Chloe King is a normal girl. She goes to class (most of the time), fights with her mom, and crushes on a boy…or two. But around her sixteenth birthday, Chloe finds that perhaps she isn’t so normal after all. There’s the heightened night vision, the super fast reflexes – oh, and the claws.
As she discovers who she is – and where she comes from – it is clear she is not alone. And someone is trying to get her.
Chloe has nine lives. But will nine be enough?
On the eve of her 16th birthday, Chloe King survives falling from San Francisco's Coit Tower "with no visible injuries." Then, other strange things happen: when a homeless man attacks her, she defeats him with expert moves even though "she didn't know a single martial art," she runs superhumanly fast and she grows claws ("white and sharp and curved and beautiful, just like a cat's." She also attracts men; besides Xavier, who she makes out with at a club, she's juggling Alyec, a popular guy from school, and slightly older Brian, whom she suspects may be one of her kind. But her biggest problem: someone is hunting her. This book has all the makings of a scintillating opener for The Fallen series (even Chloe's back story about being adopted from the "old USSR" adds intrigue), and Chloe's snide attitude can be fun. Unfortunately, the writing does not live up to the premise. Readers may have a hard time believing that Chloe would abandon sick Xavier after finding him with "long, oozing cankers and welts, like claw marks" on his back (she flees after calling an ambulance), and a subplot about Chloe feeling ignored by her best friend pales in contrast to the heroine's supernatural changes. Even the final scene in which Chloe faces her hunter feels implausible. Still, genre fans may find this entertaining enough. The sequel, The Stolen(), is due in September. Ages 14-up.