Sunday, May 5, 2013

Book Review: The Mackenzie Legacy by Derrolyn Anderson

Title: The Mackenzie Legacy
Series: The Athena Effect #2
Author: Derrolyn Anderson

Pages: 200
Pub Date: April 04, 2013

Publisher: Self-published
Book Source:
From the author for review
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars


*This review will contain spoilers for The Athena Effect (book 1 in the series)!*

The Mackenzie Legacy picks up where it's predecessor left us. Calvin and Cali are on the run. Cali is turning eighteen soon, but in the meantime, she is in hiding from the man responsible for the death of her parents.

Calvin and Cali are enjoying their time on the run; they're in love, together, and the world is at their fingertips. Unfortunately, their money stash is dwindling. This pushes Calvin to come up with a plan to get some extra cash. Using Cali's power to see and alter people's emotions and mood, the two make a go of things in Las Vegas.

It is in Vegas that Cali learns a world-shaking revelation from a complete stranger. The Athena Effect isn't what it appears to be.

Upon her return home on her 18th birthday, Cali learns more about the past of her family. This knowledge, paired with what she learned in Vegas, spurs Cali into action. She and Calvin go on a search for the truth, and what they learn leaves everyone in shock.

- - -

*Some minor spoilers below!*

What a whirlwind of a follow-up! Holy wow! I loved this book SO MUCH. My only complaint is one that comes from a personal place. I was a bit disappointed to learn that Cali was okay with marijuana being grown on her family's land. This perturbed me. I grew up around drugs and was always ashamed of it. I understand why it had to be in the story, but I wish Cali had been more bothered by it than she was.

But seriously, aside from that, I adored this book in every way!

Romance. One thing I have to applaud Derrolyn on is the fact that she didn't need to throw a love triangle into the story to create intensity and angst between our two lovebirds. Calvin and Cali do go through some rough patches in this book, and I appreciated that. It stems from Cali's conscience and Calvin's insecurities. Cali doesn't like that they are cheating people out of money and says so. Calvin just sees dollar signs and gets much too carried away. He even shows some unwarranted jealousy and a bit of clingy-ness to boot. I was a bit peeved at him for some of the book. He is afraid of being left behind; afraid to lose Cali. I think the two of them overcoming their relationship problems solidified their love all the more. Seeing the interaction between them in a different way (other than love and attraction) was an interesting element to add to the story.

“The two Cals had been thrown together by fate, united by curiosity, and forced to run by circumstance, but now they were bound together by pure true love.
And neither one of them had ever been happier.”
Let's talk plot. This book brought the series to a whole new level. More action. More drama. Faster pace. In-depth character development. There were also some plot twists that I sooo did not see coming. They ultimately take the story in a new direction, and I like that. We see many of the same characters from The Athena Effect. Calvin and Cali of course. Layla and Michael play a much bigger part in this book as well. Max is an ever-present pain in the rear-end (more like sick douche bag). Jarod makes an appearance, as does his girlfriend (fiancé? Ack! My memory sucks). There are a few new characters, but I will leave that a surprise. ^-^ They are just as fantastic as the rest of 'em though. Great characterization!

As with the first book, I was very impressed with the author's ability to make you really feel and understand Cali's powers. It's a palpable phenomenon. The never-ending, colorful descriptions of what people are feeling—rosy happiness, competitive yellow, the lavender of satisfied sleepiness, pinkish hope, pea green desperation, sour green jealousy, bluish grey confusion, the midnight blue of troubled thoughts, anticipatory tangerine, violet concern, blood-red infatuation, etc. I also find it quite unique. I have yet to read about a paranormal aspect quite like this one. Bravo!

As I mentioned before, Layla and Michael play a huge role in this book. We follow them through third-person POV and we learn more about their past and present. They are now living with Max, ex-body-guard to the professor who created The Athena Effect. Max uses them to bank endless amounts of cash. They live a life of luxury, but are prisoners none the less. Michael couldn't be happier. He idolizes Max and enjoys living it up with his new money, possessions, and women. Layla, on the other hand, sees the moral repercussions of what they are doing and wants nothing more than to make an escape—so she begins to plan one. I really enjoyed reading about her feisty nature. She was brainwashed from the beginning, yet still found it within herself to try and do the right thing. She needs a bit of help from Cali, but wants to be good. Michael... I am not sure how I felt about him in the end. Even after seeing a glimpse of Max's true colors, he still chooses to do wrong by his sister and only redeems himself because he has no other choice. Maybe he will grow on me more in the next book.

Small, random detail here, but I have to mention it. The descriptive picture Anderson gives us of Cali's cottage in the woods is absolutely magical. When we finally get to go back there with her and learn the details of how she lived and how the place looks and feels... that moment is really a stand-out for me. We sort of see the place through Calvin's eyes, and as I said, it is magical. I can't even explain it, really. I don't want to copy down what's in the book. It's just... the cottage is something that sounds like it's out of a fairytale; like there should be forest sprites flitting around outside and maybe even a unicorn walking through the back yard. It's just gorgeous. She made it a place that you'd want to go and see immediately. It's rustic with a side of whimsy. I want to live there. Like now.

All in all, this follow-up was top-notch. I am very happy with it, and I am beyond excited for the next one! The story was fast-paced and easy to follow despite the fact that it's quite an intricate plot line. There are many small details one could miss and multiple stories to follow, yet they're all woven together perfectly to create a stunning, engrossing read.

Ms. Anderson is quite the impressive writer. Her stories just flow and entrance. I am a huge fan of this series as well as Marina's Tales. She just has a way with words and I appreciate that her self-published novels are grammatically sound and typo-free. I've seen books published by huge names (*cough* HarperCollins *cough*) that have more typos than Derrolyn's books. And at right around 200 pages, this is a read you'll finish quickly and then be amazed because she fit so much into such a short book without it seeming like too much.

Again I will say: Watch out for the plot twists; they're doozies! The ending was a surprise and, thankfully, not a cliffhanger. The epilogue sets up book three, but doesn't leave you with that I-want-to-scream feeling that crazy-ass cliffhangers do. I like that. I appreciate that. A LOT.

If you haven't read The Athena Effect, I urge you to do so now! It's a Young Adult/New Adult crossover, so there is some slightly adult-ish content, but nothing too graphic. I think YA readers as well as NA readers will both enjoy this series. I highly recommend it! All of Derrolyn's books are diamonds in the rough. I promise you'll love them!


Derrolyn Anderson has also generously offered a giveaway for you all to win BOTH The Athena Effect & The Mackenzie Legacy, along with a gorgeous charm bracelet inspired by the book! ♥ Click here to check it out!