By: M.L. Lacy
Publication Date: April 2009
Reviewed by: Holly Connors
Review Date: September 23, 2010
Aubrey Marie Campbell, or Bree to her friends, is just your average 32-year-old woman. Recently separated from Nick, her abusive husband, she is a person in search of herself. When her grandmother invites her to a reunion in Las Vegas, Bree reluctantly agrees. She really doesn’t want to go, but believes “Gran” truly wants her company so the young woman tags along.
Bree is expecting a dull vacation, hanging around with Gran and her senior citizen friends as they gamble the nights away. But things are not as they seem, and Bree’s life is about to change forever. You see, Bree isn’t an ordinary human but rather a ‘Chosen One,’ a member of a select group of powerful “Magicals” who have amazing powers. The catch is that Bree was born a mortal and must transform into her Magical self before she can gain full control of her powers. To make things more complicated, Bree knows nothing about her Magical background because her family, fearing for her safety, has kept the truth from her. Unfortunately, there are those in the magical world who would like to harm Bree, particularly Esmeralda, a wicked sorceress. Esmeralda wants to kill Bree and in so doing, knows that she would gain Bree’s powerful magic.
Gran knows about Bree’s emerging magical self and has brought her granddaughter to Las Vegas, not to party, but to learn the truth about herself. To aid Bree, her family has surrounded her with a group of vampires (yes, vampires). These vampires are part of Bree’s clan, and have sworn to protect the young woman at all costs. Most prominent among them is Steven, who is deeply in love with Bree. Bree thinks she is meeting Steven for the first time in Las Vegas, but actually, he and the rest of the clan have known Bree, and been protecting her, since she was an infant. Unfortunately for Steven, at various points in Bree’s life, her parents have made the decision to erase the memories of clan members from her mind, taking the advice of a council of elders, that it is the best way to help the girl survive to adulthood. Always lingering in the background, Esmeralda is waiting for the perfect time to pounce and destroy Bree.
Chrysalis: The Awakening, is the first book in a bold series that follows the life of Bree and her clan of vampires as they fight to protect both the magical and “real” worlds from Esmeralda and a fantastical creation of demons and other imaginative creatures. The title is quite descriptive as Bree truly is awakening to her ‘Chosen One’ status as well as coming to terms with strange and sometimes bizarre habits of her clan (Bree learns she is the “alpha” of the clan, as well as adjusting to the um, “interesting” matchmaking practices). In addition, this is the story of a young, somewhat immature woman who grows into a strong leader, who goes from worrying about when her divorce will be finalized to protecting her clan against those who seek to harm them.
The author has done a marvelous job of creating deep, interesting characters who jump off the pages with their multi-layered personalities. The growing relationship between Bree and Steven, from mere acquaintances to a couple who will do anything for each other, was part of what made this book work so well. But there were several other characters who commanded attention, primarily those of the clan (we’ll see more of Esmeralda in book 2, Chrysalis: Tribulations). Bree’s relationships with Bill, Rick and Brad as well as the women of the clan (watch out for some catfights as well as expressions of true kindness and love) moved the story along quickly. When Thomas enters the picture (a vampire working for Esmeralda) the action picks up a notch. He’s also responsible for the best line in the book, not spoken, but “thought” by Bree, “That’s it! And women fall for this? What am I missing?” (pg. 347). What does it mean? You’ll have to read Chrysalis: The Awakening to find out. But I guarantee it will make you laugh.
This is not a book to be read in one night, or even over a few days. Chrysalis: The Awakening is the type of fantasy novel that you’ll need to really sink your teeth into and savor over a week or more. There is a lot to digest in this tome, from the complicated clan relationships, to the magical world and all it involves. As somebody who read the second book first, I was quite eager to see where Bree had come from, how she had become a ‘Chosen One,’ as well as how she handled learning about Esmeralda. I wasn't disappointed.
Quill says: Fantasy lovers who enjoy stories that offer depth, intrigue and adventures that move between our world and a imaginative magical world, should check out this series!
For more information on Chrysalis: The Awakening, please visit the author's website at: MLLacy.com