Katia was a very special person. She had been told that all her life by everyone that was near and dear to her. Her great-grandmother told her the story about how her mother had became pregnant. She found out she was conceived because of a brutal crime that was committed against her by a deranged man who had escaped from a nearby asylum. From the moment that Katia was conceived, everyone knew just how special she was going to be. Unfortunately, her mother went into premature labor with her and died soon after naming her only child. Katia’s great-grandmother, a powerful seer, had read it in the cards. She, along with the rest of the village, helped raise Katia under the twelve rules of their village. These rules would protect Katia and keep her alive. One deviation and she could die.
Katia hated the ways and rules she grew up having to follow. Finally, at the age of sixteen, when her great-grandmother died, Katia felt so alone that she decided to leave her village for good and she didn’t care how many rules she broke in the process. She ran away from her life, all she had known and even from her arranged future marriage to her protector, Stoyan.
She vowed she would never go back to her village or the old ways in which she was raised. She traveled the world, worked and even schooled herself in the process. Now at twenty-eight years old, Katia knew she couldn’t leave everything behind regarding her old life as she had hoped to do. Although she was a successful painter by her own hard work, she felt that she wasn’t as successful with the rest of her life since too many crazy things were happening to her now. One of those crazy things was when Stoyan showed up at her house out of nowhere to protect his betrothed. When Katia was born, this was something his family and village deemed him to do when he was just eight years old.
Why did Stoyan show up at Katia’s house? How did he finally find her after twelve years had passed? Was Katia grateful that he was there to help her or more annoyed that he now knew where she lived? What did Katia’s life hold for her now that Stoyan was back in her life?
I just absolutely adored this story from the very first page. It had me sitting on the edge of my seat the entire time I was reading it. Ms. Fanning wrote with such detail and emotion that I was feeling everything that Katia was going through. I found my heart skipping a beat when Katia was experiencing some of the strange and awful things happening to her. I was so happy that Stoyan had finally found her and I knew he would protect her the way she was meant to be protected since her birth. Ms. Fanning did a superb job with the development of her characters and how she told the story. I highly recommend this story to everyone. You will not be disappointed!
One special gift...Twelve rules to follow...There are some rules that should never be broken.
They tell me that I am special, that my ability to heal is a “gift” that should be treasured and appreciated. As far as I’m concerned, I’m not gifted…I’m cursed. Nothing in this life is free, not even gifts. There is always a price to be paid somewhere, somehow.
My healing gift came with twelve Rules of Darkness, rules that I must follow at all times, until the day I die. The rules are ingrained in who I am. They dictate how I live my life when I am awake, and they haunt me when I’m asleep. Don’t look into a graveyard, Katia. Don’t touch the dead, Katia. Never seek out the lost, Katia…It’s enough to drive a person mad.
And perhaps that’s where I find myself now. A victim of a disease I can cure in others, but not in myself. It’s madness to break the rules, and yet, I don’t care anymore. I’m tired of living my life this way. I’m tired of the rules. I won’t do it any more, and if that means I suffer the consequences, then so be it.