Rocked: A Chelsie Valdar Saga, 1
By Gina Marie Long
Publication: February 16th 2013
Genre: YA Paranormal Thriller/Urban Fantasy
From the author—
The Apocalypse is coming…in one week. Chelsie Valdar and her brother are modern-day Viking warrior teenagers. They must find a mystical sword belonging to their ancient ancestor and flee to safety at a secret shelter, if they hope to survive. As the clock ticks, several Bigfoot and an outcast werecat become invaluable friends helping with the search for the sword and offering supernatural protection. Misfortune haunts their every move. Conflicts delay their progress. Especially when a devious and deranged enemy is infatuated with Chelsie and hungers for the sword, desperate to escape to the shelter with Chelsie by his side. Time is running out.
I must have telepathized (is that a word?) what kind of books really ring my chimes right into Gina Marie Long’s mind and that’s why she wrote Rocked. Natural disaster apocalypse? Check. Dark fantasy with supernatural creatures? Check. A strong female character? Check. Young adult? Check. The fun sort of science fiction? Check. A light romance but no insta-love? Check.
But bigfoot shapeshifters? Seriously??
Well, yes, so it would seem and, after my initial incredulity and a little sneering, they actually started to grow on me and, when you get right down to it, why the heck not? Rocked has the usual werecats, werewolves and vampires but “the usual” is just what they are so maybe it’s time for a new and different critter shift. It doesn’t hurt in the least that my favorite bigfoot, Bo and Lucas, are heroic, goodlooking as all get out and just plain nice guys. Chelsie herself is human but perhaps not 100% since she’s descended from Viking warriors and she and her brother and dad are the rightful owners of a very powerful sword. Still, compared to the shapeshifters, Chelsie, Ash and their dad are about as normal as you can hope to find in a novel where supernatural creatures exist alongside humans but are known only to some.
Jessie, a werecat with disabilities, is a charmer and her description as a housecat is so similar to my daughter’s Trixie that I couldn’t help but love her. If I ever come across a werecat, I hope she’ll be another Jessie 😉
Finally, there’s Alex, the bigfoot who is stalking Chelsie for more than one reason and who is apparently willing to harm or even kill others to get what he wants. The real question might be what does he want most, Chelsie, the sword or Worthy One status, and finding the answer takes the reader some time. With all his dastardliness, Alex is actually one of my favorite characters and his mental issues make him even more interesting because we never know when he can be trusted—or not.
As for plot, I do love a natural disaster and it’s cool that everybody knows that the Yellowstone Caldera is going to explode and the Chosen Ones and the Worthy Ones have just a week to get to shelter. The idea of Chosen Ones and Worthy Ones smacks of a common dystopian trope and I suspect we’ll find out more about that in future volumes but what becomes more and more painful is what Ash calls the Stranded Ones. If there is anything I don’t care for about Chelsie, it’s her nearly unquestioning acceptance of this predetermined selection of who will be allowed to survive and I really hope her sense of justice—or injustice—will come into play in the next book.
Rocked is the first installment of Ms. Long’s trilogy and I’m already looking forward to the next book. I do hope we won’t have to wait too long 😉
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, May 2013.
About the Author
Gina’s fiction stories are inspired from her interest in the supernatural, science fiction and fantasy world. She enjoys reading, watching evening TV shows, movies and listening to music. Writing indulges her passion for the entertainment arts, giving her active mind a playground of possibilities to explore. She stays active on social media sites and blogging, making connections with others who share the same interests.
She writes about werewolves, vampires, witches, werecats, Bigfoot, an occasional demon, psychics, Vikings, and riveting human characters. But not ALL in the same book! In addition, a light romance is included to spice things up (come on-every book, movie and TV show has some sort of a love story in it). The books do not fall under the romance category…just enough in the storyline to satisfy the girls. And the boys can breathe easy with the knowledge that they’re not reading a romance novel but a paranormal thriller, instead. Depending on which series, the ages of the main characters are 16 through 30. Most are on the younger side.
“It’s exciting to create strong characters that the readers fall in love with…or want to strangle! Writing books about other beings, such as werewolves and vampires, allows rules to be broken concerning life and the world as we know it. The idea to have these supernatural species living and breathing among us is so wickedly intriguing. Having close contact with them, developing relationships, and dealing with the good vs. the evil – it sweeps you away into another reality – an escape from real life. You wonder and worry about what the characters will stumble upon next. Or, what horrific tragedy knocks them flat on their faces.”~~Gina
She lives in Highland, Illinois, with her husband and Jessie Cat.