Juliet Stone faces a destiny she doesn’t want. She is a Chosen, one of four destined to stop a plan to take over Earth. Each of the Chosen has telekinesis and enhanced strength and speed, and each has an individual power roughly corresponding to an element: the ability to conjure fire, wind, and liquefy metal. Juliet has the ability to share the minds of animals. Raised as normal kids, they now find themselves torn between two worlds, and the burden of their powers leaves them no longer feeling inhuman. Even with all their abilities, they may not be a match for those they fight against.
Brink of Dawn, by Jeff and Erynn Altabef, continues the story of Juliet Wildfire Stone, which began in Wind Catcher. In Brink of Dawn, Juliet and the other three Chosen track down their trainer, known as the Host, and prepare to kill the Prime Elector. By doing so, they will save the world, but the moral implications of killing another sentient being hounds Juliet.
Brink of Dawn has a very different style to it than Wind Catcher, which is more of a mystery/thriller, while Dawn is more of an adventure novel. The narrative is very easy, quick, and smooth, propelling the reader through the story. Their destinies have already left the Chosen with scars, and they all struggle to find normalcy. This tension is one of the highlights of the novel and is handled in a way that feels genuine and satisfactory.
The narrative falters a little when dealing with the theme of destiny. The novel uses destiny to successfully echo the pressure most children feel to live up to their parents’ expectations. Yet while Juliet rails against her future, and is given the opportunity to run away multiple times, choosing a different destiny never feels like an actual option. For the Chosen, it’s destiny or death. However, there is a glimmer of hope toward the end, hinting that there may yet be ways for the Chosen to chart their own paths, even while fulfilling their destinies.
The narrative is also burdened by a romance that feels somewhat forced. The characters jump from meeting one another to first love, without getting to know each other. While a sizeable chunk of the novel is spent on this romance, the writing focuses more on Juliet agonizing “does he really like me” than it does on successfully developing a rapport between the characters.
These are relatively minor hiccups, however, and don’t get in the way of the reader enjoying the story. Each of the Chosen has an interesting personality and, while they do not all receive equal attention, they develop believable bonds of friendship and each grows as an individual and as a hero. Slightly reminiscent of I Am Number Four, Brink of Dawn is an enjoyable book for young adults who like to read about teens with superpowers fighting to save the world.
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