My edition: Kindle Unlimited
Series: Cross Academy
Genre: Christian, Fantasy
Published: August 17, 2015
Blessings are gifts from God. But when the spiritual realm cracks open and demons crawl forth in hordes, Blessings become the means of survival. Humanity needs supernatural weapons to fight this supernatural war, so Gifts of power are given to strong Tribes and Clans to help preserve the last of God’s Children.
That was over 700 years ago.
Today, Cross Academy trains those with exceptional blessings. Hunters of the Cross are the legends of old, fighting demons and darklings to keep the Four Regions safe. When a seemingly insignificant village is destroyed, the Cross goes to investigate. What they learn threatens to tip the balance of the Great Demon War … in favor of the demons.
Chaos unfolds over the Four Regions of the earth, and the refugees taken into the Academy are right at the center of it all.
Fox Fire is one of the rescued villagers who enters the Academy. She remembers the legends of her elders; how her ancestors fought the darklings using the Gift of the Flame. Now, those stories are nothing but myths. There hasn’t been a Sundancer born in the Fire Tribe in over 200 years. Until now. When the walls of Fox’s village come crashing down, Fox realizes the myths about the Fire Tribe might be more than children’s stories.
Enrolling in Cross Academy is her only way to get stronger, but she isn’t sure the schooling is worth it. She isn’t even sure she can survive the courses. But she doesn’t have a choice. Her best friend has been possessed by a powerful demon. Only God can save him now. But Cross Academy teaches students how to slay demons … Can Fox use her blessing to save him instead?
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12
This book is broken into three parts. Discernment disclaimer: Obviously due to the synopsis this deals with demons. This has gore in it. It also deals with other mature topics.
I didn’t finish this due to some issues. I will talk about them in this review.
To be fair- SPOILERS!!! If you plan on reading this book, do not read my review. Seriously I give away plot points and if you continue to read on it is not my fault you ruined the story for yourself.
Part one starts off following the children, more specifically Fox, Talon, and Roaring, of the Grand chief. They live in the Village of Wi. The Village has three rings. The outer ring has the poverty, the second ring has the merchant and the market, then the innermost ring has the Grand Chief and their family plus people of status. They are a matriarchal society. On the day Fox earns her knot, she wants to celebrate by going outside the Wall. She and her best friend KI are then attacked by a demon that took over a bear’s body. KI is hurt in the process and Fox kills her first demon. Talon is going to be the Grand Chief someday and I think she feels inadequate. She is close to her brother who is quiet and stand-offish. I’m quite unsure about their relationship. I don’t know if I am reading too much into this or if it’s written as if there might have been a ship between them. (Again I may be reading too much into this due to the fact that before I got saved I read books such as Game of Thrones and Flowers in the Attic. Both books have certain relationships that shouldn’t happen) But she feels lacking in comparison to her siblings. Roaring and Fox are amazing in combat while Cat the other sister is amazing with social occasions. Part one ends with the destruction of the village and Fox fighting for her best friend’s life. Roaring and Talon fought as well but we don’t know if anyone lived at the end of part one.
If you don’t like the color red, then you will not like any of the decorations for the Fire Tribe. Everywhere you look red, red, more red. What’s that? RED! For most of part one, I feel as if I wasn’t completely invested in any of the characters. Plus there was the relationship between Talon and Roaring I’m trying to figure out if my brain is reading too much into it. At the end of part one, I was shocked because I didn’t know whether or not the author really did what I think she did.
There was one chapter with Evelyn’s POV in part one but it’s towards the end and there isn’t too much information given besides he is a lieutenant from the Academy. He and his team were dispatched to take care of an ambush of demons. They end up following the giant demon at the end of part one. Evelyn and the Cross Academy saved two thousand from Wi including the Fire siblings. But Wi was cut off from the rest of the world. They are untrusting of anyone whom they deem as an outsider. Evelyn sits in with the interviews his second, Kotaro, and a priest, Izzy, conduct to gather further information on what happened to Wi.
Talon is questioned by Evelyn (who is at times referred to as Diaz) and the team. Through this interview, it is established that KI has been possessed by a demon since he came to Wi. Talon being only nine could tell something was not right with the boy. She then makes the decision (as a nine-year-old) to seal the demon because an exorcism would be too dangerous. It’s only hinted that Talon has an extraordinary gift that if she was properly trained she could have been a priest along with Izzy who is extraordinary by priest standards. When KI was attacked in part one, it broke the seal that Talon had placed which awoke the demon inside KI which then turned into a beacon drawing the demon horde to Wi.
The siblings are now in Babel where the Cross Academy is located. They are no idea about this world because Wi has been so isolated and closed off. Diaz even tells Talon that she was a bird in a cage and how he hopes in Babel she learns to fly. Talon and her sibling have to bury their parents and unfortunately, they are unable to go back to Wi to do the burials. At the end of part one, Roaring is discovered as a Sundancer who has the ability to bend fire. It’s hinted Fox is one because she wasn’t burned at the end of part one. During the burial, Fox notices the earth benders. There are also people who can bend air. Some people can heal themselves and others. (serious Avatar vibes) It doesn’t say bend. I am inputting that word in because I don’t know what else to call it.
Fox is asked by Diaz to join the Academy because he knows she is a Sundancer like her brother. Though Diaz would much rather have her brother. Fox agrees to it after she makes a deal to see KI. Fox also, learns of the Nine which has been discussed in chapters involving Diaz. The Nine are the top evil. Fox fought against one at the end of part one.
I am not a fan of Fox. She is quite protective of KI but I don’t buy their relationship. I don’t buy her feelings for him. I just don’t see it.
I ended up DNFing this due to not really connecting with the story. I wasn’t too big of a fan of the writing. There are too many small plot points going on and it felt like several stories combined into one. Too many MCs and at times I was confused about who I was reading in a chapter.
My final thoughts about the book are that it had amazing potential. There are a few things that are weird for me. The first would be when the chapter comes up it is named after the person whose POV is the main of that chapter. The reason I say that is because it’s sometimes hard to figure out who is the main POV if it wasn’t said. Also, with the chapters, Fox is the only one whose full name is the chapter. For Talon, it’s just Talon. For Roaring, it’s just Roaring. But for Fox, it’s Fox Fire. Why is her’s so different?
The second problem for me is sometimes the way Fox comes across is like she’s twelve or thirteen but she’s really sixteen. She just reads sometimes as younger than she is. I don’t know if that has to do with the cultural aspect the author intended for the Fire Tribe or if it’s just how the author wrote her. To me, she comes off as younger than she is.
If this focused on Fox Fire alone, I think I would have finished it in one day.