Kellan Largest is working towards his doctorate and his topic of choice is obscure ancient Egyptian cults. One cult in particular has caught his eye: the Earth Warriors. Just the passing mentions he’s unearthed in the stacks of the Harvard University library capture his attention. What he doesn’t know is that there are powerful, greedy people who will stop at nothing to seize that very same knowledge for legend has it that finding the birth home of the warriors is the key to immortality.
Baz is one of the seven original Earth Warriors to whom the duty of protecting the Earth falls. The latest threat to his secret brotherhood leads him directly to Kellan and instantly, sparks fly. Yet there is danger in falling to hard for the doctoral student—the man is mortal and Baz is wary of getting attached knowing he’ll have to watch Kellan age and die. Nevertheless, Baz feels his heart slipping day by day. When trouble finds Kellan, the real test isn’t whether or not Baz can save Kellan from the man using Kellan for his mind, but whether or not the gods and goddesses will allow a mortal to know the secrets of the Earth Warriors.
Here is a book that I found more or less campy despite the ancient Egyptian theme. Overall, it was a bit simplistic for my tastes. First off, we have instalove between two flat characters, Kellan and Baz. Second off, the quasi-“chosen one” trope ran rampant throughout the motifs—there’s each of the seven warriors who got chosen for their task by one of the gods/goddesses themselves and there’s Kellan for randomly finding what was an entirely unknown and unmitigated reference to said warriors (who tell us often in the text that they have worked hard to purge all references to their duty). Then, there’s the cheese-fest that cracks wide open at the end, setting the stage for sequels (of which I see one has already been released).
The research didn’t feel very careful…as a matter of fact, it seemed to only go so far as looking up seven gods/goddesses and what their animal associations are. Maybe I’ve been spoiled by the Egypt theme that runs through other books I have read, but I really could have done with a few more casual references to ANYTHING Egypt-y beyond Baz’s name. The whole Egypt theme is too prevalent for me to entirely write it off as a last-minute thing, but at the same time, the lack of literal realia leaves me feeling sort of disappointed in the world- and plot-building of the story. On a side note, the first mention of Isis is in conjunction with the pronoun “he.” What failed to come across clearly in the prose is that, regardless of whether it’s a god or a goddess picking the Earth Warrior, the earth warrior is a male. That bit of text was in connection to the Earth Warrior Isis (yes, the warriors assume the names of their patron god/goddess when they’re not trying to romance the pants off someone). It just wasn’t clearly established anywhere in the text, so it sent up red flags for “poor research!” coupled with “not enough explanation!” Turns out only the second gripe applies.
What the story does do is go to great lengths to include a yo-yo kind of romance between Kellan and Baz that devolves into sex sooner rather than later. Doing the dirty doesn’t give Kellan any big existential crises—he’s more inclined to enjoy the ride with Hotty McRichBaz while he can. Baz, on the other hand, treats us to some not-horrible angst fests the more attached he gets to Kellan. Even after he comes to terms with his emotions, events have unfolded such that just saving Kellan from the Bad Guy might not be enough to keep Kellan safe. Angst and strife for the win in my book.
I guess I wasn’t entirely against the idea that the rest of this series is apparently going to be populated with stories about the other Earth Warriors. I would be annoyed if it turns out they’re ALL gay, but at least one of them is at least bi. I’d give at least one other book in the series a chance to see if the world- plot-building improves or, perhaps, the inter-personal relationships turn from campy fluff teenage-angst fests into mind-blowing romances…but in all honesty, the only other pairing I’d be super keen to read up on was the one about the elusive Isis and nearly entirely in absentia Sekhmet—their sparing appearances and black-belt level aloofness automatically make them interesting.
There were two plot twists that caught my attention, one that fizzled and one that made me want to scream at the characters about how teenager-horror-movie-stupid they were being. The first one was about the guy who kidnapped Kellan to take him to the Bad Guy—that one had real nail-biter suspense potential that, when it got resolved, was okay but not the shut-the-front-door kind of surprise I thought it was going to be. The latter was that, despite the Bad Guy actually kidnapping Kellan (along with all his doctoral research notes which, duh, contains information from those books the Warriors didn’t know needed to be purged to keep their secret safe), the Warriors do not go after him immediately. They take time to “recoup” or whatever. Yeah, yeah, I get that this is going to be a series, but how big does a near miss need to be before they’re willing to go in guns blazing?
So…if you’re an Egypt buff or require your historical details to be, well, detailed—this book will probably cause you endless frustration. If you just want to read a story about an immortal falling for a mortal and the kind of double jeopardy that threatens to tear them apart twice (though the double part only comes in at the very end of the story), this might hold your interest more. It’s got a large cast to set the stage for multiple sequels but only really focuses on Bastet and Kellan.