WILDER - Christina Dodd
The Chosen Ones , Book 5
ISBN: 978-0-451-41324-6
Signet Select
ISBN: 978-0-451-41292-8
August 2012
Paranormal Romance

New York City, the Present

The Legend:
In the long, long ago, two outwardly beautiful humans came together and mated. The woman was sure the resulting conception would produce a child as magnificent as its parents. Instead, she bore twins who were marked by imperfections. The mother immediately abandoned the boy deep in the forest and cast the girl into a stream. The two of them were saved and gifted by the gods and became the first of the Abandoned Ones, all of whom have some special gift. Both twins gathered six others like themselves. Those who are followers of the boy child are the Chosen Ones who work for the good. The followers of the girl child are the Others, servants of the Devil. This still holds true today; both groups gather recruits from among the world's Abandoned Ones. (Quoted from reviews of the first four titles in this series, STORM OF VISION, STORM OF SHADOWS, CHAINS OF ICE, and CHAINS OF FIRE.)

Time is running out for the present Chosen Ones—and the world. If they can't somehow stop it, in a matter of weeks the devil will take over the earth and rule for a thousand years. Already crime and corruption are increasing and demons from hell are appearing above ground, and the various talents or powers of the Chosen Ones are fading. Five of the Chosen are deep in a Swiss bank trying to open a safety deposit box mentioned in a prophecy. One of the seven disappeared three years ago, and another went down into the tunnels beneath New York City on a mission.

Charisma Fangorn has been lost in the tunnels for days. Her particular gift is the ability to hear the earth's songs. Now they are calling her to go ever deeper, but she can't give in. Her friends need her to help save mankind. Charisma's hunger and thirst have weakened her; she stumbles into an abyss and is attacked by a swarm of demons.

There lives in the Below a strange beastlike man the people call Guardian. He has no memory of who he was and where he came from, but he fights to protect the people who live beneath the city…the Belows. They, in turn, feed him and bring him news of the Above. Guardian is in time to drive off the demons before they can devour Charisma, but she has been bitten, and demon bites are poisonous. Yet, with the help of a doctor from Above and Guardian's care, Charisma still lives and, after eleven days, comes back to consciousness.

Charisma and Guardian come to like and respect each other, but Charisma must regain her strength and return to the surface to join her friends in defeating the growing evil.

It's not a spoiler to reveal that Guardian is Aleksandr Wilder, the missing one of the Chosen Ones, and that five of the group have found their true mates. It has been foretold that when all seven have done so, their powers will increase, and they will be victorious.

WILDER brings this riveting series to its cataclysmic—and satisfying—conclusion. For those who haven't read the earlier books or those who need reminders, the front of the book contains the legend, an update, and a list of the Chosen Ones and their gifts, plus their friends and enemies. I highly recommend WILDER and the whole series to readers who like excitement, suspense, imaginative worlds and characters, and dollops of passion. (Not all the heat originates in the fires of hell.)

Jane Bowers