Reviewed by: Book Addict

Rae of Hope
by W.J. May

Published November 14, 2011 by Mitchell Morris Publishing

How hard do you have to shake a family tree to find out the truth about the past?

Fifteen-year-old Rae Kerrigan never questioned her family’s history. That is until she accepted a scholarship to Guilder Boarding School in England. Guilder is an exclusive, gifted school.

Rae has no idea what she is getting herself into or that her family’s past is going to come back and taunt her. She learns she is part of an unparalleled group of individuals who become inked with a unique tattoo (tatu) on their sixteenth birthday. The tatu enables them to have supernatural powers particular to the shape of their ink-art. Both of her parents were inked, though Rae never knew, as they passed away when she was young.

Learning about her family's past, her evil father and sacrificial mother, Rae needs to decide if there is a ray of hope in her own life.

For a complete review which may contain SPOILERS, please click 'Read More' below:
Rae of Hope is book #1 in the Chronicles of Kerrigan series. How many Young Adult stories centering on magic are there? The same old thing gets old after a while, which is why I found Rae of Hope so delightfully refreshing. Children of special lineage receive a unique tattoo on their sixteenth birthday. Each tatu is different, though some designs and abilities are passed down in families. The tatu gives the wearer supernatural abilities ranging from control over the elements to telepathic abilities to shape changing.

Rae Kerrigan's parents died in a terrible fire when she was just six years old. Raised by her aunt and uncle, she doesn't recall much about them or her former life. Much of what she could remember has been suppressed by the trauma of being the only survivor. So she is pretty surprised when her uncle sends her back to the country of her birth, England, to attend a mysterious and exclusive boarding school - Guilder Boarding School.

Once at Guilder, Rae has trouble fitting in when it becomes apparent that everyone there knows much more about her history than she does. Her eyes will be opened, and not every secret has a happy ending. Throw her approaching sixteenth birthday and the inevitable tatu into the mix, and you have some serious teen drama. CAUTION: Many twists and turns lie ahead, with secrets revealed, deception, and even a betrayal!

I loved Rae's character. She seemed so down-to-earth, just like a friend next door. She has great resiliency in the face of her mounting troubles, you can't help but to root for her. Her roommate Molly is  vivacious and flirtatious but she always seems to be around when Rae needs her. The boys at the school give you a mental image of bees flitting around a beautiful flower - there doesn't seem to be any lack of male interest in Rae.

All in all it was just what you would expect from any high school aged book - tons of drama and angst and love unrequited. The foundation for this magical world of tatus was easy to follow and very interesting. The only thing I did not care for was the ending. Without giving anything away, I will say that the two characters featured on the last pages did not act in a way that I felt was true to their characters' previous behavior. A little disappointing, but it can certainly be overlooked when compared to the whole.

I will definitely pick up the 2nd book in the series to see where Rae's tatu takes her!
1/16/2012 12:53:47 pm

Fantastic Review! Thanks so much for enjoying the book - you'll love the second book... loads of great action and adventure :) Thanks again! WJ May

June L
1/18/2012 01:22:05 pm

Very interesting. I would like to read it to figure out how tattoos are chosen and figure out what she has suppressed.


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