• Book suitable for an older child.
The Ultimate Sacrifice: Book one of the Gifted Teens series by Talia Jager,
(c) 2011 (Kindle version, ISBM 978-09836164-3-6 e-Book)

On first appearances it’s aimed towards the 11 to 16 year old (teen) female market.
  • Stats:  subject matter, language use, …
    Subject matter: Fantasy fiction – Children of teen age are living in closed community schools, having in common they each have a strange, futuristic or magical power. They are “Gifted Teens” – Compellors, Predictors, Mind Readers, Animal Commmunicators, Lie Detectosr, Telekinetics, Dreamers …
  • Most significant characters are female teens, or young adults; male teens form a “supporting cast” for the two heroines – Kassia, able when enraged to inflict great pain, unknown limit; her friend Mira who is the only person immune to Kassia’s rage.
    There are other characters :  Vala (a female shaman) and a Ramsay Battar (whose “expertise” or power is never made clear); Noe (gifted teen – a predictor); Auralee (gifted teen – a mind-reader), Daxton (a dreamer and Kassia’ love interest), Zane  (an animal communicator and Mira’ love interest).                
    • And then the “baddies”: demons, swarms of them, under the control of chief demon Kern.
  • Plot Line: Early in the plot, Mira, alone in the city, is subjected to rape. Kassia races to the aid, and unleashes such rage at the perpetrators that she kills them; from that moment, she becomes of interest to Kern, who envisages turning her to join him and his demons in overtaking the world.
    The plot proceeds with the six friends being sent away from their community school to try and keep the demons away from the other gifted teens. After a number of demon attacks, over which Kassia’s rage power increases, frightening the other friends.
    Kassia realises that the only way to protect her friends from a massive demon attack is to kill herself, and persuades Zane to promise that should she become a danger to the friends, he is to kill her.
    The friends meet Vala who gives them each a special “faerie  dagger”, embellished with the tattoo each wears to indicate their power. They set up an attack scene, and Kassia is allowed to be captured.

    After meeting  Kern, revolted by his determination to have her join his forces by one method ro another, she stabs herself it the heart with her faerie dagger. His demon servants dump her body, it’s found by the friends and Vala, who sends the friends back to the college, and revives Kassia. Kassia now learns more of her own background, and is trained by Ramsay and Vala to harness and control her power.
    Final scenario has the demons attack both gifted teens schools at once; the children have been preparing for battle, learning arms-manship, martial arts etc. In the middle of the fight, Kassia appears at the college (via a “portal”) and in the battle mix, comes against Kern. By stabbing him three times in the heart with another special sword, she is able to kill him.
    Expected happy ending all around.

  • Specific market elements.
    • Similarities to the twilight (blech) series – male meets female of a different “kind”, and together they fight for a common cause. That’ll appeal to readers whose parents know they’re too young for twilight.
      What doesn’t work: some of the social scenes between the friends (teens, remember) are rather child-like; the presence of demons I can take – readers would love them; the powers of the gifted teens seem straight from a Marvel comic; the presence of “faeries” and Kassia having “angel blood” in her family line – hhmm, are we looking at a very young teen reader?
    • I  did enjoy  reading it – it didn’t take long; Ms Jager’s books seem (so far) to be available as  e-Books only

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