Coexist: Keegan's Chronicles by Julia Crane (Smashwords edition/Valknut Press, 2011). Kindle copy provided by author.
Keegan is a sixteen-year-old elf living among humans with a major secret she can't tell her human friends (besides that she's an elf): in elfin society everyone has a Chosen mate determined at birth though they cannot legally meet until they are both eighteen. Keegan's mate is Rourk. Because her brother Thaddeus, a seer, told her Rourk's name, Keegan thinks of him often, which summons him to her location. He doesn't know her name, but he often watches her now. Thaddeus has foreseen horrible danger in Keegan's future and wants her to have the best protection possible, which happens to be Rourk. Thaddeus has also foreseen a great battle between the light (good) and dark (bad) elves that could destroy their world. Fate intercedes, so Keegan and Rourk meet and immediately fall deeply in love. Then the great battle starts--will both Rourk and Keegan survive?
Crane's fresh take on the paranormal romance--elves--makes her novel enticing. Unfortunately, she fails to deliver on a number of fronts. The story is short and relies more on telling than showing. For instance, some characters' arrival at the great battle is described as "It felt like they walked into a scene from Braveheart." Awkward phrasing, stilted dialogue, trite expressions, and many errors mar the text. Rourk initially seems like a stalker, and while all the lore about elves having Chosen mates is interesting, it kind of takes the mystery out of the romance. Of course they will fall in love at first sight! They're destined to! Crane does not seem to have a good grasp of how to move a story forward and uses such pedestrian tactics as "the day passed quickly." It's a story, not a day planner, right? I wanted to like Coexist because it sounded cute (elves!), but overall it just didn't work for me.
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