Today is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charlotte Brontë.
Rival by Lacy Yager
Emily Santos wants to go in to the family business of being a chaser. A vampire chaser. She wants to fight the monsters that killed her father and turned her mother into someone who is to afraid to leave the house. Her mother is firmly against the idea of her becoming a chaser and has put her foot down. The only problem with her mom’s plan is that Emily is turning eighteen and will be free to make her own choices. She just needs to convince her uncle Felix she’s worthy. To do that she has to win the martial arts competition at her dojo that she’s been training for all year. Winning the previous year doesn’t guarantee anything because this year she’s up against Brett Carlson. They are equally matched on the mat and with the number of secrets they keep.
This was a great novella. It moved quickly and switched between the two characters points of view smoothly. Almost every chapter is flip flopped between the two characters telling the story. More and more books that I’m reading lately are structured like that. It used to be a no- no but I’m embracing it. It makes for a well rounded experience. It provides balance. If you don’t trust the character telling the story or you think there is more to it than what they can see you have another view point to compare it to.
This novella doesn’t retread ground though. The throttle is open from beginning to end. There isn’t time to go back so instead the author uses the other characters reactions to tie the story together.
Even the relationship that develops between Emily and Brett is balanced. He has been in love with her for years. She has hated him for years. She starts to see him, however, in a new light after a vampire attack in a parking garage. She begins to admire his talent and appreciates his willingness to keep the secrets that he doesn’t understand.
My favorite part of this story is that Emily Santos is a strong independent young woman that knows herself. Even more importantly she isn’t fearless. She isn’t a super hero. She fears for the people she loves. She worked for her black belt. Emily Santos shows us that what’s important is that possessing blind courage deep inside yourself is far better than having blind faith in someone else. Emily doesn’t wait to be rescued. She doesn’t second guess the abilities she has worked so hard for. She honed them and she knows how to use them. Anyone looking for strong female characters should read this novella.
This is another story that is movie worthy. There is plenty of action. Plenty of parental drama. There is also plenty of moments that we get to watch the main characters process the secretes they share with one another. I really enjoyed it.
Another book that has a strong female main character is Starling by Lesley Livingston. I gave it four stars as well.