Verdict: THE 52ND is a unique entry in the YA and Paranormal genres. With a diverse cast of characters, thrilling mythology, and a potential series ahead, Dela knocks it out of the park with THE 52ND.
An immortal family of gods, goddesses, and demi-gods watch over a cycle of sacrifices to appease the denizens of the Underworld. For the first time, a sacrifice will survive, setting into motion an adventure tinged with romance that shatters the uneasy balance between three powerful groups: the Celestials in heaven, the immortals on Earth, and the undead ruled by a cursed god in the Underworld, all of whom await the 52nd sacrifice’s fate.
Zara Moss, a college student prizing snow sports, lives a fairly normal life until her name appears on a list of sacrifices. Every fifty-two years, fifty-two virgins are chosen to be sacrificed to the Underworld in order to maintain a crumbling alliance between gods and demons. Zara is not only the final name on the list, but also the final sacrifice to end the cycle. Her fate will decide the balance of power and potentially unleash a cursed god. Tensions flare when Lucas Castillo, an immortal Watcher, decides to cast aside traditions reaching back to the ancient Mayan empire. When the executioners arrive, Lucas steps in and rescues Zara. As the two come to grips with the conflict, Lucas and Zara begin to fall in love. Their love and Lucas’s reckless actions throw everything off balance. As the cursed god below and the remorseless Celestials square off, Zara trains for an epic showdown, one where the entire universe hangs in the balance.
Right from the start, THE 52ND is a breath of fresh air. In a genre rife with gods and supernatural beings, Dela shifts focus to underutilized cultures. The Mayans and Aztecs are interesting additions to the Young Adult genre. While the plot sometimes veers into clichéd tropes like a chosen one, immortal beings falling in love with mortals, and love triangles, THE 52ND is still a step above most YA stories. Romance and the paranormal are balanced perfectly. While Zara is a cookie-cutter YA heroine, the writing is engaging and enthralling. The character names, partly due to the cultures, can be difficult to follow. This is especially true since characters adopt modern names; Lucas’s given name is Mulac. The book hints at future sequels and rightly so. This is a world rich in mythology, populated with vibrant characters, and written wonderfully. THE 52ND is a must-read for fans of YA.
THE 52ND is a unique entry in the YA and Paranormal genres. With a diverse cast of characters, thrilling mythology, and a potential series ahead, Dela knocks it out of the park with THE 52ND.