Every Last Kiss
by Courtney Cole
Available as: paperback, Kindle edition, ebook
Publisher: Lakehouse Press
Publication date: April 21, 2011
Suggested tags: young adult, paranormal, time travel, mythology
First in The Bloodstone Saga. From Goodreads:
"17-year old Macy Lockhart has the weight of the world on her shoulders.
For thousands of years, she has been a Keeper in the ancient organization, the Order of the Moirae. She literally holds fate in her hands.
But this is something that she forgets, because her memories are wiped clean when she is reborn each time, until it is time for her cycle to begin again in her seventeenth year in each life.
And for the last two thousand years, this has never been a problem. Until now. But now, fate is being challenged and to fix it, she is forced to return to a previous life, one where she was Cleopatra's handmaiden, Charmian.
Cue up the second problem: Unless she interferes with the fabric of time, the very thing she has returned to repair, then her soul mate, Hasani, will die leading Marc Antony's armies against Rome. Can she really stand aside and allow the love of her life to die all over again?"
I saw this book's Kindle listing on Amazon, and after reading that description, I could not click "download" fast enough. It has some of my very favorite elements: history, mythology, ancient Egypt, time travel/reincarnation, romance... Yeah, this was definitely right up my alley.
Every Last Kiss starts off with a flashback (or flash forward, depending on how you look at it) of a memory of Macy's previous life as Charmian, Cleopatra's handmaiden. The scene was tense and powerful; it really set the tone for the book, and let you know right away that Macy's role in her past life was huge.
Then we meet Macy, modern day, who is living a pretty average life in Pasadena, until she receives a mysterious gift - a bloodstone. She starts having strange visions, including visions of a man she knows and loves, but hasn't met. Then a mysterious stranger shows up in her room; Annen, a priest, helps her to remember her past life as Charmian. He reminds her of the Order of the Moirae, and then he tells her that everything she knows about it could be a lie.
This book kept me reading and reading and reading, chapter after chapter, devouring Charmian's story as she tried to figure out what was true and what was not, and whether her role as a Keeper meant she should try to change fate or help fate keep its course. The details of ancient Egypt were fantastic; I could picture every room Charmian entered in Cleopatra's palace. Cole's portrayal of Cleopatra was exactly like I had always pictured her: beautiful, spoiled, but kind to those she cared about and dedicated completely to Egypt.
The relationships between Cleopatra and Antony and Charmian and Hasani were sweet and sexy; intimacy was implied, but never detailed. I prefer books like this, the "fade to black" types. I don't really want to read every detail of what the characters are doing together. Just reading about them sharing a meaningful smile and slipping off to a bedroom is perfect for me.
The only thing that bothered me a little in Every Last Kiss was the characters' tendencies toward modern ways of speaking. I'm no historian, so perhaps the phrases the characters use are older than they seem, but sometimes their word choice made me feel like I was reading a conversation from Macy's time in present-day California rather than Cleopatra's time in ancient Egypt.
The ending of Every Last Kiss was just amazing, and it's going to be hard for me to talk about it without giving things away, so there will be many hidden spoilers ahead. Highlight at your own risk!
It's clear that Macy has been much changed by her time in Egypt. (SPOILER - highlight to read: She's absolutely done with Derek, her cheating boyfriend from the beginning of the book. That relationship, which was very important to Macy before, now fades to nothing. Hasani is all she can think about.) The very last pages... (SPOILER - highlight to read: where Hasani reappears as Gavin... oh my gosh, I wanted to cry. Macy found her soul mate. I really hope to see more of them getting to know each other, or re-know each other I guess, in the next book.) I really appreciated the Epilogue, which wrapped up the story beautifully, and the Author's Notes, which gave a lot of great historical info about ancient Egypt and the main characters.
There was one other small moment in the book (SPOILER - highlight to read: near the beginning, where Macy has a premonition of her friend Jenn being hit by an SUV), and it isn't addressed again in Every Last Kiss - I'm wondering if this will become a major plot point in one of the next books?
Every Last Kiss was a spectacular blend of history and fantasy, and I really can't wait to read the next book in the series, Fated. I'm totally wrapped up in Macy and her role as a Keeper for the Order of the Moirae now, and I'm so looking forward to seeing whether she finds her Daedal in her present-day life in Fated, or if she jumps back to another previous life...
Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Coming tomorrow: Q&A with the author of Every Last Kiss, Courtney Cole!