The Falcon and the Jackal (Storm Chronicles #1)

The Falcon and the Jackal (Storm Chronicles #1) - Jay Di Meo 4.5 stars

I first came across Jay DiMeo in the anthology Bedknobs and Beanstalks in which appeared her lovely short story "The Merman's Tale". It was, without a doubt, one of my favorites in the collection, so when I saw that Jay had written a full length, I had to check it out.

There are a lot of gods and goddesses running around in the paranormal/fantasy romance world these days but this story was unique. It tackles the rather more difficult world of Egyptian mythology. Greek and Roman and even Celtic gods are accessible to the modern mind. They act like us, think like us. But the gods of Egypt were an odd lot, mystical, changeable, their motives more difficult to fathom.

Ms. DiMeo tackles them and takes them to the mat. The world building is quite original, with the gods doomed to repeat their same mistakes from one human incarnation to the next, causing destruction and grief in their wakes. Mythology becomes propaganda, with the 'good' gods we're all familiar with only good because they rewrote history to please themselves. While the victor has always been the one to write history, it's a uniquely Egyptian pastime to erase it. Often a pharaoh, having conquered his rival, would pull down said rivals statues and monuments, have the tomb leveled, erase his predecessors name from the records. The ultimate death, to be erased from memory.

Caught in this perpetual war between the gods are James and Silver, the young avatars of Horus ans Seth. Just coming into their powers, just finding out what the heck they're embroiled in, it's a poignant and frightening journey for them as they navigate the rocky waters of this forever conflict and their growing love for each other. Trust issues abound - but our boys are stubborn, never fear.

There are unanswered questions, such as where the 'jewels' came from and why the gods have them in the first place, but it looks like this is only the first part of the series, so I don't expect all to be explained in the first conflict. The only nit I had was with the ending, which proceeds at something of a breakneck pace - It's most likely a personal thing, I like my epic battles drawn out a bit more. The final riddle the boys had to solve I found perhaps a bit obvious (to me) but since both of them are young and inexperienced, it's certainly feasible that they didn't catch on as quickly as a jaded, old romance reader.

With characters who will steal your heart, sex that will singe your curtains, and a plot that twists and turns in delightful ways, this is a paranormal/urban fantasy not to be missed.