked how quickly they fell for each other.  I don’t tend to have a lot of patience for those books that despite the fact the two are clearly hot for each other, they beat around the bush forever; often dragging the story on longer than its needs to be.

I think I understand now though, why there are only three.  I’m sure more will come about later, but I would not be surprised if I was wrong.  It was good, but not put together very well if that makes sense.  The pacing was a bit off, I skimmed chapters here and there because they were getting a little long winded; and the double crossing!  Can’t you trust anyone anymore?

I mean, Enyo’s #1 goes rogue, taking another with him.  She double crosses her #1 first, leaving the other man floundering in her wake.  Then at the end we discover that someone has basically double crossed everyone in the book except Enyo, and in the epilogue we discover that person is dead with no real reasoning behind it.

So yeah, a good story, but a little thrown together.  I liked it so I’ll keep on the series as much as I can.

8326789Next on the docket for JaNoReadMo: Of Truth and Beasts by Barb and J.C. Hendee.  The latest in their Noble Dead series, Of Truth and Beasts is the ninth book of the series with a tenth one on the way.

Here’s the excerpt from the back:

Young journeyer Wynn Hygeorht sets out with her companions, the vampire Chane Andraso and Shade, an elven wolf, in search of a dwarven stronghold that may well be the last resting place of a mythical orb- one of five such mysterious devices from the war of Forgotten History. And now, a direct descendant of that war”s infamous mass murderer-the Lord of Slaughter-is tracking Wynn. If only that were all she had to worry about…